Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology, 8e - 10
Section 1 Theory of Heat
also said that a mandatory certification program would enhance
the EPA's ability to enforce the rules by providing a tool to use
against intentional noncompliance: the ability to revoke the technician's certification. The EPA then created a mandatory technician certification program that mandated all technicians to be
certified effective November 14, 1994.
All technicians must pass an examination administered by
an approved EPA testing organization in the private sector in
order to purchase refrigerant and to work on equipment that
contains refrigerant. This mandatory certification applies to
individuals who work as installers, contractor employees, inhouse service personnel, and anyone else who installs, maintains, or repairs equipment that might reasonably have the
opportunity to release CFCs or HCFCs into the atmosphere.
The EPA created three separate technician certification types:
High- and very high pressure appliances
Persons who successfully pass a core of questions on stratospheric ozone protection and legislation and also pass one of
the three certifications are certified in that category. If all three
certifications are passed, a person will be universally certified.
To date, the EPA is not requiring recertification. However,
it will be the technicians' responsibility to keep up to date
on new technologies and governmental rule changes. By creating types of certification, the EPA allowed technicians to
be tested on information concerning equipment and service
practices that the technicians primarily service and maintain.
Although training programs are beneficial, participation in a training program is not required currently. To create price-competitive training programs, training programs
requested by technicians will be administered by the private
sector. Many national educational and trade organizations-
such as the AC&R Safety Coalition, the Air Conditioning,
Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Heating, Air
Conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International
(HARDI), the Carbon Monoxide Safety Association (COSA),
the Educational Standards Corporation (ESCO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ferris State University
(FSU), the Green Mechanical Council (GreenMech), HVAC
Excellence, North American Technician Excellence (NATE),
the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), and the
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices (UA)-
have developed training and/or testing programs. These programs are specifically intended to help technicians comply
with the July 1, 1992, refrigerant venting law. Unit 9 of this
text, "Refrigerant and Oil Chemistry and Management-
Recovery, Recycling, Reclaiming, and Retrofitting," gives
more detailed information on the EPA's mandatory technician certification program, including details on the specific
types of certification tests and specifications. For a complete
list of EPA-approved certifying organizations, contact the
EPA hotline at 1-800-296-1996.
Technician certification programs can be divided into two
Mandatory technician certification programs
Voluntary technician certification programs
Mandatory technician certification programs are covered in
the preceding paragraphs and in Unit 9. Voluntary technician
certification programs are becoming popular because they are
industry-led and are much more comprehensive in nature when
compared to mandatory certification programs. They give
technicians an educational opportunity from the beginning to
the end of their careers. These programs allow technicians to
become recognized for their level of expertise and also allow
them to achieve higher levels of competence. Their diverse
nature allows almost every aspect of the industry to be covered.
Voluntary certification testing is based on the courses taken for
each level, with an outline and roadmap on what material will
be covered on the test and where to find it. An example of a voluntary certification is the ESCO Group's R-410A Safety and
Certification test, which evaluates a candidate's knowledge of
the special considerations that must be taken into account
when working on systems that contain this refrigerant.
WHy TECHNICIaNS SHoULD BECoME
As mentioned, mandatory technician certification allows the
technician to purchase ozone-depleting refrigerants legally
and work on equipment that contains refrigerant. Some
advantages of having both mandatory and voluntary technician certifications are:
Customers tend to ask for certified technicians because of
their reliability and good workmanship.
Equipment manufacturers develop faith in certified technicians and have a sense of well-being when they know the
job has been accomplished by a certified technician.
Higher standards are set on the job by certified technicians, giving them more respect, recognition, trust, higher
pay, and a higher quality of life in the long run.
Employers would rather hire a certified technician, because
they know certified technicians care more about their reputation, customer relations, and overall professionalism.
Certification gives the technician a status symbol for other
technicians to work up to.
Certified technicians have proven technical proficiencies
with measured capabilities.
Accreditation has gained popularity in the last decade for
secondary and postsecondary HVAC/R programs. Program
accreditation involves an independent, nongovernmental,