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Choosing an expert in any given field is often a difficult and time-consuming process. If you don’t know what to look for, you’re often left wondering, “Is this company trustworthy? Is this technician qualified?” In the HVAC industry, you can answer those questions by checking that your technician is NATE certified.
NATE is short for “North American Technician Excellence,” which is a large, non-profit organization, founded in 1997 and owned and run by the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning industry. In years past, half-hearted work and less-than-knowledgeable technicians have cost the HVAC industry money and customers. Poorly installed equipment, unanswered questions, and low-quality service were all deciding factors in the formation of this certification organization. NATE certification, therefore, is a detailed training program that teaches and tests HVAC technicians on an expert level.
The pursuit of NATE certification is voluntary and is obtained through written tests produced by NATE. The tests are designed to force the technician to make application to a real-life situation that might occur, rather than having them memorize textbook facts and answers verbatim. The tests cover every area of the HVAC industry, including heating pumps, A/C units, furnaces, and ventilation. NATE certifications are typically good for five years, which ensures that certified technicians stay updated on heating and cooling systems and don’t maintain an “expert for life” title by simply passing a test. Re-certification requires 60 hours of hands-on learning or a retake of the test.
Since this certification is reliant on the technician being able to think for himself, this reflects his understanding and ability to make application on the job site. The NATE certified technician makes decisions based on the customer, equipment, and circumstance, as opposed to knowing random facts that aren’t always applicable. When choosing an HVAC technician, seeing a NATE certification should ease your mind; this technician knows his field.
Looking for the right heating and cooling technician to invest in can be a little scary; however, looking for one with a NATE certification is a step in the right direction.