Heat Pumps
IGSHPA Certification

IGSHPA Geothermal Installer Accreditation

Ryan Carda • Last updated 10/2023

4.5/5 (view ratings)
1468 students
10 modules
6:46 hours
72 assignments

Course description

Offered in partnership with the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA). This course is designed to prepare students to take the exam to become IGSHPA Accredited Installer.

This course is required to access some government incentives, some product distributors require it of their dealers, and some engineers restrict bid lists to IGSHPA Accredited installers and drillers. Quite simply, this is the foundational course for any serious geothermal professional.

FEES NOT INCLUDED: Fees for the IGSHPA test, IGSHPA membership, and CSA standards are not included with this course fee. When you finish the course and want to take the exam, you'll need to pay $350 for the testing fees, 3-year IGSHPA membership, and individual copy of the CSA Standards. These are required by IGSHPA and the fees we collect go directly to IGSHPA.

MANUALS NOT INCLUDED: A full set of IGSHPA manuals is strongly recommended but not required. The manuals cost $225 and are purchased directly through IGSHPA. Having access to these manuals will help you pass the exam.

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Full course outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
  • Order IGSHPA Manuals [strongly recommended not required]
Module 1 - Introduction

This week covers the basics of geothermal systems.

  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
  • Intro to Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) Systems - Part 1 (12:07 minutes) Preview
  • Intro to Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) Systems - Part 2 (25:05 minutes)
  • Introduction (20 questions)
  • Reading: IGSHPA Installer Accreditation Versus Vertical Loop Installer (Driller) Accreditation
Module 2 - Economics, Marketing and Demand Reduction

Doing a simple payback analysis is a practical first step to take on any geothermal project. There are some simple first steps that will pay off down the road by setting realistic expectations for your prospective client.

  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
  • Economics & Marketing - Part 1 (12:31 minutes)
  • Economics & Marketing - Part 2 (11:40 minutes)
  • Economics & Marketing - LoopLink Example (11:14 minutes)
  • Article: Geothermal Is A Safeguard Against Rising Energy Prices (Optional)
  • Article: ASHP vs. GSHP Efficiencies (Optional) (.pdf)
  • Economics, Marketing, and Demand Reduction (10 questions)
Module 3 - Soils Identification

In ground heat exchanger construction, you must be able to identify the type of soil/rock where the installation will take place. First, the soil/rock type will affect the installation methods used. Secondly, the thermal properties of the soil/rock in the area will dictate how much ground heat exchanger piping will be needed. Supplemental lesson courtesy of GRTI.

  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
  • Soil/Rock Identification & Thermal Properties (26:00 minutes)
  • Supplemental Video Lesson - Direct Formation Thermal Conductivity Measurement (16:51 minutes)
  • Supplemental Video slides (.pdf)
  • Soil & Rock Identification & Thermal Properties (20 questions)
Module 4 - Selecting, Sizing and Designing the Heat Pump System

This lesson helps to identify key areas of focus for geothermal systems – including equipment configurations, performance and proper selection

  • Presentation slides - GSHP Performance (.pdf)
  • Presentation slides - GSPH Selection (.pdf)
  • GSHP Performance (23:20 minutes) Preview
  • GSHP Selection (17:52 minutes)
  • GSHP Performance - LoopLink Example (10:53 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment
  • GSHP Performance & Selection (20 questions)
Module 5 - Designing the Ground Heat Exchanger

This is the meatiest part of the course because this is what makes a geothermal system unique, and there’s so much to learn. In this week's lesson we’ll make sure you really understand how to properly design the ground heat exchanger.

  • Presentation slides - GHEX Piping (.pdf)
  • Presentation slides - GHEX Design (.pdf)
  • GHEX Piping (24:42 minutes)
  • Closed-Loop GHEX Design (21:56 minutes) Preview
  • Closed-Loop GHEX Design - LoopLink Example (18:49 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment
  • GHEX Design (35 questions)
Module 6 - Grouting Procedures for Ground-Source Heat Pump Systems

Grouting is a critical part of vertically- and horizontally-bored GHEX installation. This module covers all necessary aspects of grouting—how, what, why and when—material courtesy of GeoPro, Inc.

