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Why Does HVAC Certification Matter?

Posted Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 by Altierus

One of the important fields in construction is heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Professionals who work in HVAC play a critical role in keeping homes and businesses safe and comfortable by maintaining the systems and equipment that regulate room temperatures and control refrigeration equipment.

HVAC is a career path with good job growth prospects. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide job openings for HVAC technicians should grow by 13% over the 2018-2028 period, much faster than the overall job growth rate of 5%.[i] HVAC job growth will be spurred in part by new construction and by retrofitting and replacement of old HVAC systems out of concerns for energy efficiency or pollution reduction.[ii]

As HVAC systems evolve and become more complex, technicians will need to gain more specialized understanding of the processes and chemicals involved with making these systems work. This is especially true with HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants, known as HVAC Refrigeration technicians (HVACR). The U.S. government, equipment manufacturers, and trade associations offer certifications to allow HVAC and HVACR technicians to demonstrate to employers that they have the skills and knowledge to handle this equipment safely.

At Altierus Career College, we offer a nine-month HVAC diploma program at all three of our campuses, with the option to complete an additional three months of HVACR training. In this article, we explain three of the most common HVACR and HVAC certifications available.

EPA Section 608 Certification

HVACR technicians who work with air conditioning and refrigerant systems will handle coolants that contain compounds which have been shown to deplete the ozone layer. Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires these technicians to obtain certification. [iii] This certification offers assurance that HVACR technicians understand the hazards of working with coolants, how the systems that utilise them work, and how to safely install, maintain and repair those systems.

The EPA offers four types of Section 608 certification:

  • Type I covers small appliances, such as home air conditioning units or motor vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) units.
  • Type II covers high-pressure air conditioning or refrigeration systems.
  • Type III covers low-pressure air conditioning or refrigeration systems.
  • Universal certification covers all of the above.

At Altierus Career College, our HVACR program includes coursework and test prep for EPA Section 608 Universal certification, so you can show employers you’re prepared to work on all types of air conditioning systems.

Universal R-410A Certification

Refrigerant 410A (R-410A) was developed as an alternative to older refrigerants which were proved to be damaging the Earth’s protective ozone layer. Used in residential and commercial air conditioning systems, R-410A is also known by various brand names, including AZ-20, EcoFluor R410, Freon 410A, Puron and Suva 410A. [iv]

The air conditioning systems which use R-410A need to operate under higher pressure than older systems. Due to the additional safety concerns that come with higher-pressure systems, equipment manufacturers developed the R-410A certification to ensure HVACR technicians and installers understood how to safely handle R-401A and the equipment that utilizes it. [v]

At Altierus Career College, we teach skills and knowledge for working with R-410A systems that prepares our students to take and pass the R-410A certification exams.

HVAC NCCER Certification

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) offers certification in a wide variety of construction and installation roles, including HVAC and HVACR. NCCER certification provides employers with an additional verification of your skill set from a nationally recognized, independent certification body.

The NCCER exam requires you to successfully complete specific tasks, ranging from the most basic (Level 1) to very advanced (Level 4).[vi] Altierus Career College’s HVAC programs teach skills relevant to the NCCER exam at all three of our campuses.

Training for HVAC Career Paths

At Altierus Career College, you can learn the science behind HVAC systems plus hands-on career skills for testing, repairing, and installing equipment in as few as 9-12 months. Certification examination prep is included in the program at no extra cost. Learn more today!

[i] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6

[ii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6

[iii] https://www.epa.gov/section608/section-608-technician-certification-0

[iv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-410A

[v] https://www.epatest.com/faq/R410A/

[vi] https://www.nccer.org/workforce-development-programs/disciplines/craft-details/hvac

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