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HVAC Career and Jobs

The NATE Certified HVAC Technician (apprentice) Program (NCT) is a comprehensive HVAC apprentice education program encompassing a well-rounded set of skills used by heating and air conditioning installers and technicians who are seeking entry-level apprentice positions. 


Just starting out as an apprentice in the HVAC and Refrigeration trade, you might not know the importance of NATE Certification.


NATE is an industry-valued credential that proves to employers that you have learned critical skills and that you can demonstrate what you’ve learned. (Show me, don’t tell me). NATE is managed by groups of HVAC and Refrigeration manufacturers. The manufacturers drive the certification process in response to the existing untrained workforce. (Tremendous skills gap).

  • Existing technical skills among the existing technicians and apprentices in the field are embarrassing.
  • Apprentice technicians are needed as soon as they can complete the program.


Developed by a committee of industry experts nationwide, all the NATE exams are knowledge-based, multiple-choice tests designed to validate a technician’s knowledge. Rest easy, the NATE Certified Technician Program thoroughly prepares you for every exam. The program has been successfully completed before you 1000’s of times with a first-time pass rate exceeding 90%.


Tidbit: Your first trade-slang-term is “north of.” Translated, new technicians successful pass the NATE exam “north of” 90% the first time around. NICE!


In many cases, NATE certification lowers barriers to apprentice HVAC technicians for entry into the HVAC and Refrigeration career. Stated another way, having NATE certification sets you far apart from 65% or more of the existing workforce.


Optionally, after completion of the academic portion, you have access to hands-on technical development programs.

  • 10 days of everyday hands-on training and competency demonstrations. (approximately 80 hours)
  • Sign-off from an HVAC professional instructor that you have demonstrated each task.
  • The fee for each optional program varies and is quoted after completing the NATE HVAC Certified Technician Program


The NATE Certified Technician (NCT) program covers all the NATE Core areas focusing on Air Conditioning as your first specialty. The content presented in the program homes in on learning objectives that have been identified by influential HVAC industry groups (HVAC Excellence, AHRI, NATE, RSES, HARDI, PAHRA, and ACCA) as critical knowledge areas for an HVAC technician.


Remember that existing technical skills among the existing technicians in the field are embarrassing. After satisfactory completion of the program, your skills are in demand.


There is a caveat that you usually need to pass a background check before employment. Field technicians enjoy quite a lot of freedom:

  • Gasoline (fuel) card (criminal record)
  • Company provided service truck (driving record)
  • Entry to businesses and homes (criminal record)
  • Exposure to the public (grooming, appearance and social skills)


Considering a career in the heating and air conditioning HVAC field?


  • Existing job vacancy opportunities are tremendous
  • The income opportunities are tremendous
  • The career is long term with huge growth opportunities
  • The NATE Certified Technician training program is affordable and. Most students complete the program in a short time compared to traditional Face-to-Face, in person programs.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the HVAC field will experience growth of 21% during the years from 2012-2022.


This percentage of job growth is massive, filling 200,000 plus jobs vacated by retiring workers and adding as many as 50,000 plus in just 10 years. With this kind of growth, HVAC techs will be in demand and busier than ever. Why is the job growth so great for HVAC specialists?

  • Technology has outpaced technician availability and training
  • Employers tell us that they need far more formally trained technicians
  • New system installations are increasing to meet regulatory requirements.


For an estimate of your earning potential, we suggest reviewing local job boards for the most relevant information.


  • The income potential varies vastly from region to region and according to experience levels.
  • The new technician won’t start at the top of the pay scale.
  • Opportunity to rapidly advance due to skill, integrity and circumstances abounds.
  • Keep in mind that most jobs are not published rather filled by references and perseverance.
  • Jobs are available nationwide with few exceptions. The HVAC technician is in demand and there is no danger of outsourcing the career.


Career Advancement in order of responsibility and income opportunity

  • Installer
  • Service Technician Apprentice
  • Senior Service Technician
  • Service Team Lead
  • Field Manager
  • HVAC and Refrigeration Service Manager
  • HVAC and Refrigeration Training Manager
  • Instructor


The HVAC and Refrigeration career has distinctly different job components

  • HVAC Technician-Provides technical service and maintenance to either or both residential and commercial service enterprises.
  • Refrigeration Technician-Provides technical service and maintenance to commercial refrigeration customers such as hospitality, schools and more.
  • System Installer-Provides initial installation support for either residential or commercial customer
  • HVAC and Refrigeration Direct Digital Control Technician-Install and repair electronic direct digital control systems providing WAN, LAN and mobile remote support.
  • HVAC and Refrigeration Direct Digital Control Provisioning-Provision and monitors the operation of direct digital control systems using software based support systems with the support of field based direct digital control technicians.


We recommend enrolling into the NATE HVAC Certified Technician-Apprentice program.

  • We have easy Pay as You Go payments requiring no credit check and have no fees whatsoever.


Click here to go to the program information page to find out more or to schedule a telephone call with a member of our registration team.