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NATE FAQS

Who is NATE?

North American Technician Excellence (NATE), headquartered in Arlington, VA, was founded in 1997 and is the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. NATE is the only technician certification organization governed, owned, operated, developed and supported by the HVACR industry.

What does NATE do?

NATE offers certification tests for installation and/or service in one or more specialty areas.

Who creates the NATE exams?

The NATE Technical Committee, comprised of industry experts nationwide, oversees the Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise (KATEs) and all test development. KATEs are statistically proven job task analysis from which all questions are developed

Who can take NATE certification exams?

Anyone interested in obtaining NATE certification may take the tests by contacting a NATE-certified testing organization and paying the appropriate testing fees.

Are there educational or work experience requirements needed prior to taking exams?

No. NATE tests assess a candidate’s applied knowledge of their field. Although there are no formal educational requirements for certification, NATE strongly suggests that examinees have some formal training provided by an employer, a technical school or other educational institution.

We recommend candidates have the following work experience as well as some experience with equipment in their SPECIALTY:

  • One year of experience for installation technician tests
  • Two years of experience for service technician tests
  • Five years of experience for senior level technician

What tests should I take and what is covered?

To become NATE-certified, you must pass both the CORE exam (if required) and a SPECIALTY exam of your choice. The specialty certification will be in either INSTALLATION or SERVICE.

The CORE test covers a candidate’s general knowledge, construction knowledge and HVAC/R specific knowledge. SPECIALTY exams cover a candidate’s knowledge of the installation, service maintenance and/or repair of HVAC/R systems. Please review each KATE for specific requirements.

Why is NATE changing its certification policy?

We understand that with increasing demand on technicians’ personal and professional time, we must adapt in order to continue to be of value to HVACR technicians and the industry. To that end, we reviewed our policies, asked technicians and industry stakeholders what we can do to make NATE better, and thus made changes to the certification duration, CEH requirements, and costs, based on that feedback.

When did this change begin?

January 1, 2014

How long does NATE certification last?

As of January 2014, NATE certifications last 2 years, except for the the Ground Source Heat Pump Loop Installer certification that lasts 3 years. Please check the KATEs page for your certification’s length. You can also check your certificate or wallet card for the exact expiration month.

What happens at the end of my certification?

To maintain NATE certification, you simply earn 16 hours of specialty-related continuing education (CEHs) within the two-year period. If you choose to use continuing education hours to maintain certification, you must document your CEHs and submit an application for recertification. Or you may choose to retake your specialty exam before certification lapses.

I recently became NATE-certified (or recertified) prior to January 2014. Does my period of certification now change from 5 years to 2 years?

No. If you earned NATE certification or recertified prior to January 2014, your current certification(s) will complete the previously awarded five-year duration. This includes those who successfully passed the NATE Core exam and at least one specialty exam in 2013, regardless of the exam processing date. Upon your maintenance date, when it is time for you to apply to maintain your certifications, you would renew for a two-year certification.

My certification ends in 2014 and I have already earned 60 hours of CEH. If I only now need 16 hours, can I use the extra hours towards my next recertification?

Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) must be earned during your current certification cycle to apply to your recertification. Hours earned in previous cycles cannot be used. However, if NATE certifications expire in 2014 and 60 CEHs are earned, you as the technician, have the one-time option to maintain certification for a five-year certification period for $95 (plus varying fees for additional certifications) or to transition to the new two-year certification period for $25 (plus $5 per any additional certification).

If a technician chooses the five-year certification period, upon the maintenance date in 2019, the technician will automatically transition to the two-year certification period.

 

My certification expired in late 2013 and I am still in my grace period. What do these changes mean for me?

If your certification(s) expired in November or December 2013 and you are retesting in January or February 2014 per the previously allowed 60-day grace period, you will be granted a five-year certification if you successfully pass the exam(s). Upon your maintenance date, when it is time for you to apply to maintain your certifications, you would renew for a two-year certification.

How can I find out how many continuing education credits I have on file with NATE?

To view how many continuing education credits you have on file with NATE, click on My NATE at the top right corner of the home page and then follow the instructions to create a login using your NATE ID and PIN.

Do I need to submit documentation for courses that are already tracked on myNATE?

