HVAC, or Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technicians are people specializing in the installation, maintenance and repair of our HVAC systems. They are required by the State Licensing Board (most of the state) and employers to obtain certification or licensure before they can practice as an HVAC technician. Below are important facts technicians must know pertaining to HVAC certification.
Who needs to have HVAC certification?
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, requires HVAC certification to anyone who performs maintenance, service, repair and disposal of refrigerants that releases the chemicals inside the appliance to the atmosphere.
What are the types of certification do HVAC technicians need?
HVAC technicians handling or opening a container with controlled refrigerant are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to obtain the EPA Section 608 certification.
The EPA Section 608 consists of four types of HVAC Technician certifications. These certifications are required before they can start to professionally perform repair, service, maintenance or chemical disposal. However, given the fact that HVAC technician’s duties vary depending on the job he wants to pursue, it does not necessitate one to take all four types of exams.
What are the four types of HVAC certification?
Type I Certification
HVAC technicians, whose primary job is to service small appliances such as vending machines, window air conditioners, and domestic refrigerators, may take the Type I certification.
Type II Certification
HVAC technicians whose primary job is servicing and disposal of equipment with high pressure refrigerant such as residential air conditioners and heat pumps, supermarket refrigeration and process refrigeration, are required to have a Type II certification.
Type III Certification
HVAC technicians whose primary job is to service and dispose of equipment with low pressure refrigerant, like chillers, may get the type III certification.
HVAC technicians who want to service all types of equipment must possess the Universal Certification.
What is needed to pass the EPA Universal Certification Exam?
The EPA Universal Certification Exam contains:
- 100 items of multiple-choice questions
- 25 items of core questions
- 25 items of Type I questions
- 25 items of Type II questions
- 25 items of Type III questions
In order to pass the exam, you need to get a score of 72% on each section. Meaning you need to have 18 correct answers out of the 25 questions to acquire a certification for each section.
However, if the prospective HVAC technician fails to pass all the given sets of questions but passes the Core set of questions and at least one type of exam, he or she will still be given a certification on the type of exams passed. Let’s say, if you pass the Core Questions and the Type III Questions, you will get a Type III certification regardless if you failed the Type I and Type II Questions. You can get a brief idea of exam questions from the video below:
Can you retake the exam? Yes you can. And you may only retake the failed sections from the given exams.
What are the Training and Education required for HVAC technicians?
- HVAC technicians are required to undergo and complete a minimum of six months up to two years of training. Training programs must be taken from technical schools accredited by organizations like HVAC Excellence or (PAHRA) the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating Refrigeration Accreditation.
- HVAC technicians must also simultaneously undergo and complete apprenticeship programs with their training. These apprenticeship programs may last up to four years. HVAC technicians can enjoy sponsored apprenticeship programs with classroom and field training from local unions and organizations like the (PHCC) Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors or the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
Which States require license to HVAC Technicians?
Most of the States or Local Licensing boards require HVAC technicians to obtain certification and/or license in order to practice their profession except for a few states including South Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming.
What are the requirements for HVAC Technicians to apply for licensure or certification?
- HVAC technicians are required by the licensing board to pass a State Exam
- They must have completed the minimum number of training hours from accredited technical schools.
- Some states require HVAC technicians to have proof of work experience including apprenticeship work.
- Must be in good physical condition
What are the other characteristics that HVAC technicians must possess in addition to obtaining certification or license?
- He or she must have Mechanical inclination
- HVAC technicians must be able to comprehend and understand technical drawings, charts, graphs and diagrams
- Must be keen in observing safety measures
- Must be equipped to use electronic devices and output of gauges as well as other instrument.
- He must possess troubleshooting skills
- Must have the ability to use hand tools or power tools
- Must be polite and can work harmoniously with the client
What are the benefits of being a certified or licensed HVAC technician?
Certified or licensed HVAC technicians have more privileges and wider opportunities than those who do not have certification. For one, they can be promoted to supervisory positions, service managers, sales or marketing jobs. He or she can also become cost estimators, system test and balance specialists or a building superintendent.