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What HVAC Technicians Need to Know About EPA 608 Certification

What HVAC Technicians Need to Know About EPA 608 Certification

What HVAC Technicians Need to Know About EPA 608 Certification

There are many different types of certifications that are available to those in the HVAC industry. Some HVAC certifications are optional and can help you improve your skill set and appeal when pursuing new jobs and eventually starting your own business. Others are mandatory, meaning you are not allowed to practice heating and cooling installation and repair without them.

One of the most important certifications that falls into that second category is the EPA 608 Certification. If you have been around HVAC for any amount of time or done any amount of research into beginning your career as a technician, there is a good chance you have heard of this all-important certification. 

This certification is required for every technician to demonstrate that technicians have the knowledge and ability to safely maintain, service, repair, or dispose of refrigerant-containing equipment in order to help preserve and protect the environment.

Since this certification is so important to every professional in the HVAC industry, it is important that you know the ins, outs, and everything in between that you need to know to acquire, maintain, and adhere to the necessary regulations.

The Basics of EPA 608 Certification

Refrigerant is an essential component in the kind of heating and cooling equipment that is worked with and on every day by heating and cooling technicians. However, over the years it has been found that refrigerant is a major contributor to the buildup of Greenhouse Gases, contributing to many environmental problems including climate change.  

In order to combat the unsafe distribution of this potentially hazardous material into the environment, in the early 1990’s the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took measures to hold those that work with the material accountable. As part of an amendment to The Clean Air established in the 1960’s, EPA regulations 40 CFR Part 82, Subpart F under Section 608 established a mandate that anyone who maintains, services, repairs, or disposes of refrigerant-containing equipment must be certified to do so. 

What Certifications Do You Need?

The EPA 608 Certification actually isn’t just a single certification you need to obtain. Depending on who you are and what equipment you will be working with, there are actually separate certifications available that you may have to obtain.

The varying types of certification are dependent upon the size of the equipment you will be working on in your line of work and the level of pressure the appliances are. Here is the gamut of EPA certifications. 

  1. For servicing small appliances (Type I).
  2. For servicing or disposing of high- or very high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and MVACs (Type II).
  3. For servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances (Type III).
  4. For servicing all types of equipment (Universal).

Achieving the Universal level ensures you are certified in every type of equipment and as well-rounded of an HVAC technician as possible. Fortunately, once you have obtained your certification you will never have to take the test again. The certification never expires and never has to be renewed.

What is on the EPA 608 Certification Test?

The EPA 608 Certification test consists of 25 questions for each of the four certification levels, for a total of 100 questions. The questions asked are multiple choice questions and cover all of the information covered in your HVAC class. 

To get an idea of what the certification test looks like and the kinds of questions that will be asked, you can look at this practice test.

How Can You Prepare?

This required certification is mandatory to practice HVAC installation and repairs, so it is important that you are well-prepared and ready for the test. That is why the EPA 608 Certification is an area thoroughly covered in the Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning’s curriculum. 

In fact, every student who graduates from our training program will leave with EPA 608 Certification along with their certificate of completion from the school. Our program will cover everything you will need to know in order to be successful on the certification exam and will provide you with text materials and hands-on instruction for safely handling refrigerant-containing equipment. You can also find a copy of the EPA’s open book manual here.

Want to begin your HVAC career with a training program that will thoroughly prepare you for the all-important EPA 608 Certification? Check out our upcoming schedule of classes and ask us how to get started today.

Perks of Joining a Free HVAC Class at the Training Center of Heating & Air Conditioning

Perks of Joining a Free HVAC Class at the Training Center of Heating & Air Conditioning

Many people may see a career in heating and air conditioning repair and installation as an enticing and interesting potential career choice. However, the commitment of actually enrolling in a trade school or taking an HVAC class, although more accommodating and far cheaper than a four-year college, is still a big step. For those on the fence, it may be too much if they don’t know exactly what they are getting into.

That is why at the Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning, we offer a 3-hour HVAC class that anyone, even your friends and family, are welcome to sit in on completely free of charge. We think this opportunity creates the perfect environment for those interested, but unsure of the commitment, in beginning their career as an HVAC technician. 

Here are some of the perks you get from joining us in one of these free 3-hour HVAC classes as you explore your options. 

It’s free!

