Jones College’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration program leads to a “cool” 2nd career  

ELLISVILLE – The first time 35-year-old Joe Johnson graduated from Jones College in 2006, he earned a degree in Automotive Technology. Fifteen years later in August, the Mize resident will not only be graduating with his associate degree from the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Program but he will also be starting a new business.

“When I started almost a year ago, I knew very little about heating and air conditioning and now I have enough knowledge to fix just about anything. I will be fine-tuning my skills but the knowledge I gained in this program at night is amazing and the teacher, Thomas Johnson is the icing on the cake. When you have a teacher who can teach, get down on your level and make it relatable, that makes all the difference in the world,” said Joe Johnson who is embarking on a new, “cool” career.

Jones College’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Program instructor, Thomas Johnson said the reason he started the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Program night class was for people like Joe Johnson who want to make a career change. Joe Johnson had worked in the automotive business for several years before working as a welder at Deep South. With limited opportunities to move up in the company after nearly 15 years, Joe Johnson began exploring his options.

“The night program is for people like Joe who work all day and yet want to look for another career. This is an excellent option for them,” said Johnson.  “Joe welds all day long at Deep South in Seminary and when he’s done, he drives to Ellisville for my night class which meets Monday through Thursday, from 5 p.m. until about 9:30 p.m. He has never missed a day and he’s a top-quality student who has made the President’s Honor Roll. I am extremely proud of him!”

Since August of 2020, Joe has begun the day at 5:30 a.m. He finishes at about 10 p.m. after welding all day and being in class all night without an issue.

“I knew it would be a struggle coming in two weeks late to the class, but now I’m starting my own business,” said Joe. “I’m not scared because Mr. Johnson gave me the confidence and knowledge I need to work in this business.”

He also credits the support from his wife Chelsie, and their three children ages 10, 12, and 13, for allowing him the time to focus on his new, “cool” career.

“I have my business license and Tax ID number and about five jobs lined up. I know it will be long hours because this is a 24/7 job with high demand,” said Joe. “It was not easy coming back to school, but I promise you it has been the most fruitful thing I’ve ever done in my life as far as education goes, being here at Jones.”

For information about the upcoming Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Program course schedule, visit the website: or call Thomas Johnson at 601-477-4247.