HVAC Training Schools in Jackson, Mississippi (MS)

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The area that now includes Jackson, Mississippi (MS) was home to the Choctaw Native Americans for thousands of years. Although most were relocated when the region became part of the United States in the 1800s, some of their descendants continue to live in Jackson.

Jackson is the state capital, a county seat, and the largest Mississippian city. Nicknamed the City of Soul for its musical heritage, Jackson has evolved into the financial, legal, and medical center of the state. Automotive manufacturing led by Nissan, and a variety of other manufacturing businesses, contribute significantly to the economy. Other strong industries include construction, distribution, retail, telecommunications, and hospitality. Its variety of businesses and industries have helped “insulate the metropolitan area from the economic downturns experienced by other cities.”

The long summers in Jackson are hot and muggy, and the winters are cold and wet. June through September are the hottest months, with daytime temperatures ranging from the high 80s to the low 90s. Residents get relief from the heat during the evenings, which cool to between the upper 60s and low 70s. Slightly more than three inches of rain falls during September. Rainfall during the other summer months exceeds four inches each month. December through February are the coldest months, with highs that barely reach 60 degrees during February. Although the lows can fall into the 30s, they typically don’t drop to freezing. December receives the most rainfall, at more than five inches. Snow is a rarity; however, Jackson is subject to thunderstorms, hail, wind, and tornadoes.

The seasonal weather extremes, coupled with the sporadic adverse weather events, frequently keep Jackson residents indoors. They rely on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort, especially on humid days. The manufacturing and industrial facilities, as well as the healthcare and educational institutions, often need the addition of refrigeration (HVAC/R) services. The expanding telecommunications industry and the reliance of business on technological advances have necessitated specialized climate-control systems not only for human comfort but also to keep the electronic equipment operating correctly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) reports that 720 HVAC and HVAC/R technicians were employed in Jackson during the period ended May 2019. Technicians and their employers received training and support from the following industry organizations:

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Mississippi (ABC Mississippi)
  • Associated General Contractors of Mississippi (MSAGC)
  • Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (APHCC)
  • Home Builders Association of Jackson (HBAJackson)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

Industry organizations such as these coordinate with others in the industry and with government agencies to establish educational, licensing, and performance standards for the safety of technicians, the public, and the environment.

Occupational Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R Technicians in Jackson, MS

Opportunities for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians continue to increase. The BLS (May 2019) projects a 13 percent increase in new positions for technicians nationwide between 2018 and 2028. That is more than double the predicted 5 percent growth for all US occupations during the same decade. Mississippi technicians can expect a more moderate increase in opportunities, as Projections Central (2020) expects 9.1 percent growth in the statewide demand for these professionals between 2016 and 2026.

Construction of new homes and commercial buildings drives the growth of the HVAC industry. Another growth factor is the renovation and remodeling of existing structures. Aging climate-control systems and equipment must be retrofitted, updated, or replaced to meet current environmental standards. On occasion, technological advances, changing regulations, or new industries that expect high-tech systems necessitate the replacement of equipment in recently-built structures. The contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction also contributes to industry growth.

New structures and modernized older buildings are usually expected to be “smart.” Smart buildings incorporate sophisticated climate-control systems that require trained technicians to install, maintain, and service. Technicians that have the best job opportunities are those who are expert troubleshooters, understand high tech, and are skilled in using computers. If they specialize in new installations, they may occasionally experience unemployment if construction declines.

The diverse economic base of Jackson has kept the city prosperous. The outlook for continued expansion is favorable, and a decline in construction is unlikely in the foreseeable future. Those technicians who maintain, service, and repair equipment can expect full-time employment, as businesses and homeowners depend on year-round climate control regardless of the economy.

HVAC and HVAC/R Salaries in Jackson, MS

The BLS (May 2019) reports that HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $48,730. Technicians in Jackson received an annual median salary of $44,270. The difference isn’t as significant it may appear, as Mississippi has a low cost of living when compared to other American states.

