For a HVAC company to state their technicians are HVAC certified, the technicians have to undergo specific training and then have that knowledge tested through a standardized exam. There are different organizations that perform this testing. NATE (North American Technical Excellence) is the largest one. It is not a legal requirement to be NATE certified, but it validates a technician’s knowledge. This organization began in 1997 with the goal of standardizing skills and testing.
Certifications can be obtained in installation and equipment servicing. If a class is taken in refrigeration, then a technician will achieve the recognition of HVAC-R. Exams can be taken in the areas of A/C, Air distribution, Oil Furnaces, Gas Furnaces, Ground source heat pump installation and Senior efficiency analyst among others.
When a technician can show you he or she has been NATE certified you can feel confident about their skills. There are many online certification courses a HVAC technician can take, but the question is, are they accredited? If they are not accredited, the certification can hold little value.
To make sure you are receiving the best service, insist on doing business with a company that only hires certified technicians, or can show proof of continuing education for their technicians. As a side note, make sure the technicians who perform work on your residence or business are insured, licensed and bonded. If you question the status of a license, you can contact your states professional licensing department to make sure a license is valid and up to date.