If you’re already working as an HVAC technician, you know what an enjoyable and rewarding career it can be. One of the best things about being in this line of work is that there are always ways that you can propel your career forward.
For example, if you’ve been working as an HVAC technician for at least two years and already have your NATE certification, the NATE Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification should be your next goal.
The Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification is one of the best ways to take your career to the next level as an HVAC technician. Getting it will help to set yourself apart from the thousands of other technicians who have resumes similar to your own.
What the NATE Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification is & who should get it
The North American Training Excellence, better known as NATE, is one of the industry leaders in the HVAC world in terms of teaching, training, and producing HVAC professionals. Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned expert, there is likely a NATE Certification that is relevant to your experience.
The Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification is a NATE certification for HVAC veterans with a minimum of two years of experience.
To get the certification, you’ll have to pass a difficult test that revolves around the energy efficiency of various HVAC systems. The goal is to gauge your knowledge when it comes to installing, repairing, and maintaining systems so that they’re as efficient as possible.
Who is the NATE Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification for?
The exam and certification are for professionals who want to take their careers to the next level. You should take it if you’re serious about making HVAC work a long-term career and you want to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.
Being able to list the Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification on your résumé will definitely help you stand out with prospective employers. It could also result in a higher salary for you as an HVAC technician.
What’s on the NATE Senior Level Efficiency Analyst exam?
Passing the Senior Level Efficiency Analyst exam isn’t going to be a cakewalk. It’s a difficult test that’s long, arduous, and will greatly test your knowledge about HVAC systems’ efficiency.
Here’s a breakdown of the various test sections:
- Load Calculation (15%). This section will test your knowledge about the optimal amount of BTUs are for various rooms and spaces.
- Equipment Selection (10%). This section will determine if you know the right systems, tools, ducts, and materials to use in order to deliver the perfect amount of air to various spaces.
- Air Distribution (20%). This section will test whether or not you understand how air distribution works and how to deliver it evenly to an entire house or building.
- Hydronic Distribution (7%). This section covers everything about hydronic or water-powered HVAC systems like boilers and radiant floor heating.
- System Performance (35%). In terms of having the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, it all comes back to how well the system performs.
- Indoor Air/Environment Quality (7%). This section will test your knowledge about how to maintain indoor air quality for systems that you work on, which goes hand in hand with efficiency.
- Planned Maintenance (6%). This section will go over how to maintain various types of HVAC systems in order to keep optimal performance.
The Senior Level Efficiency exam is four hours long and consists of 100 questions. It’s an open-book exam and you’ll have to answer 75 of the 100 questions correctly to get a passing score of 75%.
How to get your NATE Senior Level HVAC Efficiency Analyst certification
While the Senior Level HVAC Efficiency Analyst exam is a difficult one, finding ways to take it isn’t.
If you want to go the online route, create an account on the NATE site. Order your exam and take it online while being proctored by NATE's online proctors.
If you want to take it in-person, enter your ZIP code in NATE’s Locate a Testing Organization tool and contact the company or go to its site to learn more.
Prerequisites to Take the Exam
The Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification exam is not for beginners. In order to qualify for it, you must have at least two years of experience working as an HVAC technician.
You also must also hold at least two other NATE Service Sector Specialties certifications in any of the following categories:
- Air Conditioning
- Air Distribution
- Gas Heating
- Heat Pump
- Oil Heating
- Hydronics Gas
- Hydronics Oil
It’s also worth noting that in addition to two of these certifications, you must also have your main NATE certification. It's important that you maintain your NATE certifications once you get them. Most certifications expire every two years, which means you'll have to renew them periodically.
However, renewing them is much easier than getting them in the first place, as long as you don’t let them expire. Therefore, make sure to take your Senior Level Efficiency Analyst exam before your other certifications have expired.
How to find help preparing for the NATE Senior Level HVAC Efficiency Analyst exam
If you hope to successfully pass your NATE Senior Level Efficiency Analyst exam, study and preparation are extremely important. Here are a few of the best ways to prepare for this exam:
- Study Guides. NATE gives you a complementary study guide when you sign up for the test that serves as a good foundation for your preparation.
- Prep Courses. There are several prep courses online that provide a fun and interactive training experience that can help you prepare for the Senior Level HVAC Efficiency Analyst exam.
- Practice Exams. You can also find practice exams online that you can use to test your knowledge before you take the real thing. You can see one practice exam here and some others here.
So you’ve taken the exams, now what?
Taking and passing the exam is the hardest part, but waiting for the test results to come in can be the most nerve-wracking—if you take it in person, that is.
While you get the results immediately if you take it online, it can take between two and three weeks for NATE to send your test results if you take it in person.
Here’s how the process works if you take in person:
- You'll receive an initial email notification once your results are sent in by your testing proctor.
- You'll then receive a second email once your test is scored and your results are available.
- However, the only way to view your results is by logging into your NATE account.
If you passed with at least a 75%, you're good to go! Just remember to renew your certification every two years so that you remain a Certified Senior Level HVAC Efficiency Analyst. You should also list it on your resume so that employers know your qualifications and capabilities.
If you failed the exam, you should study up and attempt a retake once you feel comfortable. There's no limit to the number of times you can take the test and it’s often worth it to study more and retry it at least once.