Our industry, like many others, has a variety of competency exams and certification tests for technicians. These tests are generally offered in specialized categories of the trade, such as commercial refrigeration systems, commercial air conditioning, heat pumps, etc. This allows technicians who work in only one area of the trade to obtain a certification without being penalized for not working on all types of equipment. For those technicians who work on all different types of systems, they can take multiple certification tests to demonstrate their knowledge on all the systems they service.
Certifications offer many benefits to a technician. First, taking a certification exam demonstrates that a technician is serious about his trade and, more importantly, if passed, that he has achieved a high level of expertise. Any technician who has passed one of the harder certifications deserves to pat himself on the back as well as be recognized by his peers. Some of these exams can be quite difficult to pass.
Certifications can also be used as a self-check. They can help identify areas of weakness or strength and allow a technician to gauge his understanding of the equipment he services. Unfortunately, sometimes technicians will service and maintain systems when they do not fully understand the theory behind their operation and design. This can lead to expensive repairs for their customers and excessive warranty costs for their companies. Taking a certification exam allows a technician to see if he really understands the systems he works on.
Technicians taking certification exams should not do so lightly. Passing these exams without any prior preparation is possible for some, but not for all. Most technicians will need to do some type of preparation as most exams cover a lot of theory. Some organizations offer review classes for their exams. However they are not offered on a regular basis, so technicians need to be on the lookout for them. Other organizations offer various self-study materials that can be used when preparing for their exams.
The more certifications a technician holds the better, especially when looking for a job. They are great résumé builders as they prove a technician’s expertise in specific areas of the trade. Most employers are familiar with many of these certifications, but they may not know them all. Technicians should be ready to explain all certifications they hold to a potential employer.
Certifications are also great for the customer side of the business. Technicians should be proud of them. Some companies award a certification patch for a technician to wear on his uniform. A technician should wear these patches proudly and be ready to explain to any customer what they represent.
There are many benefits for a technician to hold a certification. Again, the more the better, so a technician should strive to take and pass as many of these certifications as he can. A certification earned is definitely a badge of honor.