How to Get HVAC Certified

On average, an HVAC technician with less than a year of experience makes $53,391 per year. Specialists with 6 to 9 years make $65,705. With this kind of pay and the benefits this position usually offers, you will need to stand out.

That’s why HVAC certifications are useful.

Read through this guide to learn how to get HVAC certified. You will also find the different certification types, certification requirements, and the benefits of acquiring this license.

What Is an HVAC Certification?

An HVAC certification proves that you have theoretical and practical experience in dealing with heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) systems. These certifications also show that you know how to safely use tools and understand how to diagnose HVAC-related issues.

HVAC Certification Types

Depending on what type of appliances or systems you want to adjust, you can customize your approach by pursuing specific certifications. Some certificates will allow you to work on all system types.

Throughout this section, you’ll learn about each certificate and its benefits.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system. They also offer a certificate that helps you improve your credibility in the eco-friendly building marketplace.

They offer two certificates. With the LEED Green Associate credential, you will need to pass an exam. It will test your knowledge regarding green building practices.

Once you pass this exam, you can become an advanced professional (LEED AP). You will need to pass another exam that includes more complex questions.

You can take these exams remotely or at a Prometric Testing Center.

Having this certificate in a world that’s transitioning into green technology will give you a lead over other technicians.

North American Technician Excellence Certification

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is a non-profit that’s a coalition of the ASHRAE and EPA. It offers certification programs for HVAC specialists after they complete a series of tests.

They offer 4 tests. Whether you can take each test depends on how many years of experience you have.

With no experience, you can take their Ready-to-Work exam. With over 5 years of experience, you can take the Senior Level Efficiency test.

Once you have this certificate, NATE will list you as a certified contractor on their contract locator page.

EPA Type I Certification

You will want this certification if you will focus on servicing small appliances. When taking your exam or course, you will need to define small appliances. You must also know gas recovery procedures and safety rules when handling refrigerants.

EPA Type II Certification

To service high-pressure systems, you must obtain this certification. To better prepare you for your course and upcoming tests, you will want to improve your knowledge in these areas:

  • Leak repair requirements
  • How to safely use equipment
  • The reason why you need to perform a leak test
  • How to identify leaks in high-pressure systems

Attending a course that covers these topics will help you understand this subject sooner.

EPA Type III Certification

To work on low-pressure systems, you will need this certification. The types of topics that you’ll encounter throughout this course are similar to the EPA Type II certificate.

Because of the subject matter this course covers, it will benefit you to have experience with working on low-pressure systems.

Universal EPA Certificate

If you don’t want to specialize, you can get this certificate and work on all systems. Since this certificate will cover the coursework of EPA’s 1 through 3 certificates, it will take longer to finish this certification.

Benefits of Becoming Certified

The United States doesn’t have any nationwide HVAC licensing requirements. When you get HVAC certified, you’ll find yourself with various benefits like:

  • Shows you have a range of knowledge around HVACR systems
  • Gives you more credentials than others who are applying for a position
  • Increases your potential income
  • Proves that you have more practical proficiency for the job

Many states and municipal authorities will have licensing requirements. You will need to research your local laws to see what type of certification you’ll need.

How To Get HVAC Certified

Once you figure out what type of HVAC certification you want to pursue, you will need to ensure you meet the requirements to register for courses. Afterward, you will have to obtain the required experience.

Requirements for Getting HVAC Certified

The minimum requirements for getting an HVAC certification are to have a GED or high school diploma. Your local laws may also require you to submit the following information before receiving your certificate:

  • Criminal background check
  • HVAC bond: a surety bond that’s contractors need to operate
  • Your insurance policy
  • Business entity registration
  • Information about your company

You will also have to submit your completed application and fees. The amount you will have to pay varies by state or municipality.

Work Experience and Training

Most states will require you to complete a specialized HVAC training program. You will find these programs at HVAC trade schools or as a part of a college program. The courses in this program will last between 6 and 24 months.

Some schools may offer accelerated programs, which can help you finish your course in around 3 to 4 months.

Once you finish your training, you will need to find an apprenticeship program. This is where you will work alongside an experienced HVAC technician. During this time, you can start earning money in this field while gaining hands-on experience.

You can expect to gain at least 2,000 hours of experience during this time.

After between 3 and 5 years, you can get your HVAC license.

Complete An Exam

Depending on your state, you may have to pass an HVAC licensing exam before you can receive your certificate. You will have to take another examination if you pursue an EPA certification.

Become HVAC Certified Today

Figuring out how to get HVAC certified doesn’t require too many steps. You figure out what type of certificate you’ll need, go through the training and apprenticeship, and complete your exam. Afterward, you submit your business information to your local government.

Are you considering other career paths? Read through more of our guides to find more certifications, courses you could take, and reasons to select particular careers.