EPA 608 Certification - Get Your Universal Certification

The Federal Clean Air Act requires that technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere must be certified by the EPA.

Free Online Course & Certification Exam
  • Get your certification in one week
  • Course includes text, videos, and quizzes
  • Take the official EPA 608 Exam online
  • Type I, Type II, Type III, and Universal Certification
$99.00 Free | 32 Lessons
Enroll Now

If you are pursuing a career as an HVAC technician, you will most likely need to get your EPA 608 certification. The EPA 608 certification was introduced as part of the Clean Air Act and requires that technicians handling refrigerants are certified. To earn your certification you must pass a one-time exam administered by an EPA-approved certifying organization. Your certification never expires and there is no requirement for renewal.

Some states may have additional HVAC certifications and license requirements, however, the EPA 608 certification is a nationwide requirement.

This page will help you understand what the EPA certification is, if you are required to get certified, and how to get your EPA certification.

Do I Need an EPA 608 Certification?

If you are planning to work as an HVAC technician, an EPA 608 certification is a must-have. This certification is required by the EPA and employers will verify if you have received your certification or not. EPA regulations define a technician as an individual who performs any of the following activities:

These are common tasks performed by an HVAC technician, so it’ll be critical you get your certification before entering the workforce. However, if you are an apprentice you may be exempt from certification requirements, provided you are closely and continually supervised by a certified technician.

What Is the EPA 608 Certification?

In the 1970’s scientists began researching the impact of refrigerants used in refrigerators and air conditioning units on the environment. Their research revealed that some refrigerants, like HCFC-22, were depleting the ozone layer and increasing ultraviolet radiation. These findings led to The Montreal Protocol. Finalized in 1987, the Montreal Protocol is a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

In 1990, the U.S government passed the Clean Air Act to comply with the Montreal Protocol. Section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires technicians who work with regulated refrigerants to be certified.

Important Refrigerants

R22 and R410A are the two most common refrigerants in residential HVAC and are subject to strong regulation by the EPA.

R22 (Freon)

In January 2020, the EPA officially banned R22, also known as Freon, from production and importation in the United States. Many older systems may still use R22, but new systems using the refrigerant cannot be produced. Older systems can be converted to use R-407A, R-407C, R-424A, and other modern refrigerants.

R410A (Puron)

R410A, also known as Puron, is a more efficient refrigerant used in newer systems. The refrigerant is also less damaging to the environment. R410A is designed to be used at much higher pressures compared to other refrigerants. This is why it is important for you to be familiar with different types of refrigerants and systems.

Four Types of EPA 608 Certifications

There are four different types of certifications you can receive when it comes to the EPA 608. Each type allows you to work with specific types of appliances and refrigerants.

Type I Certification to service small appliances
Type II Certification to service or dispose of high- or very high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and MVACs
Type III Certification to service or dispose of low-pressure appliances
Universal Certification to service all types of equipment

Core Section

To receive any of the certification types listed above, you must first pass the Core Section of the EPA 608 certification exam. The Core Section covers high-level principles and why refrigerants are regulated. The section includes the following topics:

  • Ozone depletion
  • Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol
  • Section 608 regulations
  • Substitute refrigerants and oils
  • Refrigeration
  • The Three R’s (Recover, Recycle, Reclaim)
  • Recovery techniques
  • Dehydration evacuation
  • Safety
  • Shipping

Type I

The Type I EPA certification allows you to service small appliances, like refrigerators. To pass, you’ll need to get 21 of 25 questions correct. You’ll also need to have passed the Core Section. You have the option to take the Type I exam open-book, however, you will have to pass the exam again, closed-book, if you are seeking a certification higher than Type I.

The Type I exam covers the following topics:

  • Recovery requirements
  • Recovery techniques
  • Safety

Type II

The Type II EPA certification allows you to service high-pressure or very high-pressure systems, excluding automotive AC and small appliances. Like the Type I exam, you will have to get 21 of 25 questions correct to pass. This exam covers recovery techniques and requirements for these appliances, but also covers leak detection.

The Type II exam covers the following topics:

  • Leak detection
  • Leak repair requirements
  • Refrigeration
  • Recovery requirements
  • Recovery techniques
  • Safety

Type III

The Type III EPA certification allows you to service low-pressure systems. Like the Type I and Type II exams, you will have to get 21 of 25 questions correct to pass. This exam covers recovery techniques and requirements for these appliances, but also covers leak detection and recharging techniques.

The Type III exam covers the following topics:

  • Leak detection
  • Leak repair requirements
  • Recharging Techniques
  • Refrigeration
  • Recovery requirements
  • Recovery techniques
  • Safety

Universal

A universal certification allows you to service all types of systems. After passing the Core, Type I, Type II, and Type III exams, you will be eligible to take the universal certification exam. This exam is 100 questions and covers a combination of topics from the previous certifications. We recommend getting your universal certification, as it does not limit the type of appliances you can work on and may give you access to additional opportunities in the job market.

How to Get EPA 608 Certified

To get your EPA 608 certification, you must pass an exam administered by an EPA-approved certifying organization. It is important to note that the exam is not administered by the EPA directly. Once you pass your exam, you receive your EPA 608 certification card in the mail.

Before signing up for the exam, we recommend finding a study guide online and taking some practice tests to familiarize yourself with the topics.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does the EPA Certification Test Cost?

The cost of your EPA certification exam will differ depending on the organization you choose to take your test with. Prices generally range from $25 to $150. You can see a list of EPA-approved certifying organizations here.

Can You Take the EPA 608 Online?

You can take the EPA 608 certification exam online. Some testing organizations do offer online testing, but not all do. You can see a list of EPA-approved certifying organizations that administer the test online here.

What Is the Difference Between the EPA 608 and 609?

Section 608 technician certification is required to service appliances containing ODS refrigerants, excluding Motor Vehicle Air Conditioners (MVACs). Section 609 technician certification is required to service MVACs containing ODS refrigerants.