The demand for HVAC engineers and technicians is continuing to grow.With over 400,000 engineers currently employed in the US.It is now becoming more essential for HVAC engineers to expand their existing skill set.In order to meet industry developments and industry demand.
The certification requirements for HVAC engineers varies by state.In many states certification is not a requirement.However engineers that are certified benefit from much improved salaries and employment opportunities.When looking to gain a HVAC certification, it is important to consider a number of factors and understand the process involved in gaining accreditation.
The HVAC certification will give you the necessary qualifications to perform installation and repairs of HVAC systems.In many states certification is a mandatory requirement.Technicians will become certified after passing an exam that will test their knowledge of the trade.
There are three different types of professional HVAC certification that professionals can gain.Certifications are regulated by the Federal Government.Under the code of Federal regulations “Clean Air Act” section 608.There are two primary organizations responsible for regulating and testing technicians.NATE (North American Technical Excellence) and HVAC Excellence.
To become HVAC certified.A technician must pass an approved course or apprenticeship.On completion the engineer is required to take a written exam.In addition engineers must obtain a certificate from the Environmental Protection Agency.This will qualify engineers to safely dispose of refrigeration equipment.Obtaining this certification is a Federal requirement.
The benefits of Becoming A Certified HVAC Technician
- You will have a clear advantage over engineers that are not certified, when looking for jobs.
- You will increase your earning potential after becoming certified
- You can work in any US state
- You can open your own businesses using your certification
- In some states it is a legal requirement to hold the HVAC certificate
As the industry grows, there is an increased demand for certified HVAC technicians.In the future it is expected to be a requirement to hold a HVAC certificate in all US states. This means that becoming HVAC certified is not only an advantage.But in the future could be a requirement. It is important to check federal law in the state you are planning to work.In many states having HVAC certification is a legal requirement.
HVAC License Requirements – How to Become Certified
Becoming a certified HVAC technician is easier than many people think.If you already have experience from having served an apprenticeship or have on the job experience. You are half way there. There are a number of certified course that can be taken. Either through a self study program or through attending an accredited course center.
Different Types OF HVAC Certification
Section 608 Technician Certification
Also refereed to as the EPA HVAC Certificate the 608 technician certificate is required in all states under federal law. For any engineering or disposal work involving a container or device containing refrigeration gas. In all US states it is mandatory to hold this certification.
There are 4 certificates available under section 608.Each section requires a period of study, followed by an exam.The four certifications are as follows.
EPA Certification for Servicing Small Appliances
If your job is restricted to the handling and servicing of small appliances you will need only this certificate.A small container is specified as holding 5kg of gas or under. This certificate will cover the holder for:
- System evacuation using the appropriate equipment
- Safety considerations when handling refrigerants
- Gas recovery techniques for systems with or without a working compressor
- System evacuation using the appropriate equipment
EPA Type II Certification – Servicing High Pressure Systems
The EPA type II certificate is exclusively for the servicing of high pressure systems.A self study or accredited center study program is required, followed by an exam.In order to obtain this qualification.The course will cover:
- Safety and safe use of equipment
- Understanding high pressure refrigeration systems and gases
- Detecting leaks in high pressure systems
- Leak repair requirements for systems containing more than 50 pounds of refrigeration
- Recovery requirements and techniques for repairs and disposal
EPA Type III Certification – Servicing Low Pressure Systems
The EPA type III certificate covers the same areas as the type II certificate.Except this certification concentrates solely on low pressure systems containing under 50 pounds of refrigeration.As with the type II certificate.A self study or accredited training center program is required.Followed by an exam.
The Universal EPA Certificate
The universal certificate is a combined certification.It will cover the areas of “small appliances certificate”.As well as the “Type II” and “Type III”.This universal certificate will qualify you for all types of refrigeration equipment.
This certificate will require a longer study program.Due to the complexity of the course.Study can be completed in a self learning environment or at any accredited study center.This certification will allow you to work in any US state.Providing you meet any other Federal state HVAC requirements.
NATE – (North American Technician Excellence)
NATE is a not for profit organization offering certification for engineers.NATE certification involved a more technical process to gain certification.This is the ideal qualification if you are currently a technician and would like to validate you knowledge.NATE are extremely thorough with the exam process.Each exam is divided into different specialties.Covering areas such as: Air distribution, Gas furnaces and Air distribution.NATE also provide entry level certification, for those new to the HVAC industry.
NATE Entry Level Certification
NATE has two certificates for those new to the industry.If you have no previous or college work experience.You should consider the following programs.
- Ready to Work Certification – You will learn the basics of HVAC systems.This course will cover: General Safety, Electrical Basics, Equipment and Tools and Heat Transfer Basics.The exam consists of 50 questions and is awarded when achieving the required pass mark.
- HVAC Technician Support Exam – You will need between 6 and 12 months work experience to study for this exam.This course is more in depth than the ready to work certificate.Covering: System Instillation, System Maintenance, System Components and Design Considerations.This exam consists of 100 question.
NATE Professional Lever Certifications
This NATE certification is only available to HVAC professionals with over 1 years experience.The exam is split into specialist areas, covering.
- Air Conditioning
- Air Distribution
- Gas Heating
- Oil Heating
- Heat Pumps (Air to Air)
- Hydronics Gas
- Hydronics Oil
- Commercial Refrigeration
- Light Commercial Refrigeration
- HVAC Efficiency Analysis
HVAC Schools Training and Classes
If you are looking to become a certified HVAC technician.You will need to attend a reputable and accredited trade school or self learning program.Students are required to learn the latest technical advances in the industry.
Students will learn about wiring diagrams, how to replace breakers and circuits safely.As well as how to analyze defective electrical equipment.As well as pipe fitting and other electrical skills essential in the industry.The HVAC curriculum includes: The Code of Federal Regulation, Mechanical Code and International Residential Code.
Each practical learning course will teach students about: Problems that stop refrigeration and air conditioning units from cooling properly.Refrigeration safety, Federal safety code.As well as modules covering: Dampers duct and furnaces.
Benefits of Attending a School or College
All of the required HVAC skills can be obtained through on the job learning.However attending a school or college program has a number of benefits. These include covering cutting edge technology and new developments in the industry. As well as receiving in depth education on the physics and principles of air cooling, that are not taught through on the job training.
Certifications and diplomas gained through attending a school or college carry more weight in the industry.Meaning qualifying students gain access to better and higher valued work opportunities. Attending a school or college will require a commitment of time from the student.Usually 2 years of study, followed by exams.
HVAC Exams – Online Training
If you are looking to gain your certification quickly or combine your learning with on the job experience.Online training is the best solution. With online learning all course materials are prepared for you.You can study in your won time.You will have access to practice tests prior to your exams.
There are two excellent websites providing information and education to support online training courses.
- HVAC Excellence is an in depth knowledge base, Supporting all industry specialties.EPA Test Preparation
- EPA Test Preparation supports the 608 Technician certificate.The EPA website offers free software and training resources to support and help you prepare for the 608 exam.
How much will becoming certified cost.
Costs for HVAC qualification are between $1,500 for community college and online courses.Rising to $30,000 for a 4 year college degree.Each state and education provider will have it’s own pricing structure.