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Understanding Required HVAC Industry Certifications Your Technicians Must Have


In order to work in the HVAC industry, your technicians will need to obtain specific certifications. Here we will outline what those certifications are and how to obtain them.


Importance of Certifications for HVAC Technicians

Certifications for HVAC technicians are important because they ensure that your technicians are qualified to work on HVAC systems. When professionals fulfill the requirements, they demonstrate that they have learned the material and understand the concepts.

It’s also beneficial for technicians to obtain the certifications. HVAC technicians who are certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) organization can take advantage of opportunities to attend HVAC seminars and training events. Equally important, a certified technician will make a higher salary than those who aren’t certified. 

The most common HVAC technician certification is the NATE certification. Other certifications that HVAC technicians may need include the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certification, EPA Certification, and Preventive Maintenance Certification.

Let’s take a look at them in more detail.

NATE Certification

The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification process begins with an early-career certification as either a Ready-To-Work or HVAC Support Technician. These certifications are for professionals with less than one year experience in the HVAC industry. For professionals with at least two years of experience, the HVAC Technician and Senior Analyst certifications are most common. In order to obtain a NATE certification, HVAC technicians must pass an exam that covers HVAC theory and applications. The NATE certification is valid for five years and can be renewed by taking a refresher course or exam.

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certification

In order to work on air conditioning and refrigeration systems, HVAC technicians must obtain an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certificate from an accredited institution. The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certificate program typically takes two years to complete.

EPA Certification

HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants must obtain an EPA certification. There are three levels of EPA certification: Type I, II, and III. To obtain a EPA certification, HVAC technicians must pass a course of study and an exam that covers HVAC theory and applications.

Preventive Maintenance Certification

HVAC technicians who perform preventive maintenance on HVAC systems must obtain a Preventive Maintenance Certification from an accredited institution. The Preventive Maintenance Certification program typically takes one year to complete.


How To Obtain an HVAC Technician Certification

There are many ways to obtain an HVAC technician certification. The most common way is to attend a HVAC training program at a trade school or community college. HVAC training programs typically take two years to complete. After completing an HVAC training program, HVAC technicians can take the NATE certification exam.

HVAC technicians can also obtain certification through on-the-job training. Many HVAC companies offer apprenticeship programs that allow HVAC technicians to learn HVAC theory and hands-on experience. Apprenticeship programs typically last three to five years.



There are many different HVAC industry certifications that your technicians may need in order to work in the HVAC industry. Certification shows that they have the competence to work in the industry. Although experience is critically important in the HVAC industry, certification offer your customers an additional peace of mind and trust when a technician is caring for their HVAC system.