The Environmental Protection Agency is an arm of the federal government charged with protecting human health and the environment. The EPA does this through regulation, education, research and strategic partnering. It offers several certifications, but one that is commonly required is EPA Section 608 Technician Certification. In Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA sets regulations designed to minimize the emissions of refrigerants into the environment. It requires that all technicians working with stationary refrigeration or air conditioning equipment be certified through an EPA-approved technician certification program.
Determine which type of certification you need. Your employer should specify what level of certification is required. Four levels of certification are available. Type I is the easiest with an open-book test and can be done online. However, it is only suitable for technicians working with small appliances that contain 5 lbs of refrigerant or less. Type II certification is required for technicians servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances. Type III certification is for those only servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances. Universal certification encompasses all three types.
Participate in a certification preparatory program in your area. These programs are designed to prepare technicians for the certification test. Some programs are live and others are simply study aids. HVAC wholesalers often offer such programs or can recommend one. Preparatory programs are not reviewed or approved by the EPA, so finding one that is recommended by technicians who have already passed the certification test is recommended.
Register with an approved certification program to take the test. Unless you are testing for a Type I certification, you will have to take the exam at the approved testing facility. A list of EPA-approved certification programs and testing facilities is available in the Ozone Layer Protection portion of the EPA website.
Take the test. Each certification type is covered by 25 questions on EPA regulations and 25 questions on recycling/removal procedures specific to that area. Universal certification exams contain 75 recycling questions (covering each type) and 25 general regulation questions. Types II, III and the Universal exams are all closed-book and proctored. You must answer 70% of the questions correctly in order to pass. Fees for testing can vary by facility, but are typically $35 as of October 2010. Training and exam preparation fees vary by company.
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