  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
  • Proper Grouting Procedures & Technical Considerations - Part 1 (15:15 minutes)
  • Proper Grouting Procedures & Technical Considerations - Part 2 (12:01 minutes)
  • Proper Grouting Procedures & Technical Considerations - Part 3 (09:28 minutes)
  • Proper Grouting Procedures & Technical Considerations - Part 4 (15:42 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment (.pdf)
  • Homework Resource - Online Grout Volume & Cost Calculator
  • Reading: Product Handling Guide (Optional) (.pdf)
  • Grouting Procedures (20 questions)
Module 7 - Pipe Joining Methods

Heat fusion (butt, socket, sidewall, and electrofusion) is the predominant method of joining plastic pipe in the buried portion of the ground heat exchanger. The loop installer should always consult with the pipe manufacturer for proper fusion procedures. This lesson reviews the basic procedures, necessary equipment, and items to be aware of in the heat fusion process, courtesy of Performance Pipe.

  • Performance Pipe Website
  • Socket Fusion Procedures (09:16 minutes)
  • Butt Fusion Procedures (08:54 minutes)
  • Reading: Fusion Procedures & Qualifications Guide (Optional) (.pdf)
  • Fusion Procedures (20 questions)
Module 8 - System Installation

Now that GSHP system design is well understood, we will discuss the proper installation techniques to help you make sure that the system will work as well as it has been designed.

  • Presentation slides - Interior GSHP Installation (.pdf)
  • Presentation slides - Ground Loop Installation (.pdf)
  • Interior GSHP Piping Design & Installation - Part 1 (22:26 minutes)
  • Interior GSHP Piping Design & Installation - Part 2 (06:49 minutes)
  • Ground Loop Installation - Part 1 (16:27 minutes)
  • Ground Loop Installation - Part 2 (16:30 minutes)
  • System Installation (20 questions)
Module 9 - Flushing & Purging the System

Before a system can be placed into operation, it must be flushed and purged and the proper amount of antifreeze must be added. This lesson will also cover error detection techniques you can use to verify that the loops have been properly connected to the header.

  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
  • Flushing & Purging Procedures (15:33 minutes)
  • Error Detection & Antifreeze Volume (08:32 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment (.pdf)
  • Homework Resource - Antifreeze Volume Calculator (.xlsm) (.xlsm)
  • Flushing & Purging (15 questions)
Module 10 - Heat Pump System Startup and Checkout + GeoExchange Drilling: Project Costing & Bidding

With the design and install work complete, the last step in a successful project is to ensure that things are working as they should. This lesson gives an overview of the basic steps to take to check for proper system control/operation after startup and to help diagnose problems if they arise. The final lesson will cover the various business-related aspects of GeoExchange drilling. It provides an overview of the things to consider before placing a bid on a project.

  • Reading: How to Measure Forced-Air GSHP Efficiency
  • Presentation slides (.pdf)
  • System Startup, Performance Checking & Troubleshooting (16:37 minutes)
  • Performance Checking (10 questions)
  • Homework Assignment (.pdf)
  • GeoExchange Drilling Considerations (10 questions)
Conclusion - Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • Ready to take the IGSHPA Exam?
  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate


Ryan Carda

Principal Engineer, Dandelion Energy

Ryan Carda is Principal Engineer for Dandelion. He is primarily responsible for design and engineering standardization, with a focus on optimizing the performance and lowering the cost of geothermal systems. Prior to that, Ryan co-founded Geo-Connections in 2004 and served as the company’s President until he sold the company to Dandelion. The products Ryan developed... Learn more


32 reviews

1,468 students have taken this course

by Scott Schmidt, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Dandelion Enegy 09/20/2022

This course provides a nice full picture of the geothermal project from conception to commissioning. A great primer for getting to know the industry.

by MICHAEL AUSTIN 02/09/2020

Great class with a lot of info and great products

by Momchil Radev, CEO, THE RIGHT GUYS PLUMBING 03/03/2018

I was interested to learn something new and interesting. The online class gave me that opportunity at my own place and available time to study . I would highly recommend it!

by Steve Cooper, President, Lake Country Geothermal, Inc. 04/18/2017

I had designed and installed a couple of trenched GHEX and GSHP residential systems prior to this course which helped to make on-line instruction much more relevant. With the exception of a little too much on vertical boring (which is not so relevant in my market), the content was on the mark... and well organized and thorough. Ryan's lecture style and responsiveness to questions were excellent, more than making up for any inherent shortcomings from not being face-to-face. The takeaways for my business will be better methods and processes which will enhance the quality delivered to my clients and the productivity of my operation.

by sean taylor 03/02/2017

very helpful and instructional coarse

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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 10 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.

How long do I have access to the materials?

Students get unlimited access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after enrollment. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world. After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.

Is there a certificate of completion?

Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.

Can I register multiple people?

Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Teams page to get a group discount.

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