I am encouraging all of our readers to go toThe Newswebsite and participate in our latest online poll. And while you’re at it, don’t hold back. If you have strong feelings about our latest poll topic, then go crazy. Show us the chip on your shoulder. Bring your soapbox and rant until you can’t go on any longer. This is one opportunity where you can say what’s on your mind and it won’t fall on deaf ears.

So what’s the latest poll all about? Certification. It’s the issue that doesn’t seem to want to go away. It’s also the issue that just about everyone has an opinion on.

If you ask me, it seems as though more and more contractors are backing universal certification. It seems as though they may be backing a very specific certification, too. But, this needs verification. That’s why we need your help.


Certification is one of those subjects that brings out a passionate response in people. For the most part, I would guess that many contractors would like to see a form of universal certification. Something along the lines of the auto industry’s Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Anything that can elevate the HVACR industry is bound to have the backing of contractors, right?

Of course, the controversy begins when the industry is not all on the same page. A prime example of this involves North American Technician Excellence (NATE).

It’s hard to believe, but the industry has been talking about NATE for approximately the last five years. But all of that time has not been a walk in the park. Just ask the individuals over at NATE.

Getting the word out on NATE hasn’t been easy, but it looks as though the work may be paying off. According to the testing organization, a record number of technicians are signing up to take the NATE exam. Even more impressive, test scores for NATE are on the rise. In fact, there are more than 11,000 NATE certified technicians.


It hasn’t always been this way. When I started covering the progress of NATE forThe News, it seemed as though opinions were scattered. For every person I spoke with who loved NATE, I’d find another person who just didn’t have a good feeling about it. More specifically, people thought that universal certification was a great idea, but that NATE might not be the one to provide it.

To be honest, I still hear the same things today. I still hear from individuals who will raise the NATE banner high over their heads. And I still speak with people who believe that NATE just isn’t quite there yet. I also speak with people who say, “NATE? What’s NATE?”


I believe it is time forThe Newsto hear from our readers. If you go to our website (www.achrnews.com), you’ll find a short poll about certification that touches on NATE.

We’ll then report these results at a later date, along with some articles addressing what we find from our readers.

Keep these questions in mind when you take our poll: Have you had enough time to digest what NATE is all about? Were you a NATE skeptic and now you’ve seen the light? Or, are you unwilling to give in to NATE as the industry’s universal certification?

Or meditate on these questions about certification in general: What is standing in the way of adopting one industry-accepted certification? What kind of things would hold you back from getting certified? What kind of current HVACR certifications do you have and which do you prefer?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. The News is not looking for our readers to answer in any specific way. We just want to know what you believe in and why. It’s that simple. And the more you sound off, the more we’ll know what our industry believes in.

Siegel is training & education editor. He can be reached at 248-244-1731; 248-362-0317 (fax); jamessiegel@achrnews.com (e-mail).

Publication date: 06/24/2002