HVAC Training Schools & Certifications in Louisiana (LA)

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Louisiana (LA) is a prime location for those pursuing a career in heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC). HVAC professionals install and maintain climate-control systems, which are present in commercial and residential buildings across the state. Climate control is essential in the Bayou State where hot and humid summers reign.

The U.S. Climate Data reported that the average high temperature in July and August was 91 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low in January was 45; this broad temperature range encourages many residents to head indoors and take advantage of A/C or heat. In short, the Louisiana climate feeds demand for skilled HVAC workers.

Additionally, numerous professional organizations and unions offer member benefits to workers in the area. For example, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 60 operates in New Orleans and offers support to HVAC workers and other skilled tradespeople. Members have access to hands-on training and education, community service efforts, healthcare plans, networking opportunities, and much more. This organization also maintains an apprenticeship program for aspiring professionals covered at length in a section below.

Similarly, the Local Union 198 is headquartered in the Baton Rouge area offering apprenticeship and journey-level preparation, along with safety training, testing, and certification, and access to benefits obtained through collective bargaining efforts. Ultimately, these unions are only two of many that provide professional representation and advocacy for HVAC workers throughout Louisiana.

So what do HVAC professionals in Louisiana do? While the responsibilities vary by employer and level of training, the following is a list of the typical duties held by many HVAC professionals:

  • Offer education to customers on how to conserve energy
  • Test circuitry and components of HVAC equipment
  • Verify compliance with all local and federal regulations
  • Perform heat load and loss calculations
  • Braze and solder parts
  • Calibrate all controls to manufacturer specifications
  • Maintain all necessary credentialing
  • Keep service records
  • Read and interpret blueprints
  • Travel to job sites

Also, all aspiring HVAC professionals in Louisiana should be aware that people who handle refrigerants need to maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification; failing to maintain this certification is against the law.

Overall, beginning a career in the HVAC industry requires a solid understanding of the field through some form of skills education or training. The following guide explores HVAC programs in Louisiana, including discussions of salary prospects, career outlook, and local credentialing.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Louisiana

Between 2019 and 2029, job openings for HVAC professionals are expected to grow nationwide. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019) predicted that HVAC positions in the country would increase by 4 percent during that decade-which is as fast as the average growth expected across all occupations in the country (4 percent). And the HVAC industry is already fairly strong, with 342,040 workers operating throughout the country earning an average annual salary (mean wage) of $51,420.

There are several reasons for the expected growth in the HVAC industry over the coming years. For one, nearly all new buildings constructed in Louisiana include climate-control systems, the installation, and maintenance of which requires skilled professionals. These systems also need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Finally, the laws and regulations surrounding climate-control technology are subject to change; to comply with evolving regulations, HVAC workers must routinely update equipment and systems.

One of the easiest ways to visualize this high demand for HVAC professionals in Louisiana is through a simple online job search. For example, a search for “HVAC jobs in Louisiana” on Indeed (2021) yielded 306 opportunities with companies such as Johnson Controls, Sabre Industries, Zachry Group, and Star Service Inc, among others; a similar search on Monster (2021) brought up 482 results with organizations including Clean Harbors, Sears Holdings Corporation, Penske, and CBRE, among others.

HVAC Worker Salary in Louisiana

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019), HVAC mechanics and installers enjoy good wages around the country, particularly in an occupation that generally requires just six months to two years of postsecondary education. Among the 342,040 HVAC workers around the US, the BLS (May 2019) found an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $51,420.

In Louisiana, the 4,400 HVAC professionals working there earned an average of $44,660, putting them a bit above average for the country. In more detailed terms, here were the salary percentiles in this occupation in the US and Louisiana specifically:

United States Louisiana
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 4,400
Annual mean wage $51,420 $44,660
10th percentile $30,610 $25,440
25th percentile $37,660 $33,870
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $43,560
75th percentile $62,070 $55,520
90th percentile $77,920 $64,560

Salary figures do vary slightly by another source of data. Payscale—an aggregator of self-reported salaries—found the following percentiles among its HVAC respondents nationwide in February 2021:

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,316
  • 90th percentile: $75,000

As noted above, the average salary for HVAC workers in Louisiana is higher than the nation’s average salary. As with any salary projections, taking into account the cost of living is also important. As such, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) found that LA had the 17th lowest cost of living in the United States for 2020.

HVAC Apprenticeships in Louisiana

Those interested in pursuing a career in the HVAC industry in Louisiana can complete various training programs; there are not only traditional degree and certificate programs available, but also a wealth of apprenticeships.

As mentioned in the introduction, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 60 offers an apprenticeship program for aspiring professionals, which many consider an excellent way to develop skills while earning a salary. The apprenticeship program lasts for five years, during which the participant works and attends classes, earning a wage that is a percentage of that earned by the journey-level supervisors on the job. The apprentice can emerge from this program with an associate degree and the high-quality training provided by this organization is one of the reasons this program is competitive.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Louisiana

A growing number of HVAC workers choose to enroll in accredited programs that have been evaluated by industry accrediting agencies for their curriculum, faculty, and facilities. For a complete explanation of the accrediting process, visit the website for either agency listed below.

Two main organizations accredit HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), and HVAC Excellence. As of February 2021, there were no PAHRA-accredited programs in the state, although there were several with approval from HVAC Excellence. Here are the HVAC programs in Louisiana that have been accredited by HVAC Excellence:

  • Baton Rouge Community College (Acadian and Elayn Hunt campuses)
  • Central Louisiana Technical Community College (Alexandria and Natchitoches campuses)
  • Delgado Community College (Metairie and New Orleans campuses)
  • Fletcher Technical Community College (Thibodaux)
  • ITI Technical College (Baton Rouge)
  • Louisiana Delta Community College (West Monroe)
  • Northshore Technical Community College (Bogalusa)
  • River Parishes Community College (Reserve)
  • South Louisiana Community College (Lafayette and Morgan City campuses)

Some of these are mentioned in the list below.

