NATE Certified Technicians

When hiring an HVAC service technician, there are many credentials you should look for to ensure quality work. A contractor that is committed to excellence will employ NATE-certified technicians. So, what is NATE certification anyway? 

What is NATE Certification?

The non-profit organization North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is an independent association serving the HVAC industry. NATE is primarily a certifying organization, so their primary purpose is to certify installation and service technicians. 

NATE is the only nationally accepted certification program for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. It is endorsed by the entire HVACR industry, the technicians themselves, manufacturers, contractors, and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, ACCA. It is the culmination of years of effort by the ACCA and other industry stakeholders to come up with a single, nationwide certification.

Although NATE is a voluntary certification, tens of thousands of technicians are certified to date, and the number continues to grow. However, not all candidates who attempt the test pass it the first time; in fact, close to 35% of all those who take it fail. This is a strong indication that those who pass are the very best in the trade in terms of skills, experience, and knowledge of heating and cooling installation and service.

What Are The Levels of NATE Certification?

There are many types of certificates awarded by NATE:

  1. Ready-to-Work Certificate – this is the first step of the certification and is for entry-level technicians just beginning their career in the industry.
  2. HVAC Support Technician Certificate – once a technician has worked in the field for 6-12 months, they will have gained enough knowledge and experience to earn the HVAC Support Technician certification.
  3. Specialty Certificates – technicians can earn certificates in specialty topics. These certificates can then be used to qualify for NATE certification or HVAC Efficiency Analyst certification.
  4. NATE Certification – this is the gold standard of the certifications that NATE offers. Technicians must pass a rigorous series of exams and demonstrate a deep level of knowledge on speciality topics.
  5. HVAC Efficiency Analyst – this is a senior certification and is intended for the most experienced of technicians. To qualify for this level, a technician must already hold two NATE specialty topic certificates.

Homeowners should ensure professionals they hire have earned NATE certification. Individual certificates are not the same as NATE certification. You can verify a technician’s certifications on NATE’s website.

Earning NATE Certification

Technicians earn NATE certificates by passing  several knowledge–based tests. To reach NATE certification, technicians must pass a core exam. The core exam is 50 questions and covers topics like construction safety, HVAC science, tools, and measurement taking.  In addition, candidates must take a specialty test with 100 multiple–choice questions focused on one or more of the following specialties:

Installation Specialties: 

  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Distribution
  • Air to Air Heat Pump
  • Gas Heating (Air)

Service Specialities:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Air Distribution
  • Commercial Refrigeration
  • Heat Pump (Air to Air)
  • Gas Heating (Air)
  • Hydronics Gas
  • Hydronics Oil
  • Light Commercial Refrigeration
  • Oil Heating (Air)
  • Efficiency Analyst

What Does NATE Certified Mean to Homeowners?

Homeowners who hire NATE certified technicians can enjoy greater peace of mind and home comfort. Other benefits to the homeowner include:

  • A job done right the first time
  • Lower power bills due to proper installation and service
  • Fast, reliable and efficient service
  • Fewer warranty returns and callbacks
  • The HVAC system will run at peak efficiency
  • Expert advice from an experienced and knowledgeable technician

NATE certification tests take the form of real working scenarios of HVACR systems, and they positively impact contractors, manufacturers, distributors, trainers, utilities, consumers, and the technicians themselves. An NATE certificate is an impressive addition to a technician’s resume, since up to 90% of homeowners prefer working with certified technicians.

If you want to get the most out of your cooling and heating system, call an NATE certified technician and schedule a maintenance inspection. Brody Pennell proudly employs NATE-certified technicians and supports their continuing education requirements. For HVAC service you can trust, call your friends at Brody Pennell! 


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