Welcome to North American Technician Excellence, Inc. The leading non-profit certification program for technicians in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry and the only test supported by the entire industry.


2111 Wilson Blvd. Suite 510Arlington, VA 22201Phone: 703-276-7247Toll Free Phone: 877-420-6283 (NATE)

Getting Started

Getting Started

While the benefits of NATE certification are extensive, the steps to take to achieve NATE-certification are easy.

1. Select Your NATE Program

NATE offers multiple certifications divided into installation and service, and senior categories. You take the CORE (if required) and one SPECIALTY test to earn your desired certification.

All NATE exams are based on Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise (KATEs), statistically proven job task analysis from experts in the HVACR industry. KATEs represent a wide variety of perspectives on subject matter pertinent to contractors, technicians, distributors, educators, manufacturers and utilities. KATEs outlines cover all information tested in each exam and should be used as reference material.

Anyone interested in obtaining NATE certification may take the tests. However, requirements for each certification can be different and may change as the industry changes. Review the KATE for each certification desired.

2. Prepare to Take Your NATE Exams

There are no educational or work experience requirements, yet NATE strongly recommends you have some formal training provided by an employer, a technical school or other educational institution before taking relevant NATE exams. We suggest:

  • One year of experience for installation technician tests
  • Two years of experience for service technician tests
  • Five years of experience for senior level technician

3. Take Your NATE Exams

To become NATE-certified, you must take the appropriate exam(s) to fulfill your certification requirements.  Most often this means you must pass both a CORE and a SPECIALTY test of your choice. The specialty certification can be INSTALLATION, SERVICE or SENIOR.   Please check the opening pages of the KATEs, (Knowlege Areas of Technician Expertise) to determine the requirements.


CORE EXAM. Tests your general knowledge, construction knowledge and HVACR-specific knowledge in the following areas:

  • Safety
  • Tools
  • Basic Construction
  • Using Basic Science
  • Achieving Desired Conditions
  • Taking Temperature and Humidity Measurements
  • Basic Electrical

SPECIALTY EXAM. Tests your knowledge of the installation, service maintenance and or repair of HVACR systems. Please review each KATE for specific requirements.

4. Earn Your NATE Certification

Once you pass both your CORE (if required) and a SPECIALTY exam, you will receive your official NATE certification packet, which includes:

  • A NATE certificate
  • A NATE wallet card
  • A NATE patch
  • A NATE specialty chevron

Check your NATE Certificate or wallet card for your certification’s expiration date.

If you fail either the CORE (if required) or SPECIALTY test, certification is not awarded until you successfully retake the test you failed. Certification requirements must be completed within two years of the date of the first exam passed. Please note: If two years elapse and you have not passed both tests, you must retake BOTH.