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Top 10 HVAC Installer Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top certifications for HVAC installers, including requirements, benefits, and potential career paths.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications for a HVAC installer are important in the job market because they demonstrate that the individual has achieved a certain level of knowledge and skill in their field. They also provide employers with assurance that the individual is qualified to perform the work required. Certification can help an HVAC installer stand out from other applicants, and it can increase their chances of being hired by demonstrating their commitment to professional development. Additionally, certifications may lead to better pay and more job opportunities, as employers may be more likely to hire someone who has taken the time to become certified in their field.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for HVAC Installers and explain how they can help advance a hvac installer's career.

What are HVAC Installer Certifications?

HVAC installer certification is a certification program that demonstrates an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to install, service, and repair heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems. It is designed to ensure that HVAC technicians are qualified to work safely and effectively on these systems.

The certification process typically includes both classroom instruction and hands-on experience with installing, servicing, and repairing HVAC systems. The courses may include topics such as safety procedures, electrical components of HVAC systems, mechanical operation of HVAC systems, system maintenance and troubleshooting techniques. Upon successful completion of the coursework and related exams, individuals will receive their certificate or license.

Having an HVAC installer certification can be beneficial for both employers and employees in many ways. For employers it provides assurance that their technicians have been properly trained in the safe installation of HVAC systems. It also allows them to verify that their technicians are qualified to work on specific types of equipment or perform certain tasks related to HVAC systems. For employees it can provide a competitive advantage when seeking employment opportunities within the field as many employers prefer certified technicians. Additionally, having a valid certification may also allow technicians access to higher paying jobs with more complex responsibilities.

Pro Tip: To become a certified HVAC installer, you must complete a combination of formal training and hands-on experience. Additionally, many states require certification or licensing to perform HVAC installation work, so make sure to research the requirements in your area.

Related: What does an HVAC Installer do?

Top 10 HVAC Installer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to HVAC Installers today.

1. North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Certification

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Certification is a voluntary certification program for technicians in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry. It was created to recognize excellence in the HVAC/R industry by providing an independent, third-party assessment of technicians’ knowledge and skills. The certification is recognized throughout the United States and Canada as a mark of excellence in HVAC/R service and installation.

The NATE certification process typically takes about three months from start to finish. To get certified, applicants must first register with NATE and pay the registration fee. After registering, applicants must pass two exams: one written exam on general HVAC/R knowledge and one practical exam on installation or service of specific equipment. Both exams are administered at approved testing centers around the country. Once both exams are passed, applicants receive their certification card within 4-6 weeks.

The cost of getting NATE certified varies depending on which type of certification you are seeking (i.e., installation or service). Generally speaking, it costs between $150-$200 to become certified in either area. This cost includes registration fees and exam fees.

2. Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) Certification

The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) is an international organization that provides training and certification for individuals who work in the HVACR industry. RSES certifications are designed to demonstrate a person's knowledge and proficiency in the areas of installation, service, maintenance, and troubleshooting of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems.

To obtain RSES certification, applicants must complete a specified number of hours of approved classroom instruction or on-the-job training as well as pass a written exam. Depending on the type of certification sought, it can take anywhere from two months to two years to complete all requirements.

To get started with RSES certification, applicants must first join the organization by paying a one-time membership fee. After becoming a member, they can then register for the necessary courses and exams. The cost of courses and exams varies depending on the type of certification being sought; however, most range from $100-$400 per course/exam. Additionally, members may be required to pay additional fees for textbooks or other materials needed for their studies.

Once all requirements have been completed and passed successfully, applicants will receive their official RSES certificate in the mail. This certificate serves as proof that they have met all requirements necessary to become certified in their chosen field.

3. HVAC Excellence Certification

HVAC Excellence Certification is a professional certification program that recognizes the knowledge, skills and abilities of HVAC technicians. It is designed to ensure that the technician has the necessary education, experience and qualifications to work in the HVAC field.

The certification process typically takes around six months to complete. To get certified, you must take an exam administered by HVAC Excellence. The exam covers topics such as safety, installation and maintenance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. You must also have two years of work experience in the field or have completed a two-year post-secondary program in HVAC technology.

To prepare for the exam, you can take courses offered by HVAC Excellence or other accredited institutions. You can also purchase study materials from HVAC Excellence or online sources. Once you pass the exam, you will receive your certificate in about four weeks.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on where you take it, but it typically ranges from $100-$200 USD.

4. Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Certification

Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Certification is a voluntary certification program for HVAC professionals. It is designed to recognize the highest level of knowledge, skill and professionalism in the HVAC industry. The ACCA Certification Program is open to all HVAC professionals who meet the eligibility requirements.

The ACCA certification process takes approximately three to four months to complete. To become certified, applicants must first meet the eligibility requirements and then submit an application along with supporting documents such as proof of work experience, education and training. After submitting the application, applicants must pass a written exam that covers topics such as safety practices, installation techniques, system design, troubleshooting and maintenance. Once the exam has been passed, applicants will receive their ACCA Certification.

The cost of obtaining an ACCA Certification varies depending on the type of certification sought and other factors such as location and membership status. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 for a basic certification and up to $1,000 or more for advanced certifications.

Overall, obtaining an ACCA Certification can be beneficial for HVAC professionals looking to validate their knowledge and skills in the industry while also demonstrating their commitment to safety and quality workmanship.

5. Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) Certification

The Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving indoor air quality through education, certification, and advocacy. IAQA Certification is a voluntary program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in the field of indoor air quality (IAQ). It requires passing an exam that covers topics such as building science, ventilation systems, environmental sampling and analysis, microbial contamination control, and other related topics.

To become certified by the IAQA, applicants must first complete a training course approved by the organization. This can typically take anywhere from one to three days depending on the complexity of the course material. After completing the training course, applicants must then pass an exam administered by the IAQA. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and lasts approximately two hours.

Once an applicant has successfully passed the exam, they will receive their IAQA Certification. The cost of obtaining certification varies depending on the type of training course taken; however, most courses range from $500 to $1,000 USD.

Overall, becoming certified by IAQA can be beneficial for those looking to demonstrate their knowledge in indoor air quality and work in this field professionally.

6. International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Certification

The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) is a non-profit organization that provides certification and training for professionals in the ground source heat pump industry. IGSHPA Certification is recognized as the benchmark for excellence in the industry and is required by many organizations, such as state governments, to install and maintain ground source heat pumps.

The certification process consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical exam. The written exam covers topics such as system design, installation, operation, maintenance, safety, and troubleshooting. It typically takes between four and six hours to complete. The practical exam tests the applicant’s ability to install and maintain ground source heat pumps in accordance with IGSHPA standards. It typically takes between eight and twelve hours to complete.

To get certified through IGSHPA, applicants must first submit an application form along with their fee. After the application has been approved, applicants can register for the exams online or by mail. Once they have passed both exams, they will receive their official IGSHPA Certificate of Completion.

The cost of certification varies depending on the type of certification being sought (e.g., installer or technician). Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 to become certified through IGSHPA. This includes registration fees for both exams as well as any additional materials needed for study or practice prior to taking the exams.

7. Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certification

The Building Performance Institute (BPI) is a nationally recognized certification program for home performance professionals. The BPI certification is designed to ensure that individuals have the knowledge and skills necessary to properly assess, diagnose, and improve the energy efficiency of residential buildings.

The BPI certification process consists of three components: a written exam, field exams, and an online course. The written exam covers topics such as building science principles, energy efficiency measures, combustion safety, and system diagnostics. The field exams involve hands-on assessments of residential buildings in order to demonstrate competency in the areas of air sealing, insulation installation, duct sealing and testing, ventilation systems installation and testing, combustion safety testing, and other related tasks. Finally, the online course provides an overview of building performance principles and best practices.

In order to be eligible for BPI certification, applicants must have at least one year of experience in home performance or construction-related fields such as HVAC/mechanical systems or building envelope/insulation. Applicants must also possess a valid driver’s license and pass a criminal background check.

It typically takes about two months to complete the BPI certification process from start to finish. The cost for taking the written exam is $400; additional fees may apply for taking the field exams or completing the online course depending on your location.

8. Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) Certification

The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) is an international trade association representing the sheet metal and air conditioning industry. SMACNA certification is a voluntary program that provides recognition to contractors who demonstrate excellence in their field.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum of three years of experience in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry, passing a written exam, and demonstrating knowledge of SMACNA standards. The certification process typically takes between four to six months to complete.

Applicants must submit an application form, along with supporting documentation such as proof of experience, references from employers or clients, and other relevant information. Once the application is approved, applicants can take the written exam which covers topics such as safety practices, materials selection and installation techniques. After passing the exam, applicants must complete a practical test which involves installing a piece of equipment according to SMACNA standards.

