What Is the Highest Level of HVAC Certification?

There are several professional bodies that offer certifications for HVAC technicians, and since they all offer different specializations, it's hard to tell which one is the highest or the best. The certification you choose depends on what is most common and accepted in your area, what the local licensing requirements are, and what kind of HVAC technician you would like to become.

At first, most organizations might require you to do a general exam, which proves that you have the theoretical and practical knowledge to serve your customers well. However, you can then progress to the master level, which allows you to charge more for your work and take on apprentices.

NATE Certification

The NATE, or North American Technician Excellence, certification is quite common, but for a good reason. It's a great credential for HVAC technicians all around the country, and it demonstrates that the professional has put the work in and studied the relevant topics. In addition to theoretical knowledge, this certification requires technicians to develop their practical abilities and their technical skills.

There are several specializations available. For example, technicians can do general certification plus gas or oil heating, air conditioning, air-to-air heat pumps, geothermal pumps, or system efficiency. This certification is accepted throughout the country, so it's a great starting point.

HVAC Excellence Certification

Another group that offers reputable certifications is HVAC Excellence. There are two options: the regular certification and the master specialist level certification. While you need two years of industry experience to complete the standard professional course, the master course is only open to candidates who have three years of experience and have already passed the professional-level exam.

HVAC Quality Installation Standard

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is one of the most important professional organizations in the HVAC field, and they administer the HVAC Quality Installation. This certification can be obtained in either residential HVAC or light commercial HVAC, and it is mostly focused on the design and installation process instead of on maintenance. This certification includes the use of industry-specific software and calculations.

State or Local Licensing 

The three certifications mentioned above are designed for professionals all around the country, but the standards and requirements for HVAC technicians vary by state. In many areas, there are state or local exams or qualifications. While these might not be as prestigious as a national certificate, they are incredibly important because they show that you have taken the time to understand the requirements and laws in your area.

Do I Need All These Certifications? 

It's unlikely that you need all the above-named certifications. Most people do well with their state license and one or two professional qualifications, which demonstrate that they are highly competent and experienced. If you're not sure where to start, speak to some more advanced HVAC technicians in your area, who can help you decide which certification will be most useful for your career.

In addition to good qualifications, you'll need other skills to succeed. If you'd like to set up your own HVAC business or take over a retiring technician's company, you'll need to first build up a reputation as a highly competent and reliable tradesperson. What's more, you'll need to build up excellent organization and communication skills, especially if you're planning on hiring other people to work for you.

Reputation in the Community

HVAC technicians who would like to build up a good reputation in their community must always offer their customers excellent service at a good price. If the homeowners or small businesses you serve are satisfied with your work, there is a high chance that they will hire you again in the future. What's more, they might tell their friends, local family members, and colleagues about your business, and you'll be able to pick up new customers effortlessly.

Another great way to build up a positive reputation is to collaborate with other businesses, both in person and online. Why not offer a joint referral program or create a social media campaign together with complementary companies, such as electricians or plumbers? Remember, most customers need to see a marketing message seven to ten times before it sinks in. The more present you are in the community, the more likely people will choose you.

Organization and Excellent Customer Service 

In addition to doing your job well, you'll need to offer everyone excellent customer service. This means making it easy for people to contact you, responding to questions and issues in a timely manner, always remaining friendly and professional, and following up with customers after sending them quotes.

In the beginning, you might find it easy to offer this level of customer service because you might not have so many people to deal with yet. But over time, you'll need an organized system, especially once you hire employees to serve some of your customers. Home service software can help you to keep all your customer's data in a safe and easily accessible place and communicate more easily with your staff.

What's more, you'll be reminded when it's time to follow up with your customers, and you can coordinate your marketing efforts, including your website and your social media profiles.

There isn't a single best HVAC certification. In fact, there are several possible courses that can demonstrate your expertise and skill, including the NATE certification, the HVAC Excellence Certification, and the HVAC Quality Installation Standard. To set up a successful business, you'll also need to be organized and offer great customer service. Call us at ServiceBox to find out more about how our home service software can help your career. 

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