NATE Certification: A Good Indicator of a Great Technician for Your Building
Reliability. Professionalism. Depth of knowledge. These and more are all characteristics you want to see in any HVAC professional working at your facility. Local reputation will tell you a lot about how a company operates, but there are also other methods you can use to get a good idea of how an HVAC business conducts itself. Professional certifications can tell you whether a company and its technicians are willing to take the extra steps to prove their abilities. One of the best known of these is NATE certification.
NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. It is a nationally recognized training and certification for professionals in the heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) trades. It also serves as a source of continuing education and industry information for practicing technicians.
The main mission of NATE is testing and certification for HVAC/R professionals. These tests challenge a technician’s knowledge in diverse areas of HVAC/R systems and how they are installed, maintained, and repaired. Industry professionals and technicians who hold NATE certification have shown their willingness to take the steps necessary to confirm their knowledge and experience. They can be counted on to provide a high level of customer service, professionalism, and technical expertise.
NATE certification is widely recognized throughout the HVAC industry and is approved by multiple professional groups, trade associations, and business organizations. For example, NATE certification is accepted by major industry groups such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
To achieve NATE certification, a technician candidate must pass two tests given by the organization. Both tests are designed to allow candidates to demonstrate a deep knowledge of HVAC/R concepts, technical details, and practical skills.
The first test is a comprehensive test of generalized knowledge of the HVAC industry. The knowledge covered in this test provides the foundation for successful function as a technician and confirms that the candidate is aware of the basic concepts and principles that govern HVAC work.
The second test covers a technician candidates specialized knowledge of a particular area of HVAC work. The exam permits technicians to demonstrate their ability to work with individual types of HVAC equipment or systems. Technicians can choose which of these tests to take, based on their personal preferences, experience, interests, and specialization. Certification candidates commonly take tests in areas such as:
- Oil heating
- Gas heating
- Air conditioning
- Air-source heat pumps
- Geothermal (ground-source) heat pumps
- EPA 608 (environmental protection/refrigerant)
- Air distribution
- HVAC efficiency
- Commercial refrigeration and cooling
- Hydronic heating systems (gas and oil)
NATE also offers certificates for beginning and early-career technicians with less than a year’s experience in the industry.
Why Look for NATE Certification?
Certifications of any type show that a technician is motivated to learn and excel in the industry. NATE certification in particular demonstrates an interest in proving ability, technical knowledge, and professional expertise in the HVAC industry.
The benefits of hiring a NATE-certified technician is shown through responses to customer satisfaction surveys conducted by NATE. These surveys reveal important statistics, such as:
- Project revisions are 13 percent lower with NATE technicians than with non-NATE techs.
- Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents said they were extremely satisfied with work performed by NATE techs, compared to only 44 percent for non-NATE techs.
- About 85 percent of respondents confirmed they would choose the sane NATE technician to perform work on other projects.
- More than two-thirds of respondents indicated they were highly satisfied with HVAC/R systems installed by NATE professionals. About a third expressed an equal level of satisfaction with installations by non-NATE techs.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on NATE certification and what it means for both HVAC professionals and their customers, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!