How to Become an HVAC Technician in Indiana

Knowing how to become an HVAC tech is important in starting off your career in this rewarding skilled trade. In Indiana, there are no specific requirements, but most people entering the field begin by finding a post-secondary HVAC degree or certificate program or by beginning in an apprenticeship role. With either option, the idea is to learn in a classroom setting and get hands-on training before landing a job as an HVAC worker. Before you get started, make sure you know what the licensing requirements are in the city or county in which you hope to work. [Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Indiana

Unlike some states, Indiana has not set any statewide rules or regulations for the licensing of HVAC technicians, the workers who install, repair, maintain and inspect heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems in homes and commercial buildings. Many cities, counties and other local governments throughout the state do have their own requirements, so it is important to find out what those are if you have a specific area in mind for starting your career.

In general, employers who hire HVAC workers prefer to hire those with some educational background. This means completing either a post-secondary HVAC program or enrolling directly in an apprenticeship program. The latter typically provides the classroom work as well as on-the-job training with a salary.

HVAC Programs in Indiana

Academic, post-secondary programs in HVAC are accredited by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence. Indiana does not have any PAHRA-accredited schools, but all of the programs for HVAC offered at Ivy Tech Community College campuses are accredited by HVAC Excellence.

Ivy Tech offers HVAC programs at several campuses throughout the state, including Bloomington, Kokomo, South Bend, Evansville, Terre Haute, Lafayette and Muncie. Ivy offers courses that are lab-based, so even without an apprenticeship you have the opportunity to learn hands-on skills. Students can choose between a 21-credit certificate or 32-credit technical certificate program. Either takes one year or less to complete.

There are also several apprenticeship programs available in Indiana for learning to be an HVAC tech, mostly run through local unions. In Indianapolis, for instance, Local 440 Plumbers, Pipefitters and HVAC Service Technicians offers apprenticeship positions. The requirements for enrolling include being at least 18 years old, having a high school diploma or GED, having a valid driver’s license and passing a WorkKeys Assessment Test. These requirements are similar for other union apprenticeships throughout the state

Certification and Licensing for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Indiana

With no statewide requirements for licensing of HVAC workers, it is up to individual cities and counties to determine if technicians need to be licensed. Many only require licensing for contractors. Working as an apprentice or a journeyman hired by a contractor, you likely won’t need to be licensed. If you want to become a contractor, however, you will need to find out how to get licensed.

In South Bend and St. Joseph County, licensing for HVAC contractors requires a completed application form, an age of 21 or older, four years or more of work experience, reference letters, a $50 fee and the purchase of an original surety bond. In Indianapolis, workers and contractors both need to be licensed. Contractors must pay a license fee, submit an application and have purchased a surety bond and liability insurance. For workers who are not contractors, there are work experience requirements and exams that must be passed depending on the license type.

Environmental Protection Agency Section 608 certification is required for any HVAC worker who handles and works with refrigerants. It is a requirement for workers anywhere in the U.S. and is guided by the Clean Air Act. You need to pass a test to get certified, and most HVAC programs will prepare you to pass it.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The salary data for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) in Indiana, as compared to the national average, showcases the state’s competitive wages for this occupation. In Indiana, these professionals earn an average annual salary of $52,000, which is slightly above the national average of $51,390. The salary range in Indiana extends from $36,670 at the 10th percentile to $83,010 at the 90th percentile, indicating a broad range of earning potential based on experience, specialization, and other factors.

National vs. Indiana Salaries for HVAC Technicians

Location Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
United States $36,170 $51,390 $82,630
Indiana $36,670 $52,000 $83,010

Salaries by Region in Indiana for HVAC Technicians

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
Bloomington, IN $37,860 $59,930 $86,520
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN $36,830 $54,490 $85,240
Fort Wayne, IN $36,280 $50,330 $80,040

HVAC Trends in Indiana

In Indiana, the employment outlook for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) is positive, with a projected growth of 5% from 2020 to 2030. The number of employees in this occupation is expected to increase from 7,880 in 2020 to 8,280 by 2030. Annually, there are projected to be 800 job openings in Indiana for this occupation during this period, which includes openings due to both industry growth and replacements. This growth rate is slightly below the national average growth rate of 6% for the same period, indicating a strong demand for HVAC technicians within the state.

Employement Trends

Aspect Indiana United States
Employment (2020 for IN, 2022 for US) 7,880 employees 415,800 employees
Projected Employment (2030 for IN, 2032 for US) 8,280 employees 438,800 employees
Projected Growth 5% 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030 for IN, 2022-2032 for US) 800 37,700

Sources of data:

  • For employment trends and projections: Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • For national employment and wage data: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2022-2032 employment projections.

Working as an HVAC Technician in Indiana

As an HVAC technician in Indiana you will most likely work for a contractor. Some contractors focus on residential systems only, while others work in commercial buildings, like large office buildings, hospitals or government buildings. With a few years of experience you will have the opportunity to become a self-employed HVAC contractor. Most jobs for new HVAC workers are available in the larger cities in the state, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville and South Bend.

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How do I Become an HVAC Technician in Indiana?

  • 1. Follow any licensing or registration process in place in your local jurisdiction
  • 2. Meet any requirements for prior work experience by: a) Completing a thorough apprenticeship program (unions and other organizations may offer these), or b) Completing an HVAC certificate or degree program

How long does it take to get HVAC certified in Indiana?

The amount of time it takes to get HVAC certified in Indiana can vary depending on the program that you choose. typically, certification can be completed in as little as six months. However, if you want to become a more well-rounded HVAC technician, it's recommended that you study for a year or two before taking your certification exam. This will give you a better understanding of the principles behind heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

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