HVAC technicians have become some of the most sought-after professionals in today’s job market. While this is great industry news, it also means that the competition for careers is rapidly increasing.
With more people joining this job field every day, certain certifications can set you apart from the crowd. These certifications will make you more attractive to employers because you went above and beyond.
- NATE Certification
NATE stands for the North American Technician Excellence certification, which is the highest standard for heating and cooling technicians. NATE is a nationally recognized cerification for most heating companies.
While you're not legally obligated to have this title for employment, most heating and cooling companies prefer you have it. To become NATE certified, you must have at least two years of working experience and pass an exam that's created by industry experts. The exam is designed to prepare you for difficult scenarios that you may face in the industry.
- HVAC Excellence Certification
Similar to the NATE certification, HVAC Excellence Certification requires at least two years of working experience and a passing score on the exam. This exam is designed around all trade topics, such as ventilation and residential plumbing. The goal of this exam is to identify the level of a technician’s competency.
An option for a Master Excellence Certification requires a minimum of three years working experience and an extended version of the exam. The more pretigious your certifications are, the greater advancement potential you'll have in the field.
Technicians who are certified have also been shown to receive a higher annual salary and hold job security.
- EPA 608 Certification
This certification is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for any technician working with hazardous materials like those found in refrigerant. While you may not immediately work with refrigeration, this certification could help you move up the career ladder faster. This exam has four types of certifications:
- Type 1 Certification: Required for installation of and repairing small appliances, including window A/C units, residential refrigerators, and vending machines
- Type 2 Certification: Required for the installation, repair, and disposal of appliances that use high pressure refrigerant like heat pumps, residential cooling systems, and domestic and commercial refrigerators
- Type 3 Certification: Required for installation, repair, and removal of low pressure refrigerant units that are commonly found in complex industrial equipment
- Universal Certification: Allows for the installation, repair, and disposal of all refrigerant equipment
Depending on the type of work, one of these certifications may be more prudent to you then the others. Talk to your employer about the best options for yourself.
- HVAC System Design Certificate
A System Design Certification demonstrates knowledge of code requirements and differentiation between traditional systems and digital controls. These programs are commonly found at the university level through an engineering or professional studies department.
These programs prepare you for maintenance requirements, differentiating systems, and judging appliance longevity.
This program requires a technician to pass four to five courses and demonstrate knowledge of software programs. You must also have experience in engineering and a bachelor’s degree.
These courses will teach you about coding laws, design and installation of heating systems, and estimating heating and cooling needs in multiple unit systems.
While obtaining this certification is challenging, it can have a huge impact on your career. Studies found that technicians who had this degree made almost $15,000 more annually than the standard technician.
- HVAC/R Technician Certificate
This certification is also commonly found at the university level and requires 320 credit hours for completion. By obtaining this certification, you prepare for licensing opportunities and entry-level tech positions.
This is beneficial because the certification prepares you for all installation and problem-solving for heating and cooling systems, expanding the job range for which you can qualify.
The course structure is based around heating and pressure then that with safety training. More advanced classes include comparing systems and judging lifetime costs of components.
If you're actively pursuing or considering a future in this trade, these certifications can jumpstart your trip up the career ladder as a highly sought after applicant. Becoming certified also gives you a sense of job security and confidence in your skills. They're tangible proof that you're the best you when it comes to this trade.
If you think you've got what it takes as a tech, apply to work with Warner Service today: