HVAC Training in Mississippi

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Anyone who has experienced a Mississippi summer knows that a functioning air conditioning system can be a blessing, the installation of which generally requires the assistance of a skilled technician. The sweltering heat in Mississippi is one 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 locations throughout Mississippi, 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 will be 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 actually do? Here’s a brief overview of many of the daily tasks:

  • 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 state who works with refrigerants needs to possess active EPA Section 608 Certification, according to the law.

Overall, the support offered by unions and abundance of job opportunities present reason enough for many to start 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 2016) reported that 294,730 HVAC technicians currently work across the country, earning an average annual salary of $48,320. In addition, industry growth is expected into the future; by illustration, the BLS (Dec. 2015) predicted that positions for HVAC mechanics and installers would expand 14 percent between 2014 and 2024 in the United States. For comparison, all other industries are expected to grow by only seven percent in the same timeframe.

Although the future is not quite as bright for HVAC technicians in Mississippi, it does still hold promise. Projections Central estimated that 130 HVAC-related positions would be added statewide between 2014 and 2024, amounting to an industry expansion of 6.7 percent overall.

There are several factors 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 (Oct. 2017) led to 387 results with businesses such as Mid-South Air Conditioning, Inc., ICF International, Randstad, and many more. A similar search on Indeed (Oct. 2017) yielded 378 openings with organizations including KBR, Comfortech, Ingersoll Rand, JLL, Siemens, and a number of others.

HVAC Worker Salary in Mississippi

Data from the BLS (May 2016) showed that HVAC workers can earn a relatively generous wage throughout during their career. To be sure, the median salary for all U.S. HVAC workers was approximately $45,910 per year, or $22.07 per hour, with the following percentiles:

United States (294,730 HVAC workers): $48,320 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $28,440
  • 25th percentile: $35,440
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,910
  • 75th percentile: $58,960
  • 90th percentile: $73,350

In hourly figures, these salaries amounted to:

United States: $23.23/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $13.67/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.04/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.07/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.35/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $35.26/hr.

The national figures were slightly varied according to another source of data, Payscale (Oct. 2017), which uses self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 478 HVAC workers

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,956
  • 75th percentile: $55,000
  • 90th percentile: $69,000

An additional 2,550 HVAC workers gave Payscale their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.27/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.00/hr.

Salary expectations for HVAC technicians in Mississippi are somewhat lower than the rest of the nation, although this is likely due to the lower cost of living in this state. In fact, Mississippi is the most affordable state in the country. Specifically, there are 1,870 HVAC workers statewide earning an average annual salary of $37,850 and these percentiles:

Mississippi (1,870 HVAC workers): $37,850

  • 10th percentile: $23,010
  • 25th percentile: $28,840
  • 50th percentile (median): $37,240
  • 75th percentile: $46,720
  • 90th percentile: $53,870

In hourly figures, these equated to:

Mississippi: $18.20/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $11.06/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $13.86/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $17.91/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $22.46/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $25.90/hr.

Finally, the BLS (2016) designated seven regions within MS for data-tracking purposes. Interestingly, Hattiesburg HVAC workers boasted the highest average salary at $45,505. Here were the numbers of HVAC professionals, the average salaries, and wage percentiles among these seven regions:

Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS (300 HVAC workers): $40,850 average

  • 10th percentile: $27,930
  • 25th percentile: $33,570
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,030
  • 75th percentile: $48,040
  • 90th percentile: $52,940

Hattiesburg, MS (60 HVAC workers): $45,050 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,100
  • 25th percentile: $37,340
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,080
  • 75th percentile: $51,930
  • 90th percentile: $61,330

Jackson, MS (590 HVAC workers): $39,060 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $23,720
  • 25th percentile: $28,820
  • 50th percentile (median): $40,480
  • 75th percentile: $48,320
  • 90th percentile: $55,900

Northeast Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area (370 HVAC workers): $35,200 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $22,860
  • 25th percentile: $28,480
  • 50th percentile (median): $34,860
  • 75th percentile: $41,780
  • 90th percentile: $48,650

Northwest Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area (210 HVAC workers): $30,280 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $20,170
  • 25th percentile: $22,030
  • 50th percentile (median): $25,130
  • 75th percentile: $36,730
  • 90th percentile: $50,960

Southeast Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area (190 HVAC workers): $33,550 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $21,370
  • 25th percentile: $27,650
  • 50th percentile (median): $33,550
  • 75th percentile: $38,360
  • 90th percentile: $47,440

Southwest Mississippi Nonmetropolitan Area (unknown number of HVAC workers): $38,030 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $31,480
  • 25th percentile: $33,530
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,740
  • 75th percentile: $40,500
  • 90th percentile: $51,030

Accredited HVAC Schools in Mississippi

In order 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. In addition, 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.

Aspiring HVAC technicians who would rather complete a shorter program may instead wish to consider pursuing an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree in HVAC at PAHRA-accredited Northwest Mississippi Community College of Senatobia. This program includes technical courses that are offered both at night and during the day, and prepares the students to begin working as technicians upon graduation. Tuition for the program is set at $1,500 per semester for full-time students, although part-time study is available, as well.

Delta Technical College of Horn Lake (or Ridgeland) boasts the only HVAC-Excellence accredited program in MS. In 36 weeks, students garner 720 hours of training and 180 additional “outside” training experiences. This 28-semester-credit program has instruction in basic electricity, gas and electric heat, major appliance repair, and preparation for the Section 608 EPA certification. Please contact admissions representatives for a customized tuition assessment.

Finally, prospective students may also wish to consider a diploma or certificate, such as the technical certificate in HVAC offered by Hinds Community College in Raymond. This program requires 60 credit-hours over two years, and covers traditional courses on heating systems, air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and heat pump certification preparation, among others. Tuition for Mississippi residents who are studying full-time is $1,440 per semester, although this does not include any additional fees.

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, there are two main organizations offer accreditation for HVAC programs in Mississippi: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence. As mentioned above, Northwest Mississippi Community College has PAHRA accreditation, and Delta Technical College has HVAC Excellence accreditation. As of October 2017, these were the only programs accredited by these two entities in the state.

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).

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, all HVAC workers should understand that they must first obtain a license before becoming a contractor in this industry. In order 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, it is important that all aspiring HVAC technicians perform due diligence when researching licensure requirements to ensure they stay within the law while starting a new job.