HVAC certification is the first step in a career that can provide a variety of job opportunities. The training program must be obtained from an accredited school, which can include on-site locations or online courses. Preparation for this career will ultimately allow an HVAC technician to perform a variety of services. Installation and maintenance of HVAC systems is a highly lucrative career affording opportunities for advancement.
Practically every type of building contains an HVAC system, from residential settings to businesses and organizations. The systems handle all aspects of climate control including temperature, quality and regulation of the air and humidity and refrigeration.
Choose the Right Training for Certification
The certification can include different types of training so choosing the right course of study is important. In addition to the training, an apprenticeship can be an invaluable tool to help prepare for certification. A number of people working in this field take an HVAC certification test to become certified in the state in which they are working. Many states or in some instances the city or county handles the regulations and licensing requirements. Some states do not offer licensing.
Is Certification Necessary?
Taking the North American Technician Excellence exam (NATE) is one of the most widely recognized certifications available. When the course of study chosen is completed, taking a certification exam that is recognized by employers will allow the most options when it comes to a career. The potential employer will look at HVAC certification as proof that the prospective employee has the ability and the knowledge needed for the job.
If a career as a HVAC technician is going to be chosen, certification is essential to show prospective employers as well as customers that they are choosing a professional in this field. Since HVAC is a skilled trade and many choose to branch off on their own, knowledge of the systems and handling them correctly is crucial to avoid injury.
In addition to the course of study that will be required for the certification, many learning venues offer a practice test. This is quite advantageous as it can show the student what areas they may need to review for the actual test. The areas in which they are most proficient can be separated from the areas in which improvement is needed.
Depending upon the type of training chosen, there may be tests given all during the program that will ensure every aspect is understood. Additionally, entry level certification tests may be taken by those who have less than 2 years of experience. This certification generally includes the installation of residential heating and cooling systems. The repair of the systems is also part of the exam.
The technician that has completed a program or apprenticeship will be eligible to take another test after the entry level examination. This requires installation experience of at least a year and two years of experience in maintaining and repairing the systems. It is considered more specific, for example testing involving skill levels when it comes to gas furnaces or heat pumps.
HVAC technicians must be able to handle systems in a safe manner. The chemicals that are involved in cooling systems as well as flammable materials and heat can be extremely dangerous if they are not handled or installed properly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also requires the proper handling of chemicals used in HVAC systems because they can damage the ozone.
A universal certification exam can be taken if three certification tests are passed certifying that the technician knows how to handle these chemicals safely. The first test, Type 1 deals with refrigerants in small appliances. The next test, Type II covers working with high pressure refrigerants. Type III relates to working with low pressure refrigeration appliances. The successful completion of these tests qualifies the technician to take the universal certification exam.
The exam can be taken by contacting an HVAC distributor that is overseen by a corporation to administer exams with approval by the EPA. This corporation is the Mainstream Engineering Corporation. Some colleges or universities have universal certification classes after which the exam can be taken.
It is also possible to take this Universal HVAC certification test by contacting an HVAC organization. They will schedule the test at a local center. When the exam is passed, a Universal Certification card is issued and is necessary for many types of work as well as for licensing.