How to Become an HVAC Technician in Indiana

Interested in becoming an HVAC technician in Indiana, but aren’t sure how to get started? We’ll help you understand the steps to becoming a licensed HVAC technician in Indiana at no cost to you!

What is HVAC certification?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC technicians are responsible for keeping residential and commercial buildings comfortable inside no matter the weather conditions outside.

If you’d like to become an HVAC technician in Indiana, there are two ways to get started. You can either start your career via an apprenticeship or enroll in a certification program to learn the trade before seeking employment.

Indiana does not, however, have any statewide licensing requirements for HVAC technicians. This is handled at the local level, meaning the requirements vary from county to county.

At the bare minimum, any HVAC technicians wishing to work with refrigerants will need to receive a federal EPA 608 certification.

What Makes HVAC a good career in Indiana?

There are a lot of reasons to consider becoming an HVAC technician in Indiana. First, Indiana experiences a wide range of temperatures and climates throughout the year. The summers can be scorchingly hot, while the winters can be blisteringly cold.

This translates to a steady need for highly-qualified HVAC technicians throughout the year.

As the economy in Indiana continues to grow, so does the demand for HVAC technicians. It is the state’s 10th fastest-growing industry. Couple that with lower costs of living, and Indiana becomes an attractive option for job seekers.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for an HVAC technician in Indiana is $40,055 per year (roughly $20 per hour). With experience and specialization, technician salaries can go as high as $68,000. 

Licensing Requirements for HVAC Technicians in Indiana

If you want to become an HVAC technician in Indiana, your path is largely determined based on where you live. Let’s dive into four metropolitan areas in Indiana and explore the differences in licensing requirements for each.

HVAC Licensing Requirements for Indianapolis (Marion County)

In Marion County, licenses are issued by the Board of Heating and Cooling Examiners. The following HVACR licenses are available:

  • Air Conditioning “A” – Unrestricted
  • Air Conditioning “B” – 25 tons cooling/500,000 BTUs heating, boiler pressures not exceeding 15psig steam and 30psig water
  • Air Conditioning “D” – 5 tons cooling/ 300,000 BTUs heating
  • Refrigeration
  • High-Pressure Steam

Additionally, you will need to:

  • Pass the Prometric Heating and Cooling exam with a minimum score of 70%
  • Provide verified evidence from current and/or former employers that you have worked in the field for at least five years. Time spent in training or educational programs counts as well.
  • Provide three signed reference letters.
  • Bring a photocopy of your driver’s license
  • Submit any related licenses, degrees, or certifications (if applicable) related to Healing and Cooling

HVAC Licensing Requirements for Fort Wayne (Allen County)

In Allen County, HVAC licensing is handled by the Allen County Building Department. They offer the following licenses:

  • Air Conditioning “A” – Unrestricted
  • Air Conditioning “B” – For those who work in HVAC systems with a heating capacity of 500,000 BTU or less and a cooling capacity of 25 tons or less; including fuel lines, refrigerant lines, and electric, gas, or oil furnaces.
  • Sheet Metal – For anybody who engages in the manufacturing, assembly, casting, cutting, shaping, forging, fabrication, welding, repair, reconditioning, adjusting, or installation of sheet-rolled metal for HVAC systems.

There are three levels of classification within each licensing type: apprentice, journeyman, and supervisor.

  • Apprentices must work for four years under the direct supervision of a journeyman or supervisor and pass an exam before becoming a journeyman.
  • Journeymen are able to work under the general supervision of a supervisor within the same HVAC specialization. To become a contractor, journeymen must work for four years and pass an exam.
  • Supervisors are the highest level of HVAC practitioners. They are able to hire apprentices and journeymen and can own their own HVAC business.

HVAC Licensing Requirements for Evansville (Vanderburgh County)

Similar to Allen County, Vanderburg County offers three different licensing classes: Apprenticeship, Journeyman, and Master HVAC via the Evansville and Vanderburg County Building Commission.

Additionally, you must earn your Master HVAC license in order to own your own business. Vanderburg has the same requirements as Allen County for each level. However, in order to own an HVAC business in Vanderburgh County, Master HVAC licensees also need to obtain general liability insurance of at least $1 million, a surety bond for #15K, proof of worker’s compensation, or a valid exemption if you are a sole-proprietor.

