Thursday, February 8, 2018

HVAC Certification: EPA 608 Section I, II, III & Core

HVAC Certification: EPA 608


Section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires the EPA 608 Technician Certification for anyone who works with equipment that could release refrigerants deemed harmful to the ozone. To become certified, technicians must pass a certification exam that is tailored to the type of equipment they'll be working on. Determining which type of certifications and exams are required can be tricky to navigate, so we've outlined common questions below to help you get started!


Do I really need to have the 608 Certification to do HVAC Technician work?
Yes, HVAC Technicians or anyone performing qualifying work on refrigerant-containing equipment, must have a valid 608 Technician Certification. Technicians operating without a certification can be fined up to $27,500 by the EPA.

The EPA defines applicable work as the following: "Attaching and detaching hoses and gauges to and from an appliance to measure pressure within the appliance. Adding refrigerant to or removing refrigerant from an appliance. Any other activity that violates the integrity of a motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC)-like appliance or small appliance (other than disposal)."
What are the types of EPA 608 Technician Certifications?
  • Type I: to service small appliances (under 5 pounds of refrigerant)
  • Type II: to service or dispose of high pressure appliances, except small appliances and motor vehicle air conditioning systems (MVACs)
  • Type III: to service or dispose of low pressure appliances
  • Universal: to perform all duties in Type I, II, and III; students must pass all four exams (Core, Type I, II and III) to earn this certification
What are the exam sections like and which ones do I have to take?
  • Core: All technicians must pass the Core section to receive any certification. This section contains general knowledge questions concerning:
    • stratospheric ozone depletion
    • the Clean Air Act
    • the Montreal Protocol
    • refrigerant recovery
    • recycling and reclaiming
    • recovery devices
    • substitute refrigerants and oils
  • Section I: This exam provides Type I certification. This section contains specific to small appliances such as:
    • recovery requirements
    • recover techniques
    • safety
  • Section II: This exam provides Type II certification. This section contains questions specific to high pressure appliances such as:
    • leak detection
    • leak repair requirements
    • recovery techniques
    • refrigeration
    • safety
  • Section III: This exam provides Type III certification. This section contains questions specific to low pressure appliances such as:
    • leak detection
    • leak repair requirements
    • recovery techniques
    • recharging techniques
    • recovery requirements
    • refrigeration
    • safety
I only want my Type III exam to work on low pressure appliances. Do I need to take Type I and Type II?
No, depending on the trainer, students are allowed to choose which section exam they want to complete. However, students must pass the Core exam in order to receive any certification.

If I take all four exams to get a Universal Certification and fail one, do I have to take every exam over?
No, but this accommodation depends on the trainer. Students may retake the failed exam and be certified for the sections they past; however, students must pass the Core section to receive any certification.

I heard these exams are open-book. Is that true?
The Core and Section I exams can be taken open-book and without an exam proctor through approved providers; Section II and Section III are closed-book exams by EPA law. The only outside materials allowed for Type II and Type III are a temperature/pressure chart and a calculator.

Where do I take my exam?
You can take the exam online if you have a computer with a webcam, or in-person at a predetermined testing site. The exam must be administered by an EPA-approved organization.

Once I'm certified, do I need to take a refresher course?
No, the EPA 608 Certification does not expire. If you need to replace your card, visit the EPA website for instructions.

Are there any pre-requisites?
No, there are no pre-requisites to sit for the 608 Certification exams.
Field experience and additional training will most likely be required to attain a job in the HVAC field, although often on-the-job training or apprenticeships are available.

Now that you've decided which certification is right for your career and which exam will get you there, don't forget to to think about how to prepare for the exam. While it's possible to just take the exams, most students perform better if they take a prep course. Officially organized prep courses are taught to EPA standards and are the best way to guarantee students will know what's on the exam.

For students who choose to do it on their own, it's recommended to brush up on the exam topics listed above. Making flashcards, creating outlines of study text and even seeking hands-on training from employers can help reinforce these topics.

HVAC certification doesn't have to be confusing - learn more about getting certified today.

For those looking for a more in-depth program for HVAC certification, check out the HVAC Maintenance Technician Online Certification program, which includes the EPA 608 exams in addition furnace maintenance, air conditioning maintenance and basic electricity education.

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