HVAC Training in Mississippi

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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 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 actually 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 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 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 (2017) reported that 307,060 HVAC technicians currently work across the country, earning an average annual salary of $49,530. Industry growth is expected into the future; by illustration, the BLS (2017) predicts that positions for HVAC mechanics and installers will expand 15 percent between 2016 and 2026 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 250 HVAC-related positions would be added statewide between 2016 and 2026, amounting to an industry expansion of 9.1 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 (Nov. 2018) led to 212 results with businesses such as Penske, the US Army Reserves, CBRE, Johnson Controls, and many more. A similar search on Indeed (Nov. 2018) yielded 115 openings with organizations including Cresco, Inc., KBR, Lennox International, Pascagoula-Gautier School District, and a number of others.

HVAC Worker Salary in Mississippi

Data from the BLS (2017) 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 $49,530 per year, or $23.81 per hour, with the following percentiles:

United States (307,060 HVAC workers): $49,530 annual average salary

Mississippi (1,980 HVAC workers): $39,060 annual average salary

Annual salary Hourly salary
United States Mississippi United States Mississippi
Average $49,530 $39,060 $23.81 $18.78
10th percentile $29,120 $24,280 $14.00 $11.67
25th percentile $36,150 $30,070 $17.38 $14.46
50th percentile $47,080 $37,980 $22.64 $18.26
75th percentile $60,270 $47,610 $28.98 $22.89
90th percentile $75,330 $56,120 $36.22 $26.98

Although average salaries in Mississippi are somewhat lower than national averages, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2018) found Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the entire country, with extensive savings to be found in housing and utilities. Extremely low costs of living mean that salaries will go much farther in MS than they would in other states.

Even within the state, salaries do vary by region of employment. Hattiesburg offers the highest salaries in the state. Following is a breakdown of the number of HVAC workers employed, average salaries, and percentile figures among the 7 BLS-designated regions of Mississippi (BLS 2017):

Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS (400 HVAC workers employed): $39,080 annual average salary

Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $39,080 $18.79
10th percentile $23,310 $11.21
25th percentile $28,950 $13.92
50th percentile $39,810 $19.14
75th percentile $48,580 $23.36
90th percentile $54,530 $26.22

Hattiesburg, MS (90 HVAC workers unreported): $43,250 annual average salary

Hattiesburg, MS
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $43,250 $20.79
10th percentile $27,940 $13.43
25th percentile $33,050 $15.89
50th percentile $41,480 $19.94
75th percentile $51,450 $24.73
90th percentile $63,230 $30.40

Jackson, MS (550 HVAC workers): $39,360 annual average salary

Jackson, MS
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $39,360 $18.92
10th percentile $24,050 $11.56
25th percentile $29,850 $14.35
50th percentile $40,830 $19.63
75th percentile $48,130 $23.14
90th percentile $54,390 $26.15

Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area (360 HVAC workers unreported): $36,390 annual average salary

Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $36,390 $17.50
10th percentile $24,200 $11.64
25th percentile $31,690 $15.23
50th percentile $36,230 $17.42
75th percentile $41,520 $19.96
90th percentile $48,890 $23.51

Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area (140 HVAC workers): $39,820 annual average salary

Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $39,820 $19.15
10th percentile $25,840 $12.42
25th percentile $29,600 $14.23
50th percentile $38,750 $18.63
75th percentile $49,320 $23.71
90th percentile $59,010 $28.37

Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area (260 HVAC workers): $34,980 annual average salary

Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $34,980 $16.82
10th percentile $21,680 $10.42
25th percentile $27,910 $13.42
50th percentile $34,030 $16.36
75th percentile $39,310 $18.90
90th percentile $51,730 $24.87

Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area (number of HVAC workers unknown): $38,730 annual average salary

Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $38,730 $18.62
10th percentile $27,210 $13.08
25th percentile $32,580 $15.66
50th percentile $37,080 $17.83
75th percentile $44,600 $21.44
90th percentile $55,620 $26.74

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 (AAS) 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 in Horn Lake and Ridgeland boasts the only HVAC Excellence-accredited program in MS. In 35 weeks, students garner 735 hours of training. This 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 November 2018, 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). Both apprenticeship programs and college-based training programs should prepare graduates to earn this certification prior to or subsequent to 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. 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.