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NATE Certification: What it Means for your HVAC

When your HVAC system needs maintenance, you want a reliable, professional and knowledgeable technician there to help. NATE®, or North American Technician Excellence® is a nonprofit organization that works to make your wish for a great technician come true.

NATE certifies HVAC technicians through a series of knowledge and experience-based testing, then initiates follow-up training and testing every two years. Its goal is for homeowners like you to feel confident you’re inviting a skilled, informed technician into your home whenever you need one.

On the Trane website, look for the small house icon NATE credential logo under a dealer to see if Trane has verified them as a NATE certified technician.

What is NATE Certification?

NATE is a coalition made up of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ASHRAE® (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers). The organization certifies heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians with a series of tests.

The organization works with a nationwide committee of HVAC experts to develop the NATE certification exams. The committee identifies Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise (KATEs) by drawing from their own real-world job experience and work to create tests for technicians. If a technician passes all the necessary exams, they become NATE-certified.

How do technicians become NATE-certified?

To become NATE-certified, technicians must pass the series of tests with a 70% or higher. There are multiple types of exams offered to technicians, depending on the level of certification they want to achieve.

Before being eligible for a NATE certification, technicians must pass two separate exams: the Ready-To-Work and HVAC Support Technician. Both of these exams are designed for technicians just entering the field and are recommended by NATE to be completed within the first six months to a year on the job.

After passing both these exams and completing at least two years of work in the HVAC field, technicians are eligible to become NATE-certified, via one of two paths:

  • The Certified HVAC Professional (CHP-5) pathway, where a technician earns their certificate by passing a series of five exams: HVAC fundamentals, electrical and controls, comfort and airflows, installation, and service.
  • The traditional NATE certification pathway, where a technician takes the NATE core exam and at least one NATE speciality exam in an area of their choosing to become certified.

If a technician wants a higher level of certification beyond the standard NATE, they can earn their Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certificate. Technicians must hold two speciality-level NATE HVAC certifications (one in heating and one in cooling) to take the senior level test.

How long does a NATE certification last?

NATE certifications last two years, except for the ground source pump heat installer certification, which lasts three years. To recertify, technicians must complete 16 continuing education hours on the NATE website within two years and pay a renewal fee or re-take the speciality exam before the certification expiration date.

Reasons to work with a NATE-certified technician

Knowledgeable and trustworthy technicians

When you hire a NATE-certified technician, you’ll know that they’ll have real-world and educational experience to reliably troubleshoot your HVAC system. Plus, because technicians need to recertify every two years, they’ll stay up-to-date on any new industry-wide developments or practices that might impact your system.

Less time and money spent on HVAC maintenance

NATE-certified technicians are experienced in their field. When your HVAC unit is installed, serviced and maintained properly, it helps the system run more efficiently. So, you can rest assured that after service by a NATE-certified technician, your HVAC system should be well-maintained and running smoothly.

Additional certifications to look for when hiring a technician

While it’s not necessary or required to work with a NATE-certified technician, it’s never a bad idea to have a technician with NATE-level knowledge and expertise in your home. What is necessary when hiring a technician is making sure they possess all the state and local licensing required to install and maintain HVAC systems. Added bonus points if your technician has:

  • EPA 608 certification to handle refrigerants.
  • HVAC Excellence certification.
  • HVAC Quality Installation Standard.

Ready to hire a NATE certified technician?

Check out our dealer locator on our homepage and look for the small house icon NATE credential logo. When you see that, you’ll know your technician is NATE-certified.

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