The cost for SMACNA certification varies depending on the type of certification being sought. The cost typically includes an application fee, exam fees, and any additional costs associated with taking the practical test.

9. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 Technician Certification

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 Technician Certification is a certification program that helps ensure the safe handling of refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. It is designed to protect the environment by ensuring that technicians are properly trained and certified to handle refrigerants safely.

The certification process typically takes between two and four weeks, depending on the individual's availability and the speed of processing applications. To become certified, applicants must take an EPA-approved exam administered by an accredited testing organization. The cost of the exam varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $50-$100.

In order to qualify for certification, applicants must have at least one year of experience working with refrigeration and air conditioning systems, or have completed a minimum of eight hours of approved training related to servicing these systems. Additionally, applicants must be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of applicable laws and regulations related to handling refrigerants.

Once certified, technicians will receive a wallet card indicating their successful completion of the program as well as an EPA Section 608 Technician Certification certificate valid for five years.

10. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Certifications

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is an international organization dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world. ASHRAE provides professional certifications for those working in the HVAC&R industry. These certifications demonstrate a mastery of knowledge in specific areas of expertise.

ASHRAE offers five different certifications: Certified HVAC Designer (CHD), Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP), High Performance Building Design Professional (HBDP), Building Commissioning Professional (BCxP) and Data Center Design Consultant (DCDC). Each certification requires a certain amount of experience or education as well as passing an exam. The exams are administered by Prometric Testing Centers throughout the United States and Canada.

The length of time it takes to get certified depends on how much experience or education you have prior to taking the exam. Generally speaking, it can take several months to prepare for the exam if you do not have any prior experience or education in the field. The cost for each certification varies depending on whether you are an ASHRAE member or not. For non-members, each certification costs $400 USD; for members, each certification costs $250 USD.

Do You Really Need a HVAC Installer Certificate?

The short answer is yes. If you want to work as an HVAC installer, then you will need to obtain a certificate or license in order to legally work in the field. Depending on where you live, this may involve taking a course and passing an exam, or simply registering with the appropriate state agency.

Having an HVAC Installer Certificate shows potential employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills for the job. It also demonstrates that you are committed to safety regulations and codes of practice, and have taken the time to gain the qualifications required for your chosen profession.

In addition, having a certificate can give you access to additional training opportunities which can help you stay up-to-date with industry developments, as well as giving you the chance to increase your earning potential by becoming certified in more specialized areas of HVAC installation.

Finally, having an HVAC Installer Certificate will give customers confidence that they are dealing with someone who is qualified and experienced in their chosen field. This can be important when it comes to making sure that their heating and cooling systems are properly installed and functioning correctly.

In conclusion, if you want to work as an HVAC installer then obtaining an HVAC Installer Certificate is essential. Not only does it show employers that you are qualified for the job, but it also demonstrates your commitment to safety regulations and codes of practice, gives you access to additional training opportunities which can help increase your earning potential, and gives customers confidence that they are dealing with someone who is qualified for the job.

Related: HVAC Installer Resume Examples

FAQs About HVAC Installer Certifications

1. What is an HVAC Installer Certification?

Answer: An HVAC Installer Certification is a certificate that proves a person has the knowledge and skills to install and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

2. How long does it take to get an HVAC Installer Certification?

Answer: The length of time it takes to obtain an HVAC Installer Certification varies depending on individual experience and educational background. Generally, it takes between 8-12 months for someone with no prior experience to complete the requirements.

3. What qualifications do I need to become an HVAC Installer?

Answer: To become an HVAC Installer, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a training program approved by the local licensing authority. Additionally, many employers require at least two years of hands-on experience in the field before they will hire you as an installer.

4. Are there any online courses available for getting an HVAC Installer Certification?

Answer: Yes, there are some online courses available for those looking to get their HVAC Installer Certification. However, these courses typically only cover the basics of installation and maintenance; more advanced topics may need to be learned through in-person classes or apprenticeships.

5. Is there any way to get my certification faster?

Answer: Some schools offer accelerated programs that allow you to complete your certification in less time than traditional programs would require. Additionally, if you already have experience working with HVAC systems, certain certifying organizations may waive certain requirements or offer exam discounts that can help speed up the process of getting your certification.