HVAC Training & Certifications in Mississippi (MS)

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Anyone who has experienced a Mississippi (MS) summer knows that a functioning air conditioning system is more than a blessing — it’s a necessity. The installation of a functioning system requires the assistance of a skilled technician, making Mississippi an attractive place to start in the HVAC field. The sweltering heat in Mississippi is just one of the many reasons that pursuing a job in the field of heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) can prove a relatively stable career.

HVAC technicians in the state enjoy support offered by unions and other professional organizations. For example, the United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders & Service Techs operates in three different Mississippi locations, including Local 568 in Gulfport, Local 436 in Pascagoula, and Local 619 in Vicksburg. Through this union, HVAC technicians have access to many benefits, including a calendar of events, networking opportunities with other technicians and contractors, a pension plan, and even an apprenticeship program, which helps aspiring HVAC workers take their first steps towards this career. Because an apprenticeship program can be a valuable and effective way to emerge in the HVAC industry, it is detailed in the training section below.

Another association that provides support to MS-based HVAC technicians is the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. This national organization boasts benefits such as networking opportunities, the chance to win awards, advocacy, disaster relief training, and much more.

The assistance offered by the aforementioned groups is one reason why people choose to pursue a career in the HVAC industry. But what do these skilled professionals in Mississippi do? A few of their daily tasks include:

  • Follow all relevant laws and regulations that pertain to the HVAC industry
  • Perform calculations related to heat load and loss
  • Test equipment, and calibrate it when necessary
  • Keep detailed records of all services performed
  • Provide education for the public on energy conservation and HVAC industry information
  • Travel to worksites
  • Maintain necessary licensure and permits
  • Examine and interpret blueprints

Furthermore, anyone in the US, including those in Mississippi, who work with refrigerants needs to possess active EPA Section 608 Certification, according to the law.

Overall, the support offered by unions and the abundance of job opportunities presents reason enough for many to consider working in this thriving field. This guide explores the job outlook, salary prospects, accredited training programs, and certification available to HVAC professionals in Mississippi.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Mississippi

The HVAC industry is strong nationwide and is only expected to grow throughout the future. Specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019) reported that 342,040 HVAC technicians currently work across the country, earning an average annual salary of $51,420.

Industry growth is expected into the future; by illustration, the BLS (May 2019) predicts that positions for HVAC mechanics and installers will expand 4 percent between 2019 and 2029 in the United States which is as fast as the average 4 percent projected for all occupations in the U.S.

Although the future is not quite as bright for HVAC technicians in Mississippi, it does still hold promise. Projections Central (2021) estimated that 90 HVAC-related positions would be added statewide between 2018 and 2028.

Several factors are driving the growth of the HVAC industry, both in Mississippi and the rest of the country. For one, new buildings in the state typically are constructed with some type of climate control system, the installation of which requires the expertise of a trained technician. And these HVAC systems require routine maintenance, as well as full replacement every 10 to 15 years. Additionally, as the regulations governing the HVAC industry continue to change, the demand for HVAC technicians grows with individuals and companies striving to stay in compliance with the law, particularly as it involves energy efficiency.

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to visualize this rising demand is by searching for job openings in the state. For example, an online job search for HVAC jobs in Mississippi on Monster (2021) led to 231 results with businesses such as Penske, Novolex, Knight Transportation, Sears Holdings Corporation, and many more. A similar search on Indeed (2021) yielded 93 openings with organizations including Service Experts, Cushman & Wakefield, Johnson Controls, UAG Ventures AC, L.P., and several others.

HVAC Worker Salary in Mississippi

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 Mississippi, the 2,410 HVAC professionals working there earned an average of $40,780, 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 Mississippi specifically:

United States Mississippi
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 2,410
Annual mean wage $51,420 $40,780
10th Percentile $30,610 $25,230
25th Percentile $37,660 $30,910
50th Percentile (Median) $48,730 $39,250
75th Percentile $62,070 $49,800
90th Percentile $77,920 $59,680

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 December 2020:

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,246
  • 90th percentile: $75,000

Although average salaries in Mississippi are somewhat lower than national averages, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) found Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the entire country. Extremely low costs of living mean that salaries will go much farther in MS than they would in other states.

HVAC Apprenticeships in Mississippi

To begin working in this industry, aspiring HVAC technicians must first develop skills and a thorough understanding of the job. In general, this requires the completion of some type of formal education, such as an apprenticeship, an associate degree, or even a diploma or certificate.

As mentioned above, the United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders & Service Techs offers an apprenticeship program through the various local organizations that operate across Mississippi. Apprenticeship programs include five years of job-related training, allowing the participants to develop valuable skills while earning a wage that is often calculated as a percentage earned by the journeyman.

Also, the apprentice must attend classes and may be awarded an associate degree upon completion of the program. Because the specifics of the apprenticeship vary based on the local hosting organization, those interested in these highly competitive programs should reach out to their local union for more information.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Mississippi

Future students should also recognize that it is becoming increasingly common for aspiring HVAC technicians to complete six-month to two-year programs in Mississippi that have received accreditation. As of this writing, two main organizations offer accreditation for HVAC programs in Mississippi: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), and HVAC Excellence.

Northwest Mississippi Community College has PAHRA accreditation, and Delta Technical College has HVAC Excellence accreditation (both these programs have been profiled in the list below). As of February 2021, these were the only programs accredited by these two entities in the state.

