formerly called just HVAC certification, is for Heating, Ventilation,
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration professionals. This would
be anyone that works with the heating, air conditioning, or
refrigeration in a home or business.
Who needs an HVAC/R Certification?
Generally, anyone who works on the construction industry installing,
maintaining, or repairing furnaces, ductwork, air conditioners,
or other heating or refrigeration apparatus may need the HVAC/R
Is the HVAC/R Certification required by law?
While most states do require some sort of business license to
run an HVAC/R business, possibly even a contractor's license,
you don't necessarily need a certification to work for that
business. Like most certifications, however, having the HVAC/R
certification will usually mean higher pay. To find out your
state's particular requirements, contact your state business
One current requirement in place
is the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, section 608.
It requires anyone who handles or purchases refrigerants to
be certified to handle those refrigerants. This would apply
to anyone installing air conditioning systems.
Do I have to be working for a contractor to get the HVAC/R certification?
No. The requirements for the training programs will vary, as
will the exam guidelines, but you generally do not have to have
previous experience to train and test for an HVAC/R certification.
How do I get the HVAC/R certification?
There are a number of training programs online that will let
you study at home, at your own pace. Or, you can attend classes
at local schools, most of which have some sort of hands-on training
program. In both cases, some of these will prepare you for exams
given at other institutions, others have their own examination
programs depending on state requirements. Some will have one
or two levels of certification, others have five or six levels.
This is similar to the grading systems for an Electrician, starting
at Apprentice and working up to Master.
There are currently two main examination institutions that certify
HVAC/R installers that are recognized by the construction industry.
One is the North American Technician Excellence exam, or NATE,
and the other is the ARI, or Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
How much does the HVAC/R certification cost?
The cost varies depending on the training program you take,
which exam you take, and your state's licensing fees. To determine
the cost, contact a training school in your area or visit a
training website where they will give you an idea of the fees.