Who doesn’t like free stuff? Free means it won’t cost you anything except three hours of your time. In the long run, don’t you think three hours is a pretty reasonable investment if on the other side of the experience you come out ready to start a new career? 

Let’s say after one session you decide the program isn’t for you. No big deal! All it cost you was a few hours of your time and no money out of your pocket.

Find out if HVAC is right for you

Starting a new career path can be intimidating. What if you start down the path and realize it actually isn’t that interesting to you, it isn’t what you thought it would be, or it just isn’t for you? By the time you figure that out, you may have already devoted a large amount of time and effort (not to mention money) into your career endeavors. The idea of pulling out and switching gears at that point may not be possible or back-breaking at the least. 

Joining a free HVAC class at our training school gives you a chance to get a first-hand, crash-course experience and look at the world of becoming an HVAC technician. In the extensive time, you’ll spend in the classroom, you should be able to determine right then and there if HVAC is right for you without just making a blind leap of faith.

One-on-one with the instructor

During the course of your 3-hour free HVAC class, you won’t just have access to the classroom and the ability to sit in the training for the day, you’ll have one-on-one access to The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning instructor, Chris Walters and his over 40 years of experience in the heating and cooling industry. 

There isn’t a situation he hasn’t seen or a question he hasn’t been asked. During your free session, you’ll have a chance to pick Chris’s brain and get the answers you are looking for as you determine if enrolling at the training center is right for you, questions about HVAC careers, or how we can help you get started. 

So what do you think? Are you ready to get started? Our free 3-hour HVAC classes are the perfect way to get a taste for the education you’ll receive at the Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning before you jump in headfirst. 

Learn more or find out how to schedule your free session by calling 281.580.4239 today.

4 Reasons Why High School Grads Should Consider Going to a Trade School

4 Reasons Why High School Grads Should Consider Going to a Trade School

Graduating high school is an equally exciting and scary time. After graduating, new grads are now free to choose the next direction their path in life goes. For many, that involves going on to enroll in a four-year university and get their degree. 

While this career path is certainly encouraged by many and makes sense for some people, the truth is college is not for everyone. Many high school grads don’t have the time or financial resources to commit to a four-year program. Some simply aren’t sure what career path they want to choose right after college, so the investment doesn’t make sense for them. 

Our world has been somewhat programmed to think that a four-year college is the only way to get a decent job and expect it of everyone, but the truth is not so cut and dry. For those who don’t have the interest, time, or money to go to a university there is an equally rewarding career path awaiting high school graduates who attend a trade school.

Attending a trade school and learning a skilled trade, especially HVAC, can open up doors for post-high school careers that recent grads may not have ever thought possible. Job security, an above-average wage, the path to owning your own business, and much more all starts with attending trade school.

Here are just some of the advantages trade school attendees enjoy as an alternative to college. 

Cheaper tuition

College is NOT cheap. Even attending a nearby, public, in-state college for a bachelor’s degree can cost you at least $25,000 per year. With most of that coming from loans even if you are able to secure some financial aid you are still looking at hundreds of thousands in student loan debt you will be dragging around for years to come.

Some people think that is the price of a career, but that simply isn’t true. The average cost of attending a trade school is only around $33,000 in total. That is less than a single year’s tuition at many private schools. In addition to a lower entry cost, many trade schools and community colleges also offer financial aid to reduce that cost even more.  

Faster graduation

While committing time towards furthering your education is never time wasted no matter where you do it, four years can be a long commitment that some recent high school graduates can’t afford. Some have families they need to provide for right away, and waiting an additional four years to find a good-paying job isn’t an option. On top of that, universities also often require you to move away for the majority of your attendance. People with families to provide for can’t afford to be away that long.

Trade schools not only offer a cheaper means of beginning your career, it is also a far faster way. Where many college programs require a minimum of four years to complete, graduation from a trade school is something that can be accomplished in months. Classes at the Training Center for Heating & Air Conditioning, for example, can be completed in only 14 weeks, just over three months.

Learn an in-demand skillset

Even after graduating from an accredited university with a degree, many graduates are still greeted with a less than bountiful job market. Although they want students to go to school, many organizations are still unsure about hiring a new graduate. The time between college graduation and securing one’s first job can be a long and deflating period.

