Types of HVAC Certifications
The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry provides a framework for obtaining certification and licensure. HVAC professionals must first receive appropriate training through a combination of apprenticeship programs and coursework from accredited community colleges or vocational schools. Then, they must pass required certification tests as outlined by state and national legislation.
State Exams: Most states require licensing exams to be taken upon completion of coursework in an accredited HVAC program.
National Exam: The Environmental Protection Agency requires HVAC technicians to take an additional certification test before working on jobs with refrigerants.
HVAC EPA Certification Section 608
Refrigerants are a hazardous material that must be handled and disposed of properly. HVAC technicians can come into contact with refrigerants when installing, servicing, maintaining, or repairing HVAC appliances or systems. Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA is charged with overseeing that HVAC technicians possess the appropriate knowledge and certification to work with this material in HVAC systems and appliances.
There are four EPA certification areas, each one dealing with a specific area of HVAC services. Technicians choose which certifications they wish to take according to their job specifications. From an employment standpoint, having more certifications broadens an HVAC technician's job opportunities.
Certification Type I Exam: Certifies the HVAC technician to service small appliances such as window air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators
Certification Type II Exam: Certifies the HVAC technician to service and dispose of equipment with high-pressure refrigerant. Examples include residential air conditioners and heat pumps or commercial refrigeration units.
Certification Type III Exam: Certifies the HVAC technician to service and dispose of equipment with low-pressure refrigerant, for example, chillers.
Universal Certification Exam: Certifies the HVAC technician to work with all types of equipment using refrigerants.
What to Expect on the EPA Section 608 Certification Exam
Though technicians may take any of the exams individually, taking the universal exam allows the test taker to receive one, two or all three certification types in one sitting. The universal exam has 100 questions: 25 questions each per type of certification (75 total) and a set of 25 core questions. Passing any of the individual sections along with the core questions earns a certificate for that area.
If you are interested in taking the EPA Section 608 exam, check with your employer or advisor about administration dates and times.
EPA Section 608