Delgado Community College

Delgado Community College offers a certificate of technical studies in HVAC/R and a technical diploma in the master HVAC/R technician program. The program combines classroom instruction with hands-on training in a lab studying industrial, commercial, and residential HVAC/R equipment. Students in these programs receive the required training needed for a successful career in this HVAC/R field.

The certificate is made up of 30 credits including courses such as building code and licensing, electrical fundamentals, NCCER technical core, tubing fabrication and fitting, principles of refrigeration, residential system design, electrical components and motors, a survey of computer applications, computer and internet literacy, and first aid.

The technical diploma comprises 57 credits. All courses mentioned above are included in this curriculum with additional coursework in the theory of residential air conditioning, residential air conditioning: theory and practice, introduction to commercial air conditioning, introduction to commercial refrigeration, fundamentals of accounting, building science for HVAC, building engineer hydronics, residential gas heating, and residential heat pumps.

  • Location: Metairie, LA; New Orleans, LA
  • Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (nine months); diploma (18 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: $169.96 per-credit

Blue Cliff College

Blue Cliff College has campuses in Houma and Lafayette that offer an HVAC diploma. Preparing students for entry-level employment in the HVAC industry, this diploma program helps students in learning about installing, maintaining, diagnosing, and repairing HVAC systems. Upon completion, graduates will be prepared to take the EPA Clean Air Act, section 608, Type I certification exam.

Consisting of 900 clock-hours, this diploma includes courses such as basics of electricity and electrical systems, HVAC/R fundamentals, professionalism for HVAC technicians, blueprint reading, commercial HVAC/R systems, and residential HVAC technology, among others.

The program teaches students about the basics of inspecting, repairing, and maintaining HVAC/R systems, connecting systems to air ducts, water supply lines, and other components, and installing electrical wiring and controls for proper operation.

  • Location: Houma, LA; Lafayette, LA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission Career Schools and Colleges, (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Day program (nine months); evening (12 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: $14,778

Central Louisiana Community College

An HVAC/R technical diploma offered at the Central Louisiana Community College is available at the Natchitoches and Alexandria campuses. Providing classroom experience combined with hands-on training, this diploma prepares students for entry-level employment in a variety of jobs in this HVAC/R. After each semester completed in this program, students will receive a competency certificate.

The diploma comprises 45 credits including courses such as HVAC introduction, principles of refrigeration, electrical fundamentals, electrical components, electric motors, domestic refrigeration, residential system design, residential heating, and residential heat pumps, among others.

Students through this program learn about the basics of installing, diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining the operating condition of residential, commercial, and domestic HVAC/R systems.

  • Location: Alexandria, LA; Natchitoches, LA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of the Council on Occupational Education (COE); HVAC Excellence
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $8,532

Louisiana Delta Community College

Louisiana Delta Community College offers two technical diplomas in HVAC/R (a technical diploma in commercial refrigeration technician and a technical diploma in residential A/C and refrigeration) providing specialized classroom experience and practical lab experience preparing students for entry-level employment in the HVAC/R service repair industry.

Both programs consist of 45 credits with common courses such as HVAC introduction, principles of refrigeration, electrical fundamentals, electrical components, electric motors, applied electricity and troubleshooting, and job-seeking skills. The commercial refrigeration diploma includes additional coursework in commercial refrigeration I and II, and commercial refrigeration controls I. The residential diploma involves additional courses such as domestic refrigeration, room air conditioners, residential central air conditioning, residential system design residential heating, and residential heat pumps.

Graduates of these programs will have a clear understanding of designing, troubleshooting, and installing residential gas heat, air conditioning, electric heat, and heat pump systems. They will learn about the proper safety procedures, principles of refrigeration, and proper techniques of refrigerant handling. Apart from the diploma, the college also offers a 33-credit certificate of technical studies in HVAC/R energy systems technician, a 28-credit certificate of technical studies in domestic A/C and refrigeration technician, and a 24-credit certificate of technical studies in helper II.

  • Location: Monroe, LA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $209.96 per credit

Louisiana HVAC Certification and Licensing

As mentioned in the introduction, all HVAC workers in Louisiana who handle refrigerants are required to obtain the EPA Section 608 Certification. There are four subtypes: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Nearly all educational HVAC programs prepare graduates to pass at least one of these examinations.

Additionally, an array of other skill-specific certifications are available for Louisiana HVAC workers. These are offered through HVAC Excellence (e.g., Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology Plus); North American Technician Excellence (e.g., Industry Competency Exams or ICE); the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (e.g., entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator); and more. These employment-ready certifications can be useful when searching for a job or when negotiating for higher pay.

Check out the HVAC certifications page for a detailed breakdown of national credentialing.

Finally, aspiring HVAC workers in the state should be aware of all regional credentialing requirements to ensure they have proper licensure before starting work in this field. Specifically, the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors requires HVAC applicants to complete a 100-question multiple-choice test, the outline of which is available online.

Commercial HVAC contractors must also show a minimum of $10,000 net worth; this specific license covers commercial projects with a value of $50,000 or more. Residential licenses are also required for residential projects worth $75,000 or more, although the application is the same.

Above all, HVAC professionals in Louisiana should perform due diligence when researching the licensure requirements. By obtaining all required certifications and licenses, HVAC workers can stay within the bounds of the law as they advance in their careers.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.