How to Become an HVAC Technician in Louisiana
HVAC technicians are professionals who work on heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) and refrigeration systems. HVAC techs perform tasks such as reading blueprints, repairing and replacing fuses and breakers, fitting pipes and adding freon to air conditioner units. They also install new heating and cooling systems. To work in this industry, you must be trained through formal education or working as an apprentice. [Leer en español]
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Louisiana
By law, HVAC technicians are required to be certified in refrigerant handling by obtaining Section 608 EPA certification through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There are no other national requirements to work on heating and cooling systems. But, many states do require state-level certification or licensure to work as an HVAC technician.
A license is mandatory to work as an HVAC tech in Louisiana. This license is regulated by the Louisiana State Board of Contractors’ Department of Examinations and Assessment. Completing an HVAC educational training program or apprenticeship is required to become licensed.
HVAC Apprenticeship and Educational Programs in Louisiana
To become licensed as an HVAC technician in Louisiana, you will need to complete an apprenticeship program or a post-secondary educational program. If you complete an educational program, it must be accredited by HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).
For those choosing the apprenticeship option, there are plenty of opportunities for HVAC tech apprenticeship in Louisiana. You can seek out a local union in your area, as these offer apprenticeship in many trades, including HVAC. Also, the Louisiana Workforce Commission has its own apprenticeship division. You must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED to work as an apprentice. Most apprenticeships in Louisiana last anywhere from two to five years. Classroom instruction is required along with work experience.
If you choose to complete an educational program instead, Louisiana has a few of these options as well. The following schools offer programs that are HVAC Excellence accredited:
- Delgado Community College. Delgado Community College offers a certificate of technical studies in Certified HVAC Technician and a Master HVAC/R technical diploma at their Sidney Collier and Jefferson campuses. The certificate program can be completed in about nine months, and the master program can be completed in 18 months.
- Northwest Louisiana Technical College. Northwest Louisiana Tech has four options for those pursuing education in the HVAC field. They offer a Technical Competency Area (TCA) certificate for an HVAC Helper I, a Certificate of Technical Studies (CTS) for an HVAC Helper II, a CTS for a Domestic A/C & Refrigeration and a technical diploma (TD) for a residential A/C & Refrigeration Technician. The HVAC Helper I TCA consists of 12 credit hours; the HVAC Helper II CTS consists of 24 credit hours; the Domestic CTS consists of 28 credit hours; and the Residential TD consists of 45 credit hours.
Certification and Licensing for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Louisiana
In all states, any HVAC worker who will be handling refrigerants must have Section 608 EPA certification. There are four subtypes of this certification, based on what types of appliances you will be working on. Type I certification is for those who will be working on small appliances. Type II certification applies to those who will be working on high pressure appliances, and type III applies to those working on low pressure appliances. Type IV certification is universal, for techs who will be working on all appliances.
Not only do you need a license to work as an HVAC technician in Louisiana, but for projects that have a face value of more than $50,000 including labor and materials you will also need a commercial contractor or subcontractor license.
There are two exams given for licensing in Louisiana. The trade exam and the Business and Law exam. The trade exam is mandatory and consists of 100 multiple choice questions. You are given four hours to take the exam. The Business and Law exam is only required if you are getting a contractor license. It is an open-book, online exam. An application fee is required for these exams, which are overseen by the Louisiana State Board of Contractors’ Department of Examinations and Assessment.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) reported that in 2016 there were 4,500 HVAC technicians employed in the state of Louisiana. Over the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026, that number is expected to grow by 11 percent, with 5,000 HVAC working in the state by 2026
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) HVAC techs in Louisiana made an average of $21.51 an hour in 2017. That same year, HVAC techs averaged $44,740 annually. The top earners in the state earn as much as $62,280 annually. Baton Rouge is the highest paid city in Louisiana, with HVAC techs here earning $51,060 annually
Working as an HVAC Technician in Louisiana
Because of the climate, Louisiana is an ideal state for HVAC technicians to seek employment.
HVAC technicians can find work with either commercial or residential HVACR companies or with independent contractors.
Baton Rouge has both the highest concentration of and highest paid HVAC technicians within the state. Some of the higher paying cities for HVAC technicians to seek employment in Louisiana include Hammond, the Houma-Thibodaux region, Lafayette and the Shreveport-Bossier City region. Besides Baton Rouge, other cities that have high employment numbers for HVAC technicians include Lafayette and the New Orleans-Metairie region.
With a steady job growth predicted over the coming years, now is the perfect time to consider working as an HVAC technician in Louisiana.