When you’re trying to find quality HVAC services, you generally want a technician that knows what they’re doing. Many service companies advertise experienced staff, but how can you know for certain? One of the most consistent ways to confirm if an HVAC technician has experience is by checking their certifications. HVAC certifications can demonstrate proficiency in services like air conditioning repair, installation and maintenance services as well as other important aspects of the industry.

There are many HVAC certifications available. Some concentrate on a core body of knowledge professionals should possess, while others are a result of industry standards for energy efficiency and sustainability. We’ll review key details about some of the most common HVAC certifications you’ll find in your search for services.

Certification from NATE

The North American Technician Excellence certification is the largest program for HVAC competency, with tens of thousands of certified technicians. Many organizations like the ACCA and the federal Environmental Protection Agency cooperate with the NATE program to standardize the certification testing. To pass, participating technicians must reach a minimum score of 70%. To maintain NATE certification, technicians must receive continued education or retake an exam every two years.

Complete certification is a multiyear process made up of four separate tests. The first two are designed for entry-level technicians while the final set of exams provide full certification along with senior-level status:

  1. Ready-to-Work Certificate – This certificate provides core knowledge and skill sets that can supplement any education or training already completed. The Ready-to-Work certification is particularly beneficial for recent graduates of trade programs.
  2. HVAC Support Technician Certificate – After 6 to 12 months of experience, this exam is offered to teach fundamental topics relevant to full NATE certification.
  3. Core and Specialty Certification – After a technician has been in service for two or more years, they can be tested for full NATE certification. Participants will have to pass both the core exam as well as a specialty exam for installation or servicing specific kinds of HVAC systems.
  4. Senior-Level Efficiency Analyst Certification – Senior status is the highest NATE certification offered. Technicians need to be certified in two specialty services—one in heating and one in air conditioning—to be eligible to apply for the senior certificate.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers Certification

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers was organized in 1894. ASHRAE and its members provide research and education about HVAC systems with the intent to encourage sustainability, energy efficiency and healthy indoor air quality. Through their work, ASHRAE creates industry standards with federal recognition. These standards apply not only to HVAC equipment, but to the buildings themselves as well as their other systems.

Many of ASHRAE standards are focused on commercial properties and industrial facilities, as they often have the highest rates of energy use. They’ll research how HVAC system design can be improved as well as how equipment should be installed and serviced. ASHRAE also studies how the engineering and architectural design of the building itself impacts energy use.

Air Conditioning Contractors of America Certification

Another nationwide HVAC accreditation organization, the ACCA stands for Air Conditioning Contractors of America. This organization promotes rigorous training and facilitates sessions for participants to attend both on-site and online. Contractors wanting accreditation have two programs to select from:

  • The Existing Homes Program for Residential Service and Installation (RSI): This track ensures technicians can install, replace and maintain HVAC equipment placed in residential properties including homes and apartments.
  • The New Homes Program: The New Homes track prioritizes designing and installing HVAC systems with ENERGY STAR®-certified equipment for qualifying homes. Random audits are conducted to ensure members maintain their expertise.

Industry Compentency Exams

Industry Competency Exams are administered by NATE to make sure technicians meet industry standards for entry-level (one year or less) experience. These are distinguished from the NATE certification exams but review similar topics. Testing is provided for residential HVAC equipment as well as light commercial heating and cooling. Separate tests are also available for commercial refrigeration.

To be ICE-certified for residential equipment, technicians will have to pass both a core exam as well as specialty courses for services like furnace installation, service or even knowledge of components. Commercial ICE certifications don’t include the core exam and will review all relevant knowledge instead of specialty sections.

Certification Through the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency provides in-depth regulations within the HVAC industry. One of the most well-known sets of regulations is the federal Clean Air Act. Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA requires technicians who work with equipment capable of releasing refrigerants to pass a certification test. To earn the Section 608 Technician Certification, the test should be specific to the equipment the technician works with and administered by an approved organization.

HVAC Excellence

The HVAC Excellence Certifications of Achievement are made up of a broad range of competency tests for different levels of proficiency in the HVAC industry. For example, the Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology (H.E.A.T.) + student outcome assessments are designed for high school students who have completed qualifying HVAC education programs. Additional testing is offered for those seeking employment as well as for experienced technicians trying to get Professional or Master Specialist accreditation.

The Best Service Comes from Certified HVAC Professionals

When you request service from technicians who are certified by organizations like NATE, ASHRAE and the ACCA, you’re giving your HVAC system a better standard of service. Benefits of choosing certified HVAC technicians include:

Demonstrates proficiency and dedication: Technicians who are dedicated to their customers’ sense of comfort will seek out certifications to prove their expertise. When you find a service company in Lansing offering NATE- or ICE-certified staff, you’ll know they go the extra mile to improve their services such as air conditioning installation.

Can help lower costs and speed up services: Professionals who spend the time and resources needed for these certifications often use less time and fewer resources when servicing your equipment. Not only can things like furnace repair, maintenance and installation proceed more quickly, but the faster progress can also reduce labor expenses.

If you’re looking for certified HVAC services in Lansing, consider requesting an appointment with Everest Heating & Cooling. Get in touch by giving us a call at 913-845-9463 today.