Technicians in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling industry wanting to gain extra knowledge and legitimacy in the field have a variety of certifications from which to choose. One such designation provider is North American Technician Excellence, which sponsors one general HVAC certification and 11 specialty HVAC certifications. Areas of specialty certification include air conditioning, heat pumps, commercial refrigeration and HVAC efficiency.
Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise
While NATE does not have an official certification study guide, it does offer a number of ways to prepare for the exam on its website. NATE’s Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise is a collection of references and resources for each type of exam. Each KATE outlines exam qualification requirements and notes how many questions are on the test, what percentage of questions fall under a certain category, and how long the test-taker has to complete the test. Additional industry resources and a full list of exam topics are also included in each KATE. According to the NATE website, no question will appear on a certification exam unless is it included on that exam’s KATE.
NATE Training Classes
Test-takers looking for additional help beyond the KATEs can find NATE-recognized training classes. NATE does not offer these classes, which are located throughout the country, but they meet all the same training standards. Various organizations -- including HVAC companies, vocational and technical schools, HVAC schools, industry associations and HVAC manufacturers and suppliers -- host the classes. These training classes take place in traditional classroom settings as well as online and include training materials, books, CDs and DVDs. Some organizations even write their own NATE exam study guides for use in their classes. NATE offers a list of partner training classes on its website.
NATE also offers a list of textbooks and other study manuals to prepare test-takers for its certification exams. The list of textbooks provides the textbook name and author, as well as a link that leads to a page showing where you may buy it. NATE also links to two other helpful study guides, the Refrigeration Services Engineers Society NATE study guide and the HVAC Learning Solutions study guide.
Along with helping test-takers prepare for the test, NATE certification study guides explain the test formats and what to expect on test day. NATE offers two test formats -- pen-and-paper and online -- at testing centers located throughout the country. Test-takers must bring one form of photo identification, a NATE ID number if they have one and their personal identification number assigned to them when they register for the test. Test-takers may also bring a non-programmable calculator but should leave cell phones, programmable calculators and other electronic devices at home.