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HVAC Certifications - A Quick Review

HVAC Certification

Are you considering an HVAC certification course?  The field of heating, ventilation and air conditioning is a high paying one, especially among those for which no four year college degree is required.  In fact according to The United States Department of Labor Statistics, the median salary for HVAC technicians was $43,640 in 2012.

It’s a fast growing and competitive field to say the least.  One way to give yourself an advantage in competing for jobs and increase your earning power is by earning one of the many certifications available to HVAC professionals.  We’ll take a closer look at a few of the available HVAC certifications below.

HVAC Certifications

HVAC CertificationHVAC technicians take many different paths to get to their chosen careers.  Some have taken extensive training, and some are self-taught or have picked up much of what they know through on-the-job training.  Regardless of how you got to where you are today, it’s hard to argue with the fact that an HVAC certification can only increase your hire ability and earning power.   All aspiring HVAC technicians should consider one of the following HVAC certifications:

Industry Competency Exam

Offered by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, the Industry Competency Exam measures the prospective HVAC professionals in agreed to industry standards of basic HVAC competencies.   Most HVAC schools will require passing at least one of these industry competency exams in order to graduate.

Employment Ready Certifications

Offered by HVAC Excellence, these exams are a series of discipline-specific tests that are designed to evaluate and certify a student’s retained knowledge, ensuring that they are adequately trained for employment in the HVACR industry.  Some of the disciplines this series of exams tests for are Electrical, Gas Heat, Electric Heat, Oil Heat, Air Conditioning, Carbon Monoxide, to name a few.

H.E.A.T. and H.E.A.T.-Plus Certifications

Also offered by HVAC Excellence, the H.E.A.T. certification exams provide a means of testing for the scope and level of a technician’s competency.   The H.E.A.T. (which stands for heating, electrical, air conditioning technology) exam and H.E.A.T. Plus are 100 question tests that measure the technician’s retained knowledge and the effectiveness of the completed training program.  The H.E.A.T. plus exam also includes a 25 question core competency portion testing a technician in the areas of computer literacy, safety, related math skills, work ethics and a hands-on performance portion.

RSES Certificate Member and Certificate Member Specialist Exams

Offered by the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, these two levels of certification pertain specifically to refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

HVAC CertifiedCertificate Member level certification requires testing in 18 areas pertaining to the installation and servicing of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.  Offered by the society since 1935, this certification level demonstrates the technician has achieved a comprehensive understanding of mechanical refrigeration theory.

Certificate Member level technicians who are in good standing can then complete their Specialist level certification by completing one of 8 rigorous written examinations.  Each of these exams is designed to demonstrate mastery of a specific area of expertise within the HVAC field.


In addition to acquiring one of the many HVAC certifications that can help your ability to get hired as well as your earning power, many states require licensing before being able to work as an HVAC technician.  Requirements can vary greatly from state to state and within your own municipality.

If you are going to be working in the area of air conditioning and refrigeration, you will be required be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.  The EPA requires that all technicians working in this area pass one of three specialization certifications:

  • Type I – Servicing small appliances
  • Type II – High Pressure Refrigerants
  • Type III – Low Pressure Refrigerants

How to Get Started

Regardless of your area of expertise or specific state requirements, enrolling in an HVAC training course will just what you need to give yourself an advantage over the competition.  To find out more about available, accredited classes in your area, use the search option at the top of this page.

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