Every HVAC system needs a technician. And every HVAC technician needs a certification. Here is everything you need to know about completing your certification. Set yourself apart from your competition with an HVAC certificate. Here are a few things you can do to obtain your certification quickly.
What is HVAC certification?
HVAC certification confirms that a technician has undergone the necessary training and that their HVAC skills meet the industry standards. An accredited agency recognized throughout the industry provides the certificate.
Most clients look for an HVAC certified technician because setting up an HVAC system in a building is not easy and can even be dangerous to the technician and the residents. The certification proves that you can handle the task efficiently and safely without causing harm to anyone around.
Let’s now dive deeper and look into all such benefits of becoming a certified HVAC technician.
Why become a certified HVAC technician?
Here are three benefits you will automatically gain by getting certified:
Acquire necessary skills and knowledge
You will gain immense knowledge about the science behind the basic fundamental principles of HVAC systems. In other words, you will get access to a wide range of skills, including ventilation, refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating. You will also become skillful at understanding temperature control mechanisms, gauging humidity levels, and analyzing the air quality.
Gain access to more opportunities and clients
After certification, larger companies will recognize you, and you will be able to access opportunities working on larger-scale projects. Taking on these larger projects will refine your skills and provide you with even greater experience. Consequently, you will be easily recognizable in the job market and stand out over other uncertified technicians applying for the same job. If you are starting an HVAC business, this certificate will build trust—which is essential when bringing in potential clients.
Get paid more
A certified HVAC professional always commands a better price than an uncertified one. Because you will be able to showcase your theoretical and practical knowledge of the job, your employers and clients, in turn, will be willing to pay more. Most online HVAC certification courses are very affordable, so your return on investing in your education is high.
Now that you have seen the benefits of being certified let’s look into the different types of certification popular in the HVAC industry.
Popular HVAC Certifications
The HVAC industry recognizes three significant certifications:
HVAC EPA Certification
The HVAC EPA certification is probably one of the most popular and recognized. It emphasizes that the technician can safely handle, service, repair, and dispose of HVAC equipment that could release harmful refrigerants like CFC into the atmosphere.
In the United States, under the Clean Air Act, EPA 608 certification is mandatory for every HVAC technician. To get the EPA 608 certification, the technicians must pass an EPA-approved test. This test will be specific to the type of appliances that the technician plans to service.
North American Technical Excellence Certificate (NATE)
Another highly recognized certification in the HVAC industry is NATE. Technicians with NATE certification tend to be more productive and remain successful in the industry longer than non-certified technicians.
Consumers surveyed have indicated feeling generally more satisfied working with NATE certified technicians. Those who possess a NATE certificate have gone through rigorous training and testing. A technician with NATE certification indicates to their customers that they are knowledgeable, skilled, and highly experienced. The NATE HVAC certification cost ranges between $130 to $250.
HVAC Excellence Certification
This HVAC technician certification was established in 1994. The primary goal of this certification is to improve the technical competency of an HVAC technician through education. The HVAC excellence certificate is unique as it offers certificates progressively for technicians at every stage of their career. Awarding certificates this way allows easily differentiating technicians based on their experience level.
For example, a technician with two years of experience can pursue professional-level certification. Similarly, a technician with three years of field experience with a passing score in professional-level certification can pursue master specialist certification. The master specialist certification is the highest qualification in HVAC Excellence.
5 Steps to becoming a certified HVAC technician
Let’s now look at the different steps you would have to follow to become a certified HVAC technician:
Complete high school diploma
The first step is to complete your high school diploma. High school completion is primarily to lay the groundwork necessary to build on. You need to make sure you have a solid foundation in physics and mathematics.
Join an HVAC course
You can join an HVAC course through any means—online, classroom, or even self-taught. But make sure to select a course that is tied to a certificate. Many online courses are accredited with NATE, so look out for such courses. Pursuing HVAC certification online is best for people who are low on budget and prefer flexible hours to complete the course. For instance, you can do an HVAC certification in Florida or an HVAC certification in Texas right from the comfort of your home.
On the other hand, classroom training will improve your communication and help you gain practical experience.
Do an HVAC apprenticeship
You will work and learn under an expert HVAC technician in an apprenticeship. These apprenticeships are usually paid and last for three to five years. Some apprenticeships offer 100% on-the-job training, while some offer 50% field training and 50% classroom work. Pick one that works best for you.
Complete an HVAC course before you apply for an apprenticeship. Competition is high, and having some coursework under your belt will give you an edge.
Gain practical experience
Since many apprenticeship programs are not 100% on-the-job training, you need to work under an HVAC contractor to get practical experience. Also, it is not uncommon for certifications to need at least 12 months of practical experience.
Once all the above steps are complete, you can enroll yourself in a certification program. You can either do an HVAC certification online, free or opt for paid ones. Apart from those discussed in this post, you can also consider HVAC certification programs like Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) and Refrigeration Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) to boost your profile.
The HVAC industry is rapidly growing. There will be a surplus of qualified HVAC technicians in the future. So prioritizing your certification now will help you push ahead of your competition. It can take anywhere between two to three years for an individual to become a certified HVAC technician. But it is worth the effort as you will enjoy a host of benefits that an uncertified technician will never be able to access.