Everything You Need to Know About NATE
What is NATE?
NATE is an acronym that is widely used in the HVAC industry. It stands for North American Technician Excellence, and it is the largest non-profit certifying agency for HVAC technicians in the country. While many individual manufacturers offer certification programs for their specific brand of equipment, NATE-certification covers all brands and is supported by the entire heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry.
North American Technician Excellence was founded in response to industry concerns that the installation and servicing workforce lacked a certain basic standard of knowledge. Well-crafted equipment must be installed properly to perform to its design specifications, and manufacturers were concerned that improperly installed systems were failing to live up to advertised claims. Customers didn’t consider faulty installation as a cause. They simply viewed the equipment as failing to perform as advertised.
In an effort to correct the issue of poorly trained technicians and improve popular opinion of their equipment, some of these manufacturers guaranteed a bank loan to fund the incorporation of NATE in February of 1997. Nine months later, the first national heating and air conditioning tests were administered.
Other groups quickly partnered with the organization. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society combined their tests under the new program, the North American Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Wholesalers Association joined the group, and even the United States Environmental Protection Agency soon publicly recognized the importance of the new coalition. By the close of 2001, less than four years after the organization’s inception, there were over 10,000 NATE-certified technicians working in the industry.
Why Is NATE-Certification Important?
Today, there are 21 North American Technician Excellence exams covering installation, service, and level of proficiency. Technicians who will be providing service start with an initial core service test, and technicians who will be employed as installers start with the core installation test. Regardless of which core exam a technician chooses, it must be followed by a specialty exam that focuses on at least one of the following specialty areas:
- Air Conditioning
- Air Distribution
- Gas Heating
- Oil Heating
- Air-to-Air Heat Pumps
- Gas Hydronics Service
- Oil Hydronics Service
- Light Commercial Refrigeration Service
- Commercial Refrigeration Service
- Senior Level HVAC Efficiency Analysis
North American Technician Excellence is the only certifying organization developed, owned, operated, governed and supported by the HVACR industry. The examinations are difficult, and approximately 35 percent of all first time applicants fail to achieve a passing score. The difficulty of the exams lends a certain prestige to those who do pass, and NATE-certification is actively sought by consumers, contractors, distributers, and even utility companies. When work is performed by NATE-certified technicians, these groups know that the work will be performed correctly, that there will be fewer call-backs, and that the installations will conform to modern utility standards.
Even academic training programs rely on the uniform tests of North American Technician Excellence. Industry Competency Exams are now NATE-administered, and these exams are required by more than 300 technical schools across the country before a student can graduate.
Whether you need routine service, emergency repairs, or the installation of a brand new system, the NATE-certified technicians at Conditioned Air, Inc. can deliver the expertise you expect and deserve. Call us today and ask about our air conditioning and heating specials!