North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is a non-profit industry certification program for technicians in the heating, air conditioning, indoor air quality and refrigeration businesss. The organization was founded in 1997, and is the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization. In fact, NATE is the only certification organization actually governed, owned and operated by the HVAC/R industry.
NATE certification tests are developed by a committee of industry experts nationwide, and represent HVAC/R topics pertinent to contractors and manufacturers alike. All of the NATE tests are rigorous, knowledge-based tests that help validate an HVAC dealer’s knowledge. NATE candidates may earn certification in one or more SPECIALTY areas, including: Air Conditioning, Air Distribution, Heat Pumps, Gas Furnaces, Oil Furnaces, Hydronics Gas, Hydronics Oil, Light Commercial Refrigeration, Commercial Refrigeration, Ground Source Heat Pump Loop Installer, Senior HVAC Efficiency Analyst.
It helps you know that an HVAC dealer is legit, and knows what they are doing. It is the “Consumer Reports” that helps you select a contractor based on their technical knowledge, and this is important. The finest air conditioning and heating equipment is nothing if not designed, installed and maintained correctly! You would be shocked to know how many homeowners spend the big bucks fixing what was done wrong the first time. Not a good situation.
NATE certification helps ensure the technical knowledge of an HVAC dealer, but it does not guarantee the ethics and businesss practices of the company. We recommend that you still review their Yelp and Google Places reviews to obtain a better feel for what they are like.
Also, a dealer doesn’t have to have 100% of their technicians certified to show the NATE logo on their website. If you visit www.natex.org you will see a contractor lookup tool. This tool shows the certified contractors in your area, and reveals the percentage of employed technicians that are actually NATE certified. This is good to know.
Additionally, as you can see above, there are different types of tests for contractors to take. Just because an HVAC dealer has NATE certification for air conditioners, that doesn’t guarantee they know anything about a geothermal heat pump. Do your research and ask questions to find out more before hiring!
The Find HVAC Dealer search tool will also show you contractors in your area who are NATE certified, along with other information like BBB certified, etc. Visit our HVAC dealer search tool to get started!