Jerry Weis, executive director of HVAC Excellence, said its new Master Specialist program will require technicians to pass a hands-on examination.
CHICAGO - If all goes according to HVAC Excellence's plan, there will be another certification program available before the end of the year. This new certification program will have a different twist. Not only will there be a written test for technicians, but a hands-on qualifying test, too.

HVAC Excellence announced its new Master Specialist certification program at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). To qualify for the title of Master Specialist, a technician must have a minimum of three years field experience and achieve a passing score on the related written professional level HVAC Excellence technician certification exam. The next step will be to pass a hands-on performance test.

"Passing a written exam tells us that the test takers possess knowledge of the subject, but not whether they can apply that knowledge," said Jerry Weis, executive director of HVAC Excellence. "New drivers take a written exam where they demonstrate they have memorized the shape and color signs, and the rules of the road. However, they are still required to pass a driving test, as passing the written exam alone does not mean they can drive. Similarly, knowing which solder to use does not mean that you can solder tubing, pressurize that tubing, and have it leak free."

The hands-on performance testing is still being ironed out, as HVAC Excellence needs test administrators with proper field and teaching experience, and facilities that possess the necessary working equipment. It is currently partnering with several educational facilities that meet specific criteria.

HVAC Excellence plans to train its first group of educators as Master Specialist test administrators during the American Technical Educators Association (ATEA) conference, to be held in March in Louisville, Ky. Weis said HVAC Excellence will be conducting the Master Specialist performance exams during the second quarter of this year as a pilot program.

According to Weis, results of the pilot program will be analyzed and evaluated. The program will then be adjusted, he said. It is HVAC Excellence's hope to release the general Master Specialist program during the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Publication date: 02/13/2006