Careers in the trades, however, have never been in more demand. The world needs professionals in the HVAC and other skilled trades now more than ever. There is a combination of not just a lack of workers entering these industries right now, but a wealth of openings and opportunities. Pursuing a career in a skilled trade like a plumber, automotive repair technician, or HVAC technician is as close to a guaranteed job out of school as you can find. 

Enter a respected trade industry

Not only are jobs in the trades abundant, but a career of this kind also puts you in a position to become a well-respected and valued member of the community. The skills you learn in trade school are valuable, known by a limited community, and mastered by even fewer. These skills put you in a unique position to solve very complex and specialized problems for folks in need.

Not everyone has the knowledge of how to fix a broken air conditioner in the middle of a hot summer or repair their car when they are stranded on the side of the road. The specialized skills you acquire in a trade school give you access to a career where you truly are a savior in the eyes of the people you serve.  

Careers in the HVAC industry can be incredibly rewarding and are in high demand right now. If you are a recent or upcoming Houston, Texas area high school graduate and pursuing a four-year college degree just doesn’t make sense for you, you can still start an excellent HVAC career at The Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning. Class sizes are limited and spots go fast! Call 281.580.4239 today to learn more and reserve your spot for the upcoming session.

Maintaining Your HVAC Certification After Graduation

Maintaining Your HVAC Certification After Graduation

You’ve completed your education and received your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning certification, but how do you maintain your certification? Certification is one of the most important qualities that the customer is going to be looking for, so it is crucial that you have the right certifications if you want to get work as an HVAC technician. 

Certified or licensed HVAC technicians earn their credentials through their studies and work experience. Not all states require licensing, but even in states with no formal licensing requirements, employers usually prefer job applicants with professional certifications. 

In the states that do require licensing, applicants must pass a written exam like the one we provide for our students. For example, Texas accepts a passing score on the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) exam for HVAC technicians in addition to registration with the state government.

It is important to keep your certification up to date and ensure it does not expire. Depending on the type of certification you receive, the expiration date may vary. Some certifications never expire while others need to be renewed every five years

Types of Certifications

There are multiple types of certifications you can receive including EPA Section 608 Certification, HVAC Excellence Certification, NATE Certification, and more. Each certification is just as important as the other because different states have different licensing requirements for HVAC technicians. However, one of these is recognized across all the states, unlike the rest.

EPA Section 608 Certification

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires everyone with access to a system or container storing refrigerant gas to receive certification. Every HVAC technician has to ensure that the refrigerants used in the systems are handled appropriately because of regulations set forth in the Clean Air Act. Some HVAC certifications are based on specific sections of the Clean Air Act, such as Section 608. 

The good news is that Section 608 certification never expires. However, if you lose your certification card, you may have to retake the test depending on your situation.

HVAC Excellence Certification

This non-profit organization was founded in 1994 to improve the technical competency of the HVAC industry through validation of the technical education process. The certification process and the areas of study are similar to those utilized by NATE, though this organization covers the electrical aspects of heating and air conditioning with separate examinations.

The HVAC Excellence certification is really a blanket term for a series of specialized certifications. These range from basic to master-level certifications that require varying levels of preparation. The two more prestigious of these certifications are known as the “Professional Level” and the “Master Specialist Level” and require renewal after five years.

NATE Certification

Being able to obtain the North American Technician Excellence certification at the start of your career can only help your reputation as a technician. The NATE certification shows that you have been properly trained and have learned how to specialize in a particular area. 

With NATE, you can customize your certification to your specific needs or employer’s requirements. These certifications must be renewed every two years. Renewal requires either submitting 16 continuing education hours every two years or retaking the specialty exam only, before the end of the two-year certification period.

Maintaining Certification

The HVAC industry is a growing industry that continues to attract more people. At some point in the future, there will most likely be a surplus of qualified HVAC technicians. This is where receiving your certification puts you ahead of the competition. After receiving your certification, it is important that you maintain your certification by renewing it when necessary. 

Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating in Texas, we can provide you with the resources to become a great HVAC technician. If you are ready to make a career change, be sure to learn more about our program and the classes we have to offer.

The HVAC Industry Needs More Women

The HVAC Industry Needs More Women

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry has long been a male-dominated industry. Whereas there are more females employed as social workers, human resources managers, speech-language pathologists, and dental assistants, men dominate the skilled trades. 

Of the 367,900 Americans employed in 2018 as HVAC mechanics and installers, just 1.4 percent of those were women according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For contractors looking to expand their workforce, a number like this represents a huge potential. There is a need for technical trades, especially as the industry is experiencing high demand. 

