ARLINGTON, Va. - The Commercial Refrigeration Manufacturer’s division of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recently recognized the need to identify the proficiency of technicians who install and service commercial refrigeration systems.

With this in mind, North American Technician Excellence (NATE) enlisted the help of AHRI, subject matter experts from across the HVACR industry, and technicians who volunteered to take beta tests, to develop four exams - two that certify technicians in the installation and service of light commercial refrigeration systems and two that certify them in the installation and service of commercial refrigeration systems.

According to Pat Murphy, vice president, certification, at NATE, the 2.5-hour, 100-question exams test technicians’ knowledge of the installation, service, maintenance, and repair of commercial refrigeration systems.

“The exams cover light commercial equipment with fractional horsepower to 7.5, which encompasses convenience stores, fast-food chains, and similar types of businesses,” he said. “Larger equipment that is 7.5 to 80 horsepower is covered in the commercial refrigeration exams.

“The benefits of certification are well documented,” Murphy continued. “Airside tests conducted over the last 10 years show a 25 percent reduction in warranty claims. Evidence also shows that a certified technician can add as much as $10,000 in value to a company.”

Although anyone can take the exams, NATE recommends that technicians who take the installation exams possess at least one year of field experience working on refrigeration systems. Technicians planning to take the service exam should have two years of experience in the field.

“Each exam is difficult and provides a good measure of a technician’s knowledge,” Murphy explained. “We’re not testing mediocrity. We’re testing excellence.”

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Publication date:02/22/2010