NATE certification (North American Technician Excellence) is widely considered to the be the gold standard of excellence in HVAC training and certification. Consumer Reports has recently started recommending that any HVAC work you are having done be completed by a NATE certified contractor.
NATE certification does not have any eligibility requirements – no previous work experience or training needed. All you have to do is register for, and pass the exam. After passing, you will receive a NATE ID card to show to prospective employers and/or clients to prove that you are NATE certified.
NATE certification exams consist of a core exam and a specialty exam. You are offered the choice of a focus of either installation or service. There are a total of 21 specialty exams for you to choose from. Each of the specialties listed below are offered with the focus of installation or service.
- Air Conditioning
- Air Distribution
- Air-to-Air Heat Pumps
- Gas Furnaces
- Oil Furnaces
- Hydronics Gas
- Hydronics Oil
- Light Commercial Refrigeratioin
- Commercial Refrigeration
- Ground Source Heat Pump Loop Installer
- HVAC Efficiency Analyst (This exam is a Senior Level exam – there is no specific focus attached)
As an example, you could choose to take the Core installation exam, along with the Air Distribution installation exam to become certified. You could also choose to take the Core service exam, along with the Air Conditioning service exam to become certified.
NATE does not administer the exams themselves so you will need to locate a testing location near you. Testing locations can be found on the NATE website. You must pass both the core and specialty exams in order to become certified. If you pass one exam and fail the other, you will have 2 years to pass the other exam. If 2 years have elapsed since you passed the first exam, you will need to retake both exams. Once you have passed, your NATE certification will be good for 5 years. You may retake the tests prior to the 5 year mark to regain certification for an additional 5 years.
NATE certification exam fees vary so please check with your local testing location for fee information.
Have you already received your EPA Certification? If not, check out our article explaining what you need to know to become EPA Certified.
Category: HVAC Certification