Which HVAC Certification is Best for You?

Employers in the HVAC industry prefer certified technicians, and both EPA Section 608 and NATE certifications can help demonstrate that technicians have the knowledge and skills to perform HVAC functions for residential and commercial customers. NATE certification is one of the most widely recognized certifications available. To become NATE certified, technicians must pass a general HVAC knowledge test and at least one specialized installation or service exam. This certification is awarded in areas such as air conditioning, gas or oil heating, air distribution, air-to-air heat pumps, ground-based (geothermal) heat pumps, and the efficiency of HVAC systems.

The EPA 608 certification is a mandatory certification for HVAC technicians as part of the Clean Air Act because of the job requirements of working with equipment that has the potential to release refrigerant into the atmosphere. Refrigerants have been shown to contribute to the accumulation of greenhouse gases and can have negative impacts on the environment and human health. The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification is a nationally recognized and respected certification for HVAC technicians. While it's not mandatory to start working in the HVAC industry, those who take the time to earn NATE certification can further differentiate themselves from the crowd and are more likely to have a longer and more successful career.

There are four levels of NATE certification that can be achieved at different stages throughout your HVAC career. The National Corporation for Inspection, Testing and Certification (NITC) requires five years of documented work experience (installation, maintenance, or otherwise) or in the fifth year of an HVAC/R training program for a technician to be eligible. The Society of Refrigeration Service Engineers (RSES) is a professional organization that offers educational and certification programs for those working in the refrigeration service industry. Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is a professional trade association that provides its members with education, training and certification in the installation and maintenance of air conditioning systems.

CHD certification helps validate your ability to design HVAC systems that meet requirements for future projects and buildings, including the HVAC equipment involved, room design, designs, duct and pipe specifications, load calculations, and more. Certification in the ACCA QI standard can be obtained in residential HVAC design or in light commercial HVAC design. NCI certifications are designed to provide technicians with the knowledge and skills necessary to accurately diagnose, adjust, and repair residential and light commercial HVAC systems. HVAC Excellence is a certification program that provides professional recognition and credentials to people in the HVAC industry.

It also offers continuing education courses that can help certified professionals stay up to date on new technologies and regulations in their field. Undoubtedly, a NATE certification also has a well-deserved reputation as certifications are offered in more than 5000 testing organizations. The certifications you'll need to operate in the HVAC industry depend on the specific state in which you want to become certified. Certified indoor air quality (IAQ) technicians have passed an exam that shows that they understand the steps necessary to install, maintain and repair HVAC air quality systems. While there are HVAC schools all over the world, getting HVAC certification online is the easiest and fastest way to complete the certification process.