HVAC certifications allow employers and customers know the level of experience a technician has. There are several different types of certifications, some of which are federally required while others may be required by a state or local licensing board. Some examples of certifications include EPA Section 608, NATE, and several certifications from HVAC Excellence, including HEAT and a variety of professional level certifications.. Most states also require a minimum number of training hours or an apprenticeship.
The EPA requires a EPA Section 608 Certification is required for technicians handling containers of controlled refrigerant. There are three types of EPA HVAC certifications, each of which permits different types of activities in HVAC repair, service, maintenance, and chemical disposal. Type I allows servicing of small appliances, such as refrigerators, window air conditioners, and vending machines. Type II permits a technician to service and dispose of equipment with high pressure refrigerant, such as residential air conditioners. Type III is required for technicians working low pressure refrigerant. If all three are obtained, it is considered a "Universal Certification". and allows a technician to service all types of equipment. There is also a “core” section of the exam. In order to be certified in any of the types listed above, the technician must also pass the core section as well.
NATE offers certification in a dozen different HVACR specialities, including Air Conditioning, HVAC Efficiency and Commercial Refrigeration. To see the complete list, visit the NATE website.
The H.E.A.T exam from HVAC Excellence is used to measure high school students' knowledge of HVAC material as well as measuring the effectiveness of the training. There are two versions, one that focuses on gas heat while the other focuses on oil heat.
Here you will find a variety of FREE HVAC practice tests. These sample questions can help you prepare yourself for whichever certification you are focusing on.