If you’re thinking about studying a skill or trade, you might consider the HVAC industry. At this moment, the HVAC business is booming and can be an interesting skill for those who like to work with their hands and obtain an HVAC contractor license.
Any HVAC technician can tell you what is involved with installing, repairing or maintaining a cooling unit. However, you’ll have to take steps to go from student to a certified technician. Whether you want to work for someone else or start a business yourself, becoming certified is very important to gaining the trust of your customers.
What Does HVAC Certification Mean?
Well, certification means that the person is a professional who is trained and qualified to perform a job. Studies have shown that customers tend to hire someone who is trained and certified versus someone who is not. Moreover, certification also means that an outside entity (usually a state) has approved you with your skills according to your trade.
In this case, HVAC certification will allow you to receive better compensation along with quality working conditions. Moreover, some states could require you to be certified in order to perform any type of HVAC job.
What’s Involved in HVAC Certification?
The first thing you need is a high school degree or a GED diploma. Next, you’ll need to complete your HVAC courses and studies.
Afterwards, you can shift your focus to becoming certified. The certification process involves obtaining a license through the state where you’ll be working. Once you are approved and licensed by the state, you’ll need to get certified. Depending on which type of HVAC career you wish to pursue, you will have to get certified for that particular role. This can include becoming an HVAC technician for residential or commercial structures. The different types of certifications can include:
- EPA Type I – Certification for small appliances
- EPA Type II – Certification for high-pressure systems
- EPA Type III – Certification for low-pressure systems
- Universal EPA Certificate
- NATE Certified – North American Technician Excellence
The NATE Certification
NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. NATE is an organization independent from any other HVAC company or business that makes sure those who want to work on HVAC units are trained and knowledgeable to perform these types of jobs.
The NATE certification test can be difficult to pass. However, those who have studied, trained and have an extensive knowledge in the field should be able to pass it. The certification exams can cover:
- Installation tests
- Servicing tests
- Specialty parts – heat pumps, air conditioning, air distribution, oil heat, gas heat and more
- Core units
What are the Benefits of Becoming Certified?
One of the first benefits is that you will get an advantage over some of your competitors in the field. Moreover, your potential clients will see that you are a professional who has been certified. This can give peace of mind and confidence to your customers. You may also be able to increase your fees and overall profits as a certified technician.
You’ll also be equipped to take on bigger jobs because of your certification, such as HVAC commercial jobs. Businesses tend to pay more for their HVAC services since the units are bigger and more complex than your standard residential systems. Your new certification may give you an edge if you want to start your own HVAC company as well.
The Differences in Each State
When it comes to licensing and certification, each state could have their own requirements. The differences can also depend if you are a technician or contractor. One state could require you to have a license if you’re a contractor. However, other states won’t require a license at all.
For example, states that require licensing or certification can include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho and Kentucky, just to mention a few. States that won’t require licensing are Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and many others.
Of course, as with any laws or requirements, these outlines can change. Just as within the United States, the requirements for Canada can vary province to province. However, remember that it is ideal to have your certification to get the most out of your trade. Remember to check the requirements in the state where you live.
Being Successful in the HVAC Industry
In the end, whether you want to be an HVAC technician or a general contractor, you will need to study, train and receive on-hands job experience. The amount of time it takes to complete your studies and training can vary among six months, two years and up to three years. This will depend on which type of degree and certification you want. Make sure that you consider all available options when it comes to HVAC certification and education.