Northwest Mississippi Community College

Aspiring HVAC technicians who would rather complete a shorter program (if not an apprenticeship) may instead wish to consider pursuing an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in HVAC or a vocational certificate program at PAHRA-accredited Northwest Mississippi Community College of Senatobia. These programs include technical courses that are offered both at night and during the day preparing students to begin working as technicians upon graduation.

Students acquiring an AAS must obtain the universal EPA certification before graduation, while students acquiring the certificate must obtain Type I and II EPA certification. Students in these programs will also complete NCCER certifications.

The AAS degree program is made up of 60 credits, while the certificate requires 45 semester-credits. Sample some of the courses in the curriculum: Basic compression refrigeration, refrigeration system components, electricity for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, brazing and piping, heating systems, and refrigerant, retrofit, and regulations, among others.

Students in these programs will be prepared to work in private firms or engineering departments where they would install, maintain, and operate HVAC/R systems. Both these programs prepare students in becoming entry-level technicians working in residential or commercial settings. Students learn to design ductwork, assemble, install, service, operate, and maintain heating and cooling systems according to the standards of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers Inc., Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute).

  • Location: Senatobia, MS
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; PAHRA
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (four semesters); certificate (two semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: $145 per credit

Delta Technical College

Delta Technical College in Horn Lake and Ridgeland boasts the only HVAC Excellence-accredited program in MS. This HVAC/R–MAR (Refrigeration and Major Appliance Repair) Technician Program prepares students in installing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC/R units. The program is a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training in a lab. The faculty of the program includes instructors who have real-world experience.

Comprising 28 credits, the program includes courses such as air conditioning, basic electricity, heat pumps and electric heat, gas heat, major appliance repair, employment and certification readiness, and indoor air quality.

The HVAC/R training provided to students at Delta Technical College offers them the workforce training that is needed for developing the knowledge and skills necessary for entering the HVAC/R industry at the entry-level. Graduates will be able to take up roles such as equipment and duct installer, apartment maintenance technician, service technician, sales representative, field service representative, refrigeration mechanic, and commercial maintenance. Some might even go for self-employment.

  • Location: Horn Lake, MS; Ridgeland, MS
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools & Colleges (ACCSC); HVAC Excellence
  • Expected Time to Completion: Nine months
  • Estimated Tuition: $14,413

Hinds Community College

Hinds Community College offers a career certificate, a technical certificate, and an associate of applied science degree in HVAC/R technology. Students in these programs will learn to install, maintain, and repair small as well as medium HVAC/R systems. The instruction provided here will prepare them to work in commercial and residential settings where they can perform tasks according to the industry standards.

The career certificate comprises 30 credits while the technical certificate is made up of 45 credits. The AAS degree program requires students to complete 60 to 61 credits. The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to heating and air conditioning technology, basic compression refrigeration, brazing and piping, controls, heating systems, commercial refrigeration, heat load, and air properties, and electricity for HVACR, among others.

  • Location: Raymond, MS
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Career certificate (12 months); technical certificate (18 months); AAS (24 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Mississippi residents ($125 per credit); non-Mississippi residents ($250 per credit)

Itawamba Community College

Itawamba Community College’s associate of applied science in heating & air conditioning technology is an instructional program that prepares students to install, maintain, and operate air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration systems. Also, the program has additional credentials available, including Universal EPA Certification, NCEER, and NATE.

Consisting of 60 to 61 credits, the program involves courses in fundamentals of electricity/electronics, introduction to heating and air conditioning technology, basic compression refrigeration, electricity for heating/ventilation, A/C and refrigeration, brazing and piping, heating systems, heat load, and air properties, commercial refrigeration, and controls, among others.

Graduates of the program will be ready to take positions such as service technician, installer, or maintenance technician in residential HVAC companies, engineering departments, commercial HVAC companies, private firms, restaurant equipment service, and self-employment.

  • Location: Belden, MS
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($1,450 per semester); out-of-State ($2,550 per semester)

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Mississippi

It is important to mention that anyone in Mississippi who works with refrigerants must maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification, which has four subtypes: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Both apprenticeship programs and college-based training programs should prepare graduates to earn this certification before or after graduation.

Also, a handful of skill-specific, national certifications are available for HVAC technicians who want to develop their expertise. These are offered by the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (e.g., entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator); North American Technician Excellence (e.g., Industry Competency Exams or ICE); HVAC Excellence (e.g., Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology Plus); and others.

To discover all national certification options, check out the HVAC credentialing page.

Finally, HVAC workers in MS must obtain a license before becoming a contractor in this industry. To do so, HVAC technicians must pass two exams: one related to business and law, and one related to the HVAC industry. The Mississippi State Board of Contractors provides a list of companies that offer prep courses to help applicants prepare for the exams.

Furthermore, applicants for licensure must submit a financial statement that has been reviewed by a CPA and that is less than 12 months old, as well as proof of worker’s compensation insurance and liability coverage at a minimum of $300,000 per occurrence (and $600,000 aggregate for general liability). Applicants are required to pay $200 for the first license received, as well as $50 for any additional classifications.

Ultimately, HVAC licensure in Mississippi can be a fairly complex process, and some cities may have additional requirements. In light of this, all aspiring HVAC technicians must perform due diligence when researching licensure requirements to ensure they stay within the law while starting a new job.

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.