No, NATE Recognized Training Providers should submit attendance records to NATE, which are then automatically added to your record (you must provide NATE ID on the attendance sheet). Please remind them to do so. Documentation submitted with your recertification application is only for courses NATE has not tracked. You can find NATE Recognized Training Providers at www.natex.org/train

What will NATE accept as documentation for continuing education hours?

NATE requires written documentation that you attended a course. A certification of completion generally works best. NATE will need to know the course name/topic, who you took the course with, the date of the course, and the length of the course.

What do I do if the instructor doesn’t give out certificates of completion?

You can use NATE’s Continuing Education Hours Attendance Form. You can complete this form and have the instructor of the training course sign it and submit to NATE.

What is a NATE C3 contractor?

While NATE certification is reserved exclusively for individual technicians, NATE allows contractors of all sizes to participate in the free NATE Consumer Contractor Connection (NATE C3) program. To qualify, a contractor must have at least 50 percent of technicians employed with NATE certifications. Those contractors with at least 80 percent of technicians with NATE certifications are listed as NATE Quality Circle Contractors.

How do I get my company listed on NATE C3?

The first step is to get your technicians certified. Once 50 percent of your technicians have passed the NATE exams and have received their NATE ID, you may be considered for NATE C3 Contractor status and be eligible to display the NATE logo and list your organization in NATE’s Consumer Contractor Connection. Additionally, NATE produces and makes available to you a variety of free contractor marketing materials.

Who can offer NATE testing?

Any association, business or enterprise can sign up to be a NATE Testing Organization, including:

  • Manufacturers
  • Wholesalers/distributors
  • Educators, trainers, colleges, technical schools
  • Contractors
  • Utilities
  • Association partners and trade association chapters

What is the criteria for becoming a NATE Testing Organization?

Any organization applying to be a testing organization (TO) must agree in writing to follow the Policies and Procedures outlined for TOs and proctors and must have a minimum of one NATE-recognized proctor.

Who can be A NATE proctor?

Any person who is a member of the testing organization, conscientious and a good administrator can be a proctor. You or your designee does not have to be technical, nor do you have to hold NATE Certification. You DO need to be approved by NATE. Proctors can be HVAC/R Trainers, but they cannot proctor the exams for technicians they have personally trained.

What preparatory materials will the proctor receive?

The Testing Organization’s designated proctor will receive a packet of tests and materials from NATE/VGI Testing Services at least three working days before the test session. The package will contain the Proctor Master Pack plus all of the exam materials needed by your examinees.

A Proctor Master Pack contains:

  • A checklist to use before and during the testing session
  • A script to use during the testing session
  • Extra envelopes and seals to secure the return of completed exams
  • Extra  answer sheets
  • Extra comment sheets/scratch paper
  • A Test Session Audit Form, to be completed by the proctor and returned with the exams from that session
  • Proctor Materials Packet return envelope
  • An 800 number in the event you have a question during a test session

If your Proctor Master Pack is incomplete in anyway, call NATE/VGI Testing Services at (800) 886-4109 (TEST) during business hours.

Can my organization use purchase orders?

If your organization works with purchase orders, be certain that you have acquired an approved purchase order before ordering NATE tests or giving an online test.

Please do not fax the purchase order to VGI or to NATE. You need to put the purchase order number on the Test Transmittal Form when returning exams for processing. When giving an online exam, record your purchase order number in the Proctor Setup section.

How do I set up billing?

The Test Transmittal Form includes billing information. If your organization requires a PO number to order tests, please include this number on the transmittal form. The other two payment options are:

  • Enclose a check for the number of tests that were used.
  • Give authorization to charge the credit card on file. To put a credit card on file please call VGI. The number is (817) 640-8333 X-200.

How can I get a replacement wallet card or certificate?

To obtain a replacement wallet card or certificate you can visit the NATE online store.

How can I purchase additional marketing merchandise?

The NATE Online Store offers a wide variety of merchandise to help industry professionals enhance their image.  Available products include NATE-certified uniform patches, chevrons, quality shirts and hats, decals for company cars, NATE banners and customizable leave-behind appliance stickers.

If, after reviewing our FAQ’s, you have not found the information you are seeking, please contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.