To become NATE-certified, you must take the appropriate exam(s) to fulfill your certification requirements.  Most often this means you must pass both a CORE and a SPECIALTY test of your choice. The specialty certification can be INSTALLATION, SERVICE, or SENIOR.   Please check the opening pages of the KATEs, (Knowlege Areas of Technician Expertise) to determine the requirements.

CORE EXAM. Tests your general knowledge, construction knowledge and HVAC/R-specific knowledge in the following areas:

  • Safety
  • Tools
  • Basic Construction
  • Using Basic Science
  • Achieving Desired Conditions
  • Taking Temperature and Humidity Measurements
  • Basic Electrical

The Core part of the NATE certification test must be passed to get your specialty rating. This is the overview for the NATE Core exam:

Scope – Tests a candidate’s general knowledge, construction knowledge, and HVACR specific knowledge in areas of safety, tools, soft skills, heat transfer, and electrical.

Qualifications –

This is a test for Technicians in the HVACR industry. The test is designed for top-level service technicians. This test is a requirement for NATE certification.

Test Specifications –

  • Closed Book
  • 1.5 Hour Time Limit
  • 50 Questions

Areas of Testing

  • 15 Questions – Safety, Tools, and Soft Skills
  • 10 Questions – Heat Transfer and Comfort
  • 25 Questions – Electrical

Here’s some quick study topics to help you prepare:

Static Electricity – electricity at rest. Static electricity is either a positive or negative charge.

Raising the humidity can control static electricity.

More humidity is removed by slowing the blower speed.

Slower air movement allows the air more contact time with the coil, increasing the temperature drop and removing moisture from the air.

Current – electricity in motion. Electrons flowing through a conductor.

Two types of electricity in motion and at rest.

Current flows  from a negative to positive potential.

Potential difference – electromotive force (EMF). Measured in volts.

Volt – the force required to move one ampere through one ohm of resistance.

Applied voltage determines the rate of current flow.

Ohm – the amount of resistance in a circuit the allow one volt to push one ampere through the circuit.

E -(short for EMF)  in a schematic circuit designates volts.

I – amps in a schematic circuit

R – stands for ohms.

Current is directly proportional to the applied voltage.

Current is inversely proportional to the resistance.

Ohms Law – E = I x R (voltage = current x resistance).

Ohms Law – when you know any of the two values the third value can be calculated.

Current flowing through a wire produces a magnetic field.

Notice that the basic electrical portion is 50% of the NATE Core exam. If you do not have a thorough understanding of electrical theory you will have a difficult time passing this exam. According to NATE, the electrical portion of the exam is the biggest challenge for test takers.

We offer a NATE Certification study course and practice tests to prepare you for success.

by Ron Walker

Ron Walker
Ron Walker

After retiring from the U.S. Marines and achieving his B.S. degree, Ron Walker entered the HVAC field. He has been an HVAC technician, service manager, and business owner. Working as a service manager, he spent many years training HVAC technicians to be more technically competent and really understand their trade. His passion for teaching and helping others resulted in the creation of HVAC Training Solutions, LLC.