Thanks to the work of certified HVAC (or HVAC/R) technicians, most of us are able to live and work in comfortable temperatures any time of the year. On the coldest day of winter our buildings are warm. In the blistering heat of summer they stay cool.
With advanced knowledge of technology and environmental standards certified HVAC technicians are also stewards of our natural environment. The safe, efficient systems they install and maintain protect us and the planet we share.
For all these reasons, certified HVAC technicians are in high demand.
If you have a year or two of experience in HVAC, you are in the perfect position to take advantage of great opportunities in the industry. And the New Year is a perfect time to upgrade a great career.
How to become a certified HVAC technician
HVAC technicians are certified by a combination of work experience and written exam.
The two most popular HVAC technician certifications are those offered by the National Association for Technical Excellence (NATE) and HVAC Excellence.
Both certifications are nationally recognized and widely honored. The exams are considered challenging, so both organizations recommend that you complete a study course first.
The certification that works best for you will depend on your work experience.
If you have two years of experience, you are qualified to sit for the HVAC Excellence core and professional exams. NATE’s initial technician certificate requires six to twelve months of work in the HVAC/R industry.
Both organizations offer additional specialized designations and certifications once you have earned your initial certificate. HVAC Excellence offers a total of 70 certification levels that are designed to serve you for your entire HVAC career.
Both organizations also offer “work ready” training for technicians who are just entering the field.
All HVAC technicians must also be certified through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on stationary HVAC/R equipment. Passing the EPA 608 exam certifies that you are qualified to work on today’s complex and environmentally sensitive HVAC/R systems.
Is HVAC certification worth it?
A study from Georgetown University found that certified HVAC/R technicians make up to $200,000 more over the course of their careers than their non-certified colleagues.
Certified technicians enjoy better reputations among customers, equipment manufacturers and utility companies, according to NATE. The organization states that certified technicians have better ratings for safety, reliability and technical knowledge.
National certification also provides mobility for technicians who wish to change jobs or pursue opportunities in other areas of the country.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that HVAC mechanics and installers earn, on average, $22.89 per hour or $47,610 per year.
BLS data anticipates that HVAC/R technicians will have “postsecondary non-degree” training, or certification without a degree. A study by PayScale.com found that HVAC/R technicians with recognized certificates earn about the same as their colleagues with associates degrees.
What is the best HVAC technician certification training?
For either HVAC Excellence or NATE certification exams, the best training prepares you in the following areas:
- Principles of electricity, heating and refrigeration
- Installation, service and repair of HVAC/R systems
- Sustainable technology and environmental issues, challenges and regulations
- Industry advancements in equipment, practices and requirements
- Professionalism in customer interactions
- Preparation to sit for industry and EPA certification exams
Reliable programs require a strong commitment to your studies and prepare you to earn your certification in approximately one year.
Study for HVAC technician certification online
Are you an HVAC technician with a year or two of industry experience? Ready to take the next step and lock in your opportunity for a great career?
Click below to receive more information about our 12-month HVAC certification study course. It features in-depth course material and practice through hands-on simulations. It even includes a voucher for your HVAC Excellence certification exam!