A comparison of BLS (May 2019) national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals is shown in the table below:

United States Mississippi Jackson, MS
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 2,410 720
Average annual salary $51,420 $40,780 $43,700
10th percentile $30,610 $25,230 $26,330
25th percentile $37,660 $30,910 $32,730
50th percentile $48,730 $39,250 $44,270
75th percentile $62,070 $49,800 $53,450
90th percentile $77,920 $59,680 $61,150

HVAC Apprenticeships in Jackson, MS

Aspiring HVAC and HVAC/R technicians traditionally found employment as helpers and learned their skills through on-the-job training. That has become increasingly difficult in recent years, as few opportunities exist for untrained workers. Workers now obtain the necessary training either by participating in an apprenticeship program or by attending classes. Trained technicians have more employment opportunities, as well as potentially starting at higher wages and earning more throughout their career.

Apprenticeships include specified hours of on-the-job training (2,000) and classroom work (144) annually for three to five years. The Mississippi Department of Economic Security through the Workforce Investment Network (WIN) provides information on training resources. There is a WIN center in Jackson. Mississippi Works also includes resources for apprentices.

The Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders & Service Techs offers five-year apprenticeships throughout the country, including three in Mississippi locations. Local 619 in Vicksburg sponsors the nearest program to Jackson.

The Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, based in nearby Pearl, offers training and credentialing in the trades, including HVAC, based on the NCCER curricula.

Workers can find additional HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs from industry associations that include:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

The associations include details of the programs, schedules, and fees on their websites.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Jackson, MS

Accreditation is a process by which the curriculum and instructors of an institution are evaluated for quality by an independent agency. Students should ensure that they select an institution that is accredited when choosing a school.

Two industry organizations accredit HVAC programs. HVAC Excellence has awarded accreditation to Delta Technical College, Horn Lake. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has accredited Northwest Mississippi Community College, Senatobia. Both of these schools are included in the profiles below due to their accreditation, although Jackson students would either have to relocate or face a lengthy commute.

Note: The information in this article was compiled in June 2020 during the “shelter-in-place” and “stay-home” restrictions. The schools have temporarily suspended classes or are transitioning to online options to comply with the restrictions. Questions as to timing and format should be directed to the school administration.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

The Copiah-Lincoln Community College offers two certificate HVAC/R technology programs and an HVAC/R technology degree program at the Wesson and Natchez campuses. Students seeking a career certificate complete a total of 32 to 33 credit-hours to earn their certificate. Their technical coursework includes an introduction to HVAC, compression refrigeration, brazing and piping, electricity, controls, components, refrigerants, retrofitting, regulations, blueprint reading, and heating systems.

Students in the technical certificate program complete the same coursework, and add commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, heat load and air properties, service procedures, and a technical elective. Technical electives include HVAC special projects, supervised work experience, and work-based learning. Enrollees in the degree program complete all the technical coursework required for the certificates. They add English composition, public speaking, a computer elective, and general education electives (that include humanities/fine arts and social/behavioral science) for a total of 60 credit-hours to earn their degree.

Graduates of the technical certificate program and degree program are prepared to take the following industry certification exams: NCCER Core Curriculum, NCCER HVAC/R Level 1 and 2, and EPA 608 Universal type.

  • Location: Natchez, MS; Wesson, MS
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $140 per credit-hour
  • Program Length: Certificates (vary by program); degree (two years)

Delta Technical College

The Delta Technical College offers an HVAC/R-MAR (Major Appliance Repair) training program presented in seven modules of five weeks each. Students learn via classroom lectures combined with hands-on practice in the lab. Classes are available during the daytime and evenings. The curriculum includes electricity, air conditioning, heat pumps and electric heat, major appliance repair, gas heat, indoor air quality, and preparation for industry exams. Students are required to pass EPA 608 Type 1 and Type 2 certification exams to earn their diploma.

Students are required to wear uniforms at all times. The uniforms and required tools must be purchased from the school at a cost in addition to tuition, books, and lab fees. Graduates are qualified to seek employment as entry-level technicians.

  • Location: Horn Lake, MS; Ridgeland, MS
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools & Colleges; HVAC Excellence (Horn Lake campus only)
  • Tuition: $14,263
  • Program Length: 35 weeks

Hinds Community College

The Hinds Community College offers an HVAC/R technology career certificate, an HVAC/R technology technical certificate, and an HVAC/R technology degree.

The curriculum for the career certificate includes an introduction to HVAC, compression refrigeration, brazing and piping, controls, components, electricity, refrigerants, retrofits, regulations, and heating systems. Students complete a total of 30 credit-hours to earn their certificate. Students in the technical certificate program complete the same coursework, and add commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, heat load and air properties, and a technical elective. The technical certificate requires the completion of 45 credit-hours.

