Online learningA number of the industry’s certification and accrediting organizations are busy crafting training programs that will define the industry’s next generation. Many are quick to acknowledge that technology is, and will continue to be, the leading factor guiding present and future development.

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The majority of today’s HVACR organizations are already offering various training programs online.

With the exception of its hands-on performance certifications, all of HVAC Excellence’s certifications are available online.

“We are continually monitoring and surveying industry trends. This has resulted in the development of many specialty certifications that addressed new technologies before they became pervasive in the marketplace,” said Jerry Weiss, executive director, HVAC Excellence.

“It has been our experience that the technicians that seek certification are more often than not the same technicians that attend ongoing training, and keep up with changing technologies. They are committed to improving their skills and understand that this is a profession not just a job.”

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) representatives said tests are updated regularly to ensure information is applicable and relevant. While NATE continues to offer paper and pencil testing, the organization has seen a number of technicians completing examinations online.

“A growing number of technicians are taking their NATE certification tests online at testing facilities nationwide,” said Dana Anaman, manager of marketing and communications, NATE. “Technicians enjoy online testing because it allows them to receive their results instantly upon completion of the exam. They can also schedule a test immediately rather than having to wait for their proctor to order a paper exam.”

She added, “The NATE technical committee, which is comprised of 20 to 25 industry professionals, follows an official process to update each exam every five to eight years. Expanding the reach of NATE certification, the association is also in the process of developing Spanish language exams. Once available, this will allow additional HVACR technicians to experience the benefits of NATE certification.”

Beginning in June, the Building Performance Institute Inc. (BPI) will pilot written and field practical exams for four new home energy professional certifications. Offered by BPI and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and its National Re-
newable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the four certifications are designed for experienced professionals only and focus on common jobs in the home energy upgrade industry: energy auditor, retrofit installer, crew leader, and quality control inspector. All written exams offered by BPI are administered online by recognized proctors at independent BPI test centers worldwide.

Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International’s (HARDI) Education and Training University (HEAT.U) provides a number of online course offerings selected to fulfill the educational and professional development needs of today’s HVACR wholesale operation, as well as many employees within the HARDI supplier, service vendor, and other membership categories.

According to Emily Saving, HARDI director of education, “Distributor profitability, HVACR systems and components, cross and upselling strategies, leadership, and management are just some of the educational programs we provide. HARDI is dedicated to the professional development of HVACR distribution personnel, thereby giving our members a human capital advantage. We’ve used our understanding of business needs to develop solid curriculums for [distributor] employees.”

The National Comfort Institute’s (NCI) exclusive NCI 24/7 Online University offers an array of training options for institute members and customers. The online campus is updated regularly with new training focused on performance-based testing and combustion training, business leadership training, advanced HVAC training, HVAC basics, NATE exam preparatory classes, technical and soft skills training, and more.

“NCI’s performance-based training, quality standards, and best practices work in harmony with all aspects of a contracting business,” said Dominick Guarino, CEO, NCI. “As members, contractors will benefit from proven technical and business knowledge, tools, training, support, coaching, and systems needed to take their operations to a new level.”

Publication date: 5/28/2012