With skilled labor shortages, HVAC is one of the most in-demand careers on the market. The job outlook for HVAC careers is currently expected to grow 14% before 2024 – double the typical growth for most industries. This will allow for the creation of more jobs for women which is necessary in order for the industry to survive.

In order for businesses in the HVAC industry to grow and find quality employees for the future, business owners must look outside the industry’s preconceived idea of what a “service technician” looks like. When most people picture the average HVAC expert, they likely imagine a man. 

Challenging the Stereotype

Challenging the stereotype that HVAC technicians are always men is the first step to encouraging women to join this ever-growing industry. Once that is completed, women are often excited by the possibilities. A career in HVAC certainly offers a lot more than your typical day job!

In general, women communicate well, pay attention to detail, analyze situations and solve problems. These interpersonal skills in combination with HVAC skills can really help women succeed in the industry, and these skills can also help the HVAC industry as a whole. 

However, misconceptions about female HVAC technicians could be impeding the overall progress. Some people believe women are not strong enough or smart enough to work in the HVAC industry

Others think women lack the necessary training to perform the duties necessary to succeed. When women are being trained, they are being prepared to do the same work as a man meaning the training they receive is no different from the training men receive.

Women in HVACR is an organization that was organized exclusively for educational purposes to further the growth of women in all areas of the HVAC industry. This does not just include the technical area but also sales, management, and ownership. They work to debunk myths that the HVAC industry cannot succeed with women in it. Just like Women in HVACR, the organization Women of HVAC exists to include and promote women in an industry traditionally reserved for men.

How We Help

Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating in Texas, we invite everyone to study under our director, Chris Walters. For women looking to better themselves and begin a career in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry, be sure to connect with us to learn more about planning your HVAC career!

If you have any questions regarding the HVAC industry and the education you will receive here, check out some of the common questions we receive and our answers to each. Your career’s ultimate success depends on several factors. Of these factors, the most important is arguably your training experience!

How to Study for Your HVAC Class

How to Study for Your HVAC Class

HVAC certification consists of both hands-on work and studying to pass tests. While the hands-on lessons take place in class with fellow students and an instructor, studying generally happens on your own time. Consequently, it can be too easy to let this important part of learning fall by the wayside. How can you prioritize your study time for your HVAC class?

If your current study method isn’t working, it’s time to form new habits that will help you make time to study and absorb the information. After all, the better your study habits, the better your grades will be! Here are just a few strategies to help you study for your HVAC class and get your habits back on track.

Struggling with studying for your #HVAC class? These proven study strategies will help you stay focused and learn the material. Click To Tweet

Make a Schedule & Stick to It

Building a new habit depends on consistency. As you get used to setting aside daily time for studying, focus on establishing a specific time to get it done. For instance, if you get home around 4 pm every day, have your study time start at 4:30 consistently. Your mind will adjust to this new part of your routine. Don’t just accept any excuse to delay your study time–the more consistent you are with your schedule, the more likely it is to feel natural.

Make Studying a Priority

In life, some tasks are more important than others. Schoolwork follows the same principle. If one assignment is due tomorrow and the other is due in a week, it makes sense to prioritize the one due tomorrow. This may seem like a no-brainer. However, if the task due in a week appears daunting or time-consuming, you may be tempted to try tackling as much of it as possible and accidentally let the more time-sensitive assignment go undone. Don’t let that happen! Learn to organize your homework by priority.

Find Your Learning Style

How do you typically absorb information? Do you do better when memorizing data on your own, with a partner, or by listening to an instructor? Experiment with different styles until you find yourself retaining the knowledge you need for your HVAC class. Once you know how you learn best, keep it up! Allow yourself to find the best strategy for your own needs.

Pro Tip: For involved work like HVAC repairs, hands-on practice and instruction is a proven method. A well-structured HVAC class will help you absorb the information you’ll need for your career.

Studying for an HVAC Class

Everyone learns differently, so what worked for another student may not work for you. However, you’ll never know how much you can improve your study time without trying. Try a few different solutions until you find one that boosts your time management as well as your retention of the material. You can pass your HVAC class!

How can I prioritize my study time for my HVAC class?

If your current study method isn’t working, it’s time to form new habits that will help you make time to study and absorb the information.