Heating and Air Conditioning Certification Requirements
Heating and air conditioning certification is independent from licensing, which varies from state to state and city to city. Certification organizations operate with industry-wide standards to give technicians a foundation of excellence at which to operate.
Heating and Air Conditioning Certification and Licensing Standards
There is no uniform licensing standard for heating and air conditioning employees in the United States. HVAC technicians don't have to be licensed in every state and locality. Licensing may be done by states, counties or cities and is not necessarily valid from one area to another. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov), states that have regulated licensure may require students to graduate from a technical school or apprenticeship program. These programs offer prospective heating and air conditioning professionals an opportunity to learn about state regulations and codes. In some states, only the electrical and plumbing work in heating and air conditioning are regulated, and counties and cities are left to determine their own standards and licensing requirements in these areas.
Because of the lack of uniform licensing, several certification organizations have developed a specific standard of quality for professionals in the heating and air conditioning field. There are optional certifications available to companies and individuals that demonstrate their commitment to excellence in heating, ventilation, air conditioning or refrigeration.
There are several organizations that offer certification for heating and air conditioning professionals, including the HVAC Excellence, (www.hvacexcellence.org), the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute, (www.nocti.org), the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (www.rses.org) and North American Technician Excellence (www.natex.org).
HVAC Excellence offers two types of certifications. The first one offers certification in various core areas, such as residential air conditioning, commercial air conditioning, heat pumps, combustion analysis and oil and gas heat, while the other is a master specialist hands-on certification that covers many areas within the HVAC field.
The National Occupational Competency Testing Institute offers four competency certifications through the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association Educational Foundation.
The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society offers Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification, which is required to handle various types of refrigerants. There are several trade schools, employer associations and unions that offer programs geared towards the EPA exam.
North American Technician Excellence offers 21 installation, service and senior examinations. The specialty fields covered by these exams include areas such as air conditioning, heat pumps, gas and oil furnaces, commercial refrigeration and senior HVAC efficiency.
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