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New NATE Exams Will Test Early Career Technicians

New NATE Exams Will Test Early Career Technicians

These two new certificate exams were developed by the NATE Technical Committee.

A recent study conducted by the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation estimates at least 115,000 new HVACR workers must be trained by 2022 to fill jobs due to industry growth and retirements. In response, North American Technician Excellence (NATE) has launched two new certificate exams: Ready-To-Work and HVAC Support, to help HVACR employers hire, train, and develop the best technicians possible and create a pathway to professional development and certification.
“As the HVACR industry braces for a significant predicted workforce shortfall in the next few years, NATE is pleased to offer these two new levels of testing and training to help contractors recruit and retain new talent, including from outside of the HVACR industry. We are proud to add these new certificate exams to our ever-developing suite of testing to support technicians and the contractors who employ them,” said NATE Chief Operating Officer, John Lanier.

Ready-to-Work Certificate

  • This entry-level exam (complete with study guide included) is designed for technicians who are just entering the HVAC field with little to no formal education or training.
  • Focuses on the fundamental job knowledge and skills a technician needs to know to enter the HVAC workforce such as component identification, tool identification, basic heat transfer, general safety, and electrical safety.
  • Can be used as a tool to ensure technicians have the basic skills needed to start on the job and begin their training.
  • Online exam can be taken without a proctor at the technician’s convenience, such as from a home computer.

HVAC Support Technician Certificate

  • This exam is designed to be taken by a technician that has been in the field for 6 months to 1 year.
  • Covers topics linked to the NATE’s current professional level certifications, but at a more fundamental skill level.
  • Provides career-focused technicians the opportunity to advance and demonstrate their increased knowledge and skills to pursue NATE professional level certifications in the future
  • Same proctored exam process as for other NATE exams

As with the NATE certification exams, these two new certificate exams were developed by the NATE Technical Committee, comprised of experts from various industry sectors, including manufacturing, distribution, education and training, and contractors. The committee is led by Anthony Spagnoli, NATE manager of testing and education.

“While the current NATE certification exams are generally for more senior, advanced technicians, these new exams provide a pathway to those certifications via a tiered exam structure. Having contractors on the NATE Technical Committee helped to ensure both exams cover what contractors need of their technicians out in the field,” Spagnoli said.


LEVEL 1: Ready-to-Work

  • One exam covers basic knowledge and safety.
  • Certificate; no recertification.
  • NATE provided training guides.

LEVEL 2: HVAC Support Technician

  • One exam.
  • Certificate; no recertificadtion.
  • Verifying normal operation.
  • Fundamental skills, basic airflow, safety.
  • For technicians that have been in the field for six months to one year.

LEVEL 3: Current Exams

  • Nine specialty exams.
  • Advanced skills in installation, service, components.
  • Current service specialty exams.

Master Certification — Efficiency Analyst

  • One exam.
  • Advanced topics in service, design and efficiency.

About North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
Headquartered in Arlington, Va., NATE was founded in 1997 as the nation’s largest industry-endorsed, non-profit certification organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. NATE tests technicians while others train. Testing validates the technician’s knowledge and a training program’s instruction. NATE-approved testing organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada offer NATE tests. Candidates can earn installation and/or service certification in nine specialty areas: air-conditioning, air distribution, heat pumps, gas heating, oil heating, hydronics gas, hydronics oil, commerciall refrigeration, light commercial refrigeration, and senior efficiency analyst. NATE also offers the International Ground Source Heat Pump test. For more information about NATE, visit

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