Degree-seeking students complete all the above technical coursework as well as general education coursework that includes technical math, English composition, public speaking, interpersonal communication in addition to electives from social/behavioral science, humanities/fine arts, and mathematics/science. Technical electives include HVAC/R special projects, supervised work experience, and work-based learning. Students complete a total of 60 to 61 credit-hours to earn their degree.

  • Location: Raymond, MS
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $125 per credit-hour
  • Program Length: Career certificate (12 months); technical certificate (18 months); degree (two years)

Holmes Community College

Holmes Community College offers three HVAC/R technology programs: a technical certificate, an advanced technical certificate, and a degree program.

The technical certificate program coursework includes an introduction to HVAC, compression refrigeration, electricity, brazing and piping, components, controls, heating systems, refrigerants, retrofitting, regulations, and HVAC/R. Students are awarded a certificate at the completion of 34 credit-hours. The advanced technical certificate includes the same coursework, with the addition of commercial refrigeration, heat load and air properties, and work-based learning, for a total of 45 credit-hours.

Degree-seeking students complete all the technical coursework described above. They also complete general education requirements that include English composition, algebra, public speaking, and electives from humanities/fine arts and social/behavioral science. Their degree is awarded at the completion of 60 to 65 credit-hours.

  • Location: Goodman, MS; Grenada, MS
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $120 per credit-hour
  • Program Length: Technical certificate (one year); advanced technical certificate (18 months); degree (two years)

Northwest Mississippi Community College

Northwest Mississippi Community College students may select an HVAC/R technology career certificate, an HVAC/R technology technician certificate, or an HVAC/R technology degree. The career certificate program curriculum includes compression refrigeration, electricity, brazing and piping, an introduction to HVAC, controls, refrigerants, retrofits, regulation, and heating systems. Students must complete 30 credit-hours and pass the EPA 608 Type 1 and Type 2 certification exams to receive their certificate.

The technician certificate includes the above curriculum, with the addition of commercial refrigeration, heat load and air quality, and HVAC special project. The certificate is granted at the completion of 45 credit-hours. Students in the degree program add the following general education coursework to the above technical coursework: public speaking, English composition, and electives from humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral science, and math/science. Graduation requires the completion of 60 credit-hours and passing the exam for EPA Universal certification.

  • Location: Senatobia, MS
  • Accreditation: PAHRA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $140 per credit hour
  • Program Length: Certificates (vary by program); degree (two years)

Aspiring technicians in Jackson who are unable to attend on-campus schools may find that online institutions can better meet their needs. More information on accredited programs is available at online HVAC training.

HVAC and HVAC/R Certification and Licensing in Jackson, MS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all technicians who work with refrigerants to pass an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. There are four types of EPA Section 608 certification based on the systems on which the technicians work, as follows:

  • Type I – for servicing small appliances
  • Type II – for servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and motor vehicle air conditioning
  • Type III – for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances
  • Universal – for servicing all types of equipment

Details and additional information are available on the EPA website.

Training and certifications, including 608 exams, that increase a technician’s employability are available from industry organizations such as the following:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
  • HVAC Excellence

Further information is available on the HVAC certifications page.

The Mississippi State Board of Contractors governs licensing of contractors and subcontractors, including HVAC. Applicants must pass an exam in business and law and a trade exam. A commercial license is required for commercial projects greater than $50,000, public projects greater than $5,000, and private projects greater than $10,000. A residential license is required for new residential construction greater than $50,000 and residential remodeling greater than $10,000.

Applicants seeking a commercial license must submit proof of general liability insurance in the amount of $300,000 and workers’ compensation insurance. They must also provide three references, proof of work experience, and financial statements, and pay a $400 fee. Residential license applicants must submit three references, proof of general liability and workers compensation insurance, and proof of work experience, and pay a $50 fee. Applications for licenses must be notarized. All licenses must be renewed annually.

The City of Jackson requires all businesses to obtain a license. Fees are based on the number of employees or the value of inventory. Licenses are renewed annually.

As licensing guidelines are subject to change, HVAC professionals are encouraged to ensure that they have all necessary state and local licenses before beginning any projects.

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.