The HVAC industry is not as simple as it may seem. While many jobs only require you to complete one degree to be eligible for employment, this is not the case with HVAC professionals. Having the aptitude and the desire to learn is not enough. Several states and many prospective employers will require you to be a certified HVAC technician to verify your qualifications for the job.
There’s no need to worry, however, because there are many courses where you can get HVAC certifications online. Although many of these are optional, they can help boost your chances of getting more job offers.
How To Become a Certified HVAC Technician
A high school diploma or the completion of a General Educational Development (GED) program is the minimum educational requirement for those aspiring to become an HVAC technician. However, many reputable companies lean towards those who completed higher education.
From there, you could work on getting a certificate or an associate’s degree from an HVAC training program. These programs cover critical topics like system design, safety measures, installation, and ductwork. Completing these courses will allow you to work on different projects. An apprenticeship program is the fastest way to get HVAC certified and will open more exciting job opportunities for you. Apprentice programs typically take three to five years and usually provide graduates with exposure to various facets of HVAC repair and maintenance. Program completion qualifies you for an HVAC tech license, although this can vary per state as each has its own licensing requirements.
Types of HVAC Certifications
HVAC technicians usually receive their certifications only after they meet the requirements of the certifying organization. These include demonstrating technical knowledge, passing rigorous tests, and participating in professional and technical programs. The following are the standard industry-supported certifications that companies look for before hiring a prospective HVAC technician:
1. NATE Certification
NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence, a testing and accreditation organization that caters to the specific needs of HVAC technicians. A NATE Certificate is among the most respected and highly-recognized HVAC certifications. Although not a strict requirement for you to find work in the field, individuals who have obtained NATE certification are found to be more successful as technicians.
NATE covers a variety of knowledge-based exams, including oil heating, air conditioning, and gas furnaces. A technician must demonstrate a solid understanding of the subject matter and showcase technical and practical skills to gain NATE certification.
2. R-410A Certification
R-410A, a common refrigerant similar to Freon, is widely used in the HVAC business. Since R-410A is also a highly-pressurized refrigerant, technicians who deal with them should take the corresponding training course. They must pass this to be certified in purchasing, ordering, and handling R-410A safely.
HVAC technicians often must deal with equipment that could release refrigerant into the atmosphere. This makes their role critical, so they need to have the proper certification. Technically, the R-410A training program falls under the EPA608 Certification, one of several HVAC certifications that technicians must secure in compliance with the Clean Air Act provisions.
3. Indoor Air Quality Certification
An IAQ certification proves that a technician has successfully passed an examination where they effectively demonstrated the ability to maintain and repair HVAC systems. A technician with this certification is qualified to help homeowners maintain their HVAC system’s optimal performance.
4. Preventive Maintenance Certification
Technicians who receive HVAC certifications in preventive maintenance possess the skills to diagnose and fix any problems encountered during routine maintenance accurately. They can easily identify and resolve the issue before it leads to more serious complications later.
5. Type 1 EPA Certification
Any HVAC technician who works with refrigerants must have a valid Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification. Type1 1 EPA is the first of four certification exams that technicians must pass to prove their competence in handling small appliances containing 4 pounds of refrigerant. These include residential fridges and freezers.
6. Type 2 EPA Certification
The second of four EPA certifications that focuses on the service and/or disposal of high-pressure refrigerant-based appliances. These include commercial fridges and freezers, as well as outdoor AC units.
7. Type 3 EPA Certification
The third of four EPA certifications allows HVAC technicians to service or dispose of low-pressure appliances with a refrigerant boiling point greater than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Universal EPA Certification
This is the last of four EPA certifications for HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants. It is usually given after the first three certifications are secured. With this final EPA certification, a technician has the authority to use refrigerants on any type of equipment.
9. HVAC Quality Installation Standard Certification
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) grants this certification to HVAC technicians who can demonstrate the ability to design an HVAC system for use in either residential or commercial spaces. They must use the correct techniques when incorporating factors like duct design and load calculation as part of their designs.
A non-profit group, ACCA is among the most respected technical and professional organizations in the HVAC industry. It serves over 60,000 people and 4000 businesses engaged in the HVAC field.
10. HVAC Excellence Certification
This HVAC certification is for HVAC technicians who are moving to other states or are unsure if their present skills qualify them to practice their profession in another state. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need to get state certification in the area where one is required. Instead, HVAC Excellence certification can be presented initially when negotiating with potential employers in the new state while you work on completing the required certification.
The certification can be granted at either the professional or master specialist levels. Each certification will follow a different set of criteria. The professional level certification, for example, requires that technicians have at least two years of experience in the HVAC industry. They must pass a comprehensive exam covering heat pumps and residential air conditioner maintenance. On the other hand, the Master Specialist certification is reserved for those who have three years of field experience.
Many factors could influence your decision to hire an HVAC technician. These include the skillset and experience of the applicant, recommendations from family and friends, and your specific requirements. While these factors can be considered, verified credentials, including HVAC certifications online, provide substantial evidence of a technician’s ability and knowledge.
If your HVAC technician can present you with an HVAC certifications list, you can rest assured that they have the skills and the knowledge to complete the task assigned to them. These certifications are not readily granted, though. HVAC technicians have to earn them by meeting the requirements of the certifying organization. These could include demonstrating sufficient technical knowledge, passing the appropriate state licensure examinations, and actively participating in different technical training programs.
DunRite Heating & Air, Inc., hires the best and properly-certified professional HVAC technicians.
The HVAC system is a complex piece of mechanism. Only those with sufficient skills can handle them efficiently when problems crop up. At DunRite Heating & Air, Inc., only highly-experienced and certified technicians are in our fold.
This includes our HVAC contractors in San Jose, who are always ready to receive your calls if you’re having issues with your HVAC. Contact us now and see our expert HVAC technicians deliver the results you require.