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Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association

NATE Certification

What is NATE Certification?

NATE certification tests represent real world working knowledge of HVAC and HVACR systems and candidates can earn installation and/or service certification in one or more specialty areas. The Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise (KATEs) are the statistically proven job task analysis from which all questions are developed. All exams are developed by subject matter experts from across the HVACR industry representing a wide variety of perspectives and include contractors, technicians, distributors, educators, manufacturers, and utilities.

Earning Certification

For a candidate to earn NATE certification, a technician must pass both a Core and a Specialty test with a grade of 70% or higher on each. There are 50 questions on CORE tests and 100 on SPECIALTY tests. When a technician passes both a Core and a Specialty of his/her choice, he/she is sent a wallet card reflecting the certifications earned or credited, a certificate for the certification earned, and a NATE patch and specialty chevron for the test passed.

If a technician fails one of the two tests, certification is not awarded until the candidate successfully retakes the test failed. The test the technician passed does not need to be re-taken. Tests should not be retaken for 30 days from the original test date to give the candidate time to study and review.

Candidates must complete certification requirements within two years of the first test they passed, or they have to start over. Candidates who do not retake the test they failed lose credit for the test they passed if they do not successfully pass their retest within two years. If two years elapse, and they have not passed both tests, they must retake BOTH.

The NATE Family of Tests

There is not “a” NATE test – there are several. NATE tests are divided into tests for service technicians and those for installation technicians. Each NATE test is a test of relevant applied knowledge. To become NATE certified a candidate must choose either SERVICE or INSTALLATION path and pass the Core exam for that path PLUS one of the Specialty exams listed below:

  • Air Conditioning Service
  • Air Conditioning Installation
  • Air Distribution Service
  • Air Distribution Installation
  • Air to Air Heat Pump Service
  • Air to Air Heat Pump Installation
  • Gas Heating (Air) Service
  • Gas Heating (Air) Installation
  • Oil Heating (Air) Service
  • Oil Heating (Air) Installation
  • Hydronics Gas Service
  • Hydronics Oil Service

Technicians have 4 hours to complete a NATE testing session. Generally, technicians complete the CORE test in about one hour and fifteen minutes, and they take about two hours and ten minutes to complete a SPECIALTY test. A technician may bring a calculator to use (a non-programmable calculator) during the test. No blackberries, cell phones or other electronic devices can be brought into the test area.

For more information on NATE Certification, visit

NATE Core Study Guide
NATE Core Reference Material List
NATE Air-To-Air Heat Pump Study Guide
NATE Air-To-Air Heat Pump Reference Materials List
NATE Practice Test Questions
NATE - What You Need To Know


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