Preparing for NATE certification or certificate exams

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Preparing for NATE certification or certificate exams

eTech Academy has developed a series of exams to help individuals prepare for their NATE certificate or NATE certification exam, designed to build up the HVAC technician.

There is a difference between a certification or certificate-level exam.

eTech Academy offers exams for both certificate and certification levels of training. A certificate generally requires the completion of a training program and possibly work experience in the field, while NATE certification may require longer field experience and an exam. Your actual circumstances could vary immensely and still fit the program. Contact our support to discuss your specific circumstances if you have questions.

eTech Academy’s HVACR exams are based on the content outlines provided by nationally-recognized organizations such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE). The eTech Academy exams are designed to test your knowledge of the subject, not your ability to memorize facts. The best way to prepare for our exams is to study the relevant body of knowledge thoroughly.

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eTech Academy supports the three NATE Certified Technicians on HVAC industry tracks.

The tracks are outlined below in the order of difficulty:

  • The NATE Ready to Work (RTW) certificate for entry-level technicians is an online, open-book exam. The RTW is the simplest of the exams, offering the exam online, open-book, and without a Proctor.
  • NATE, HVAC Support Technician Certificate (HST). The HST is a certificate-level program designed for air conditioning technicians with 6 -12 months of trade experience. The Ready to Work certificate is designed with a simpler presentation to support the brand-new employee. The HVAC Support Technician presents the material in greater technical detail. Unlike the Ready to Work exam, the NATE Support Technician is a proctored exam that can be arranged online or in-person with a local Proctor.
  • NATE Professional level exams (targeted to HVAC professionals) include the Certified HVAC Professional certification CHP-5 program. CHP-5 is a series of five(5) domains that encompass 5 areas of the HVAC industry, such as HVAC system fundamentals, HVAC system service, HVAC comfort and airflow, and HVAC system installation. Of note is how often installing HVAC systems goes wrong in real life. Some employers ask their entry-level installers to complete (only) the HVAC system installation portion as a condition of employment. Upon satisfactory completion of the five exams, you become a NATE Certified Technician, an undeniable distinction among your peers, customers, and employer. You can check out the detailed information page at

The best way to prepare for any exam is to study the relevant body of knowledge thoroughly. Organizations such as NATE provides content outlines for certification exams. Our exams are based on these outlines to ensure that you are tested on your knowledge of the subject matter, not your ability to memorize facts.

Flashcards offered online are not helpful to learn the materials inside the trade exams. Flashcards help to memorize a sample question and answer. The flashcards never promise that the correct answer indicated on the flashcard is the actual correct answer. Employers recognize this mini-trend and quiz heavily during interviews to verify that the prospective employee has the retained knowledge needed to perform the anticipated job duties competently. This interview could turn out to be embarrassing!

Our HVACR exams are not affiliated with any particular organization and are not required for certification or licensure. Suppose you take one of our courses to prepare for another organization’s exam. In that case, we recommend that you check with that organization to ensure that our exam covers the topics on their exam.

What resources are available, and how to know if you’re ready?

There is no single answer to how to best prepare for an HVACR certificate or certification exam. However, some general tips can help you get started on the right foot.

First and foremost, it is crucial to study the relevant body of knowledge thoroughly. This means reading textbooks, attending classes, and (if available) completing a training program in the field. Additionally, it can be helpful to review content outlines from nationally recognized organizations such as NATE and HVAC Excellence. These outlines can give you a good idea of what topics are covered in their exams.

Once you have a solid understanding of the material, it is essential to practice what you have learned. One way to do this is to take practice exams. eTech Academy offers a variety of HVACR exams that are based on content outlines from nationally-recognized organizations. Taking these practice exams can help you gauge your knowledge of the subject and identify any areas that need further study. The eTech Academy periodically presents these practice exams as a chapter or a module exam through the training courses. If you do not pass the chapter and module exams, we recommend that you review the relevant material and retake the exam. It is vital to make sure that you are taking the exam at the right time. Don’t attempt the third-party NATE (or any other exam tests) exam to avoid disappointment and expense until you have a firm grasp of the subject covered by the eTech Academy exams.

Finally, it is essential to stay confident and believe in your ability to pass the exam. You are not alone! Certified Master HVAC Educators (CMHE) are available if you have difficulty in certain areas.

Best of luck in your career!

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