HVAC technicians are people specialized in installation, repair and maintenance of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Even though licensing is not necessary to perform tasks as a HVAC technician, some states do require some sort of certification or license in order for the tech to be allowed to work. Each state in the US has different requirements of earning certificate, so before the choice of which certificate you want to earn, collect information of the state requirements.
Types of EPA-approved Certificates
For anyone who performs maintenance and operates HVAC systems, it is important to have certification required by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA in short), EPA Section 608 Certification – to be more precise. This is the Section of the clean air act for stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning which requires all technicians who perform service, maintenance and disposal of harmful refrigerants, to become certified by an EPA-approved organization. This exam teaches future HVAC technicians about importance of protecting the Ozone layer, recycling and emission reduction. Students learn about ozone depletion, leak repair requirements and recovery cylinders for harmful materials. This certification does not expire and consists of 4 types of certificates.
Type I Certification is for technicians whose primary job is to service small appliances such as window air conditioners, vending machines or domestic refrigerators.
Second type of certification is for technicians whose primary job is to service and dispose of the equipment with high pressure refrigerant like residential air-conditioners, heat pumps and supermarket refrigeration.
Type III Certifications is for all the technicians whose primary job is to service and dispose of the equipment with low pressure refrigerant.
Universal Certification is for the technicians who want to service all types of equipment.
To successfully pass the test, you’re required to have score of 72% on each section which contain the questions for all the 4 types of certifications and additional set of core questions. That means, if you pass core test and only one Type certification questions, you will be given certification for the Type section you passed.
Other types of Certificates
There are some excellent organizations that provide accreditation and certification programs. Some of them offer:
– Employment ready certification which is perfect for students attending vocational schools
–Specialty certification which demonstrates student’s competence in various areas like green awareness, use of R-410A refrigerant systems and residential heat load analysis
–Professional level technician certification for those who have at least two years of work experience in a specific field of HVAC industry
–Senior level technician certification for candidates with two NATE specialty certifications
–Installation specialties which include air-conditioning, air-to-air heat pump, oil-heating, gas heating and air distribution
–Service specialties that include air conditioning, oil-heating, gas-heating, air distribution, air-to-air heat pump, hydronics gas, hydronics oil, commercial refrigeration and light commercial refrigeration
–Industry competency exams (ICE)
Requirements for HVAC technician to apply for Certification
-Most of the States require of the HVAC students to pass a State exam, except the states of South Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming. Some of them even necessitate the technician to take several certification exams in a particular area they will be working in. Also, some of them demand of the technicians to have two separate licenses (heating and air-conditioning contractor license and heating and air-conditioning mechanical license)
-All the students are required to have a minimum number of training hours from any accredited program or school.
-Some of the States even require from students to have a proof of work experience, in addition the apprenticeship work. If you’re choosing to attend online training programs, you will take all of your basic tests over the internet and complete your hands-on training at a training center or through apprenticeship program.
All the future HVAC professionals are needed to possess certain skills in order to be successful in earning a certificate or license. Some of the skills that are much appreciated are:
-Effectiveness in installing and troubleshooting HVAC units
-Ability to read work plans and blueprints
-High experience in handling electronic and mechanical systems
-Knowledge of basic and advanced building components that are in relation to HVAC systems
-Core understanding of determining causes of malfunctions and correcting them
The Most Desirable HVAC Certifications
Since the demand of the HVAC technicians is on the rise, so are the compelling requirements of skills, licensure and certification as well. With the projected increase in job outlook for this field of work, the competitive nature between technicians is very tight. So, among all the graduated HVAC technicians, the ever growing need of improving oneself exceeds the requirements of States and industry to hire technicians. There are many organizations providing high quality certification programs, licenses and creditations. But, those seeking the best looking job curriculum might pursue the top of all accredited organizations.
This praised organizations offers some certifications that are among the prestigious ones, such as the one known as a Professional level and the other Master Specialist level.
The one that every HVAC technicians must undergo is a Section 608 exam to earn the EPA-approved certificate. Choosing the direction of your working field lets you pick the right Section 608 Certificate among the 4 ones available.
The North American Technician Excellence offers one of the best high quality certifications that are considered to be the most respected ones among the employers. Anyone with the NATE certificate has tremendous advantage in choosing between numerous job opportunities.
In conclusion, the demand of earning certificates is still quite flexible in various states of the US but the possession of one is certainly an advantage when looking for an open job. Earning universal one or pursuing the particular field of HVAC industry may cause interest in owning a certificate. Graduates are inspired to pursue the certificates in order to improve their skills, education and work ethics, to become specialized technicians and to prolong their career with large number of working hours and gained experience, either through school education or through certification programs.