HVAC Licensing Requirements for South Bed (Saint Joseph County)

The pathway to becoming an HVAC contractor is a bit shorter in South Bend. You’ll need to receive a Heating Class A license from the county and have the following qualifications:

  • Four years of work experience in HVAC
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass an exam
  • Post a $5000 surety bond

This license must be renewed annually.

Do you have to go to school to get HVAC certified?

No, you do not have to go to school to become HVAC certified. You need to pass an exam. However, your ability to pass an exam will come from on-the-job training, and/or enrolling in a certificate program.

How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC License in Indiana?

Depending on where you live, the local municipality or county will determine how much work experience you need and any exams you must pass in order to become licensed.

Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Indiana?

Local municipalities issue HVAC licenses in Indiana.

Do I have to be licensed to work as an HVAC in Indiana?

Yes and no. You do not need any license or certification to begin an entry-level career as an HVAC technician. However, most local governments require a license to operate as an HVAC contractor or business owner.

Does My Indiana HVAC License Work in Any Other State?

Because Indiana does not have statewide licensing, there are no reciprocity agreements in place with other states. Therefore, if you wish to work as a licensed HVAC contractor in another state, you will need to go through that state’s licensing process.

HVAC Training and Certification Programs

If you’re interested in starting your career in HVAC, the Workforce Ready Grant covers the cost for qualified applicants to complete basic HVAC certification programs at Central Nine Career Center Adult Education and Monroe County Community Schools Adult Education.

Both programs are designed for working adults. Classes are offered in the evenings to accommodate full-time working schedules. 

5 Week Intensive HVAC Training Program

Monroe County Community Schools Adult Education offers a five-week intensive HVAC training program. It is a hybrid program that combines in-person training with online learning.

Upon completion, you will be ready for an entry-level HVAC technician role as well as prepared to take the EPA 608 exam which is federally required for anyone who handles or works with refrigerants.

For more information on the Monroe County Community Schools Adult Education HVAC program, visit their website.

14 Week HVAC Training Program

If a 5-week intensive course does not fit your needs, Central Nine Career Center offers a 14-week option. In this program, students will learn the basics of working as an entry-level HVAC Technician. Additionally, students will be prepared to take the EPA 608 exam as well as complete their OSHA 10 certification.

For more information on the Central Nine Career Center Adult Education HVAC program, visit their website.

How much does it cost to get HVAC certified?

Through the Workforce Ready Grant, qualified applicants pay zero dollars for HVAC certification at one of our participating training partners.

Typically, a basic HVAC certificate can cost anywhere from $1500-$3000 dollars.

Can you really learn HVAC online?

Yes, you can learn HVAC online. However, it is more difficult to learn HVAC exclusively from an online program as opposed to a certification course at a training center or school.

HVAC online programs work best when paired with in-person, hands-on training.

HVAC Apprenticeships

If you’re not interested in enrolling in a training program before starting your career, you might be interested in pursuing an HVAC apprenticeship. This will allow you to gain hands-on experience and training while you work.

How to Get an HVAC Apprenticeship

To get an HVAC apprenticeship, you’ll need to find a company with an available apprenticeship program and apply. Entry requirements will vary from company to company.

There are two types of apprenticeship programs people seek out: union and non-union.

Typically private HVAC companies provide non-union apprenticeships, while union apprenticeships are offered through various trade organizations. In Indiana, examples include the Indiana/Kentucky Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Indiana Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

How Long is an Apprenticeship?

Most apprenticeship programs in Indiana last between 3 to 5 years. Many municipalities require you to work as an apprentice for at least 4 years before qualifying to work as an HVAC journeyman.

Apprenticeships vs Certification Classes

So which route is best? Should you bother going through a training course or jump right in with an apprenticeship?

It depends.

The bulk of arguments against doing a certificate course in HVAC center around two things:

  1. The cost, and;
  2. Not feeling adequately prepared for the job

However, not all training programs are created equal. That’s why it is important to check the reviews and reputation of any training program before enrolling. Additionally, if you qualify, you can pursue your certificate for free with a Workforce Ready Grant in the state of Indiana.

Some apprenticeship programs might even require you to go through a formal training program before starting on-the-job training with them.

That being said, you do not need to do a training program to eventually get licensed in HVAC in the state of Indiana. You need experience. If you prefer to apply to apprenticeship programs without doing a course, you can!

Either way, you’ll be embarking on an exciting new career.