“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“9,200-plus what?”

“9,200-plus NATE-certified hvacr technicians across North America.”

Yes, it’s true — there are now more than 9,200 technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) association right now. These technicians are located in every state of the United States, as well as Canada.

By the Numbers

“We at NATE have kind of used the figure of 500,000 as perhaps the total ‘universe’ of techs out there,” said Rex Boynton, NATE president. “Obviously, we would like to certify as many technicians as we can. We are shooting toward 50% of this universal number to become certified.

“The simple fact that we have unified the ACCA [Air Conditioning Contractors of America], RSES [Refrigeration Service Engineers Society] and NATE exams gives us a good chance to do this.”

NATE first launched its combined, revised certification test in the fall of 1999. Since that time, the numbers have continued to climb.

In the first quarter of 2000, the association was running 51% ahead of the number of certification tests administered to technicians for the same quarter of 1999. NATE also had 29% more techs become certified during the same time, compared to last year’s figures.

“March of 2000 was the biggest month ever for us for the number of tests administered,” said Boynton.

Marketing To Expand

“Our principle priority is to develop customized marketing packages for ACCA, RSES and PHCC [Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors],” said Boynton. “Combined, they have 500 to 600 chapters and the goal would be to turn those chapters into testing sites.”

He added that NATE will also continue to work with utilities, manufacturers, and other associations to increase the number of testing sites available to technicians.

With testing organizations in all states (except Hawaii) and also in Canada, NATE currently has 292 testing organizations — most of them being RSES and ACCA sites, said Boynton.

NATE is trying to empower its testing organizations to go out and market the tests. The goal, of course, is to move the program forward and increase the number of technicians certified.

“One of the real strengths of the partnerships with these organizations is the broad location of chapters,” said Boynton.

Onward, Upward

“We want to create interest and demand for certification on the consumer side of things,” he continued. “We’re stepping up our consumer awareness campaigns and have already reached 51 million readers in 30 states.”

A stronger interest in and understanding of the certification among consumers would help to contribute to the success of the program, as well as the success of the certified technicians.

Boynton said he is optimistic about the future, explaining that the association is on a steady, upward climb right now. He expects that upward trend to continue well into the future, moving the program forward.