HVAC Certification

HVAC/R certification, 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 certification.

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 licensing office.

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 exam.

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.

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