To get a job, you need to prove that you can do it in many cases. This process may include obtaining the necessary training or experience or passing a specific exam. The Environmental Protection Agency requires technicians to pass a specialized exam to throw their lot into refrigerators, air conditioning, and heating for technicians in America. If you are ready and willing, you can pursue the highest level of certification that practically deems you qualified for any equipment and allow you to work lucrative jobs with good pay.
So how can you get your EPA 608 universal certification?
What is EPA 608?
In 1963, the United States instated the Federal Clean Air Act. This bill, among other things, requires that all technicians responsible for maintaining, servicing, repairing, and / or disposing of any equipment that releases refrigerants into the air must be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In other words, this government body must recognize your skill and craft, and they measure your worth through the Section 608 Technician Certification.
The EPA wants only the kind of technicians who can attach and detach hoses and gauges from an appliance to measure its pressure, add or remove refrigerant from an appliance, and perform any activity that violates the integrity of a motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC) appliance. If you want to do this without reprisal, you must get your Section 608 Technician Certification.
The EPA Section 608 Technician Certification is a test, or rather a series of tests, that measures a technician’s ability and knowledge of specific types of equipment. An EPA-approved organization must administer these tests, such as AC/C Tech, the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute, and the Alaska Vocational Technical Center. Once you pass your EPA Section608 Certification test, you are certified for good. The certifications do not expire under any circumstance. It will also transfer between any state in the United States of America, so moving or traveling would not affect your certification. Finally, it does not need to be renewed. In other words, this certification is a one-and-done deal and a precious asset for any technician.
Each of the EPA Section 608 exams consists of twenty-five multiple-choice questions for each of the four sections of certification (which we will explain later). The sort of questions you will be expected to answer fall within the ballpark of knowing what the utility and function of certain equipment are, how to handle a specific problem with the equipment, and how to make absolutely sure it will not blow up in your or the client’s face anytime soon. Some testing organizations will allow you to take the tests online, but you otherwise have to go to one of the designated EPA-affiliated testing centers.
To get a particular EPA Section 608 Certification, you have to pass the test with a score of 70%, or 18 questions out of 25 correct (75 questions out of 100 for the Universal Certification).
If you noticed how we specified that there are multiple exams and different forms of certification, you would be right in being curious as to what those are.
Types of EPA 608 Certifications
The EPA 608 Certification consists of five distinct sections—Core Testing, Type I Testing, Type II Testing, Type III Testing, and finally, the Universal Certification Test. The Core section covers general knowledge of refrigerants. You need to pass Core and one other form of testing to receive your certification. You do not earn any certification with the Core Test alone. It is, however, required to get any of the other certifications. Completing certification of one of the certification types will have you adequately recognized as certified.
- The Core and the Type I Test sections involve small appliances with five pounds (lbs.) of refrigerant sealed at the factory. These types of equipment are usually found in smaller institutions and small personal homes. Examples include domestic refrigerators, air conditioners, and vending machines.
- The Type II Test section is focused on equipment using high-pressure refrigerant, such as residential air conditioners, supermarket refrigeration, and process refrigeration—in other words, it’s the kind of certification for larger institutions or family units.
- The Type III Test section is based on the proper use and disposal of low-pressure devices. While nearly identical to Type II, it is essential to know that low-pressure appliances work in a vacuum and thus are a very distinct field from its counterpart.
- Finally, there is the Universal Certification, which includes all of the types mentioned above of certifications. The Universal Certification exam consists of one-hundred questions based on the previous tests. Before taking the Universal Certification exam, you must pass the Core, Type 1, Type II, and Type III exams.
Universal Certification is the most extensive and difficult exam to take of the five tests. Still, the fun part is that if you have already completed the requirements, you are practically taking an express train straight into the world of technician jobs with no problem.
But enough about the content—let us get into the nitty-gritty. First things first—what will it cost to take these exams?
How Much Does the EPA 608 Exam Cost?
The fees for the EPA 608 Certification are overall a hefty but one-time expense. It varies depending on the test section, with the Type I section being the cheapest. And yes, this means that each of the four exams and the Universal Certification exam must all be separately paid for before you can take them. Primarily, this depends on the organization you choose to work with, which is dependent on location, so you might have to spend extra money just for the traveling costs! Prices can range between $25 to $150 for the tests alone. Some institutions may offer additional fees and funds for privileges such as online courses, training seminars, or classes to help you succeed on the test.
Fortunately for you, the essential tools to prepare and complete the exam are otherwise free and verified by the EPA. While training seminars and classes may cost you extra, they are paired with the application for the exam, which means they are giving you an express train to success. Remember that you only need to pass a certification test once, and it’s yours for good!
But how exactly do you prepare for Universal Certification?
How Do I Prepare for the EPA 608 Universal Certification Exam?
Preparing for the Universal Certification is a straightforward endeavor. You meant to understand all the previous material and be able to recall them when needed. The EPA wants a technician that fully understands and knows how to use these various styles of equipment and machinery, as they are significant to the lives and health of countless individuals. While you are free to take the exams as many times as you can afford, going to the certification blindly and with no proper understanding of the material will never make you a certified technician.
Thankfully, we have three general but very useful forms of advice that will point you in the right direction and help ensure that you pass the Core, Type I, Type II, Type III, and Universal Certification exams with flying colors!
Get Some Active Practice with the Training Seminars
There is one really good way of dealing with these types of equipment and machinery: getting some tangible real-world experience. Unlike most forms of certification or application tests, the EPA 608 Certification offers training seminars to encourage you to pass and succeed in your endeavors actively!
Find Yourself a Study Guide
Study guides are designed to give you your own method of studying and understanding the material and the test itself. You may think of study guides as a middle ground between running through practice tests and getting some real-world experience. We say middle ground, but the EPA Section 608 Certification study guides benefit any upcoming test taker and should not be dismissed.
If you are worried about running costs and looking on online stores for a good-priced study guide, there is no need! Not only is the study guide completely free, but it is vetted by the EPA and EPA-affiliated organizations and downloadable on their website and the sites of many EPA-affiliated organizations.
The EPA Section 608 Certification Study Guide is short but concise, dedicated only to giving you information and instruction on how to pass the certification tests. It gives you strategies for passing the tests, such as encouraging a thorough reading of every work, marking answers clearly, and double-checking the solutions you have chosen.
Practice With the Practice Tests
Many practice tests on the internet cater to helping you understand the EPA 608 Certification exams, so be ready to take advantage of these opportunities. The EPA 608 practice tests will, rather obviously, not have the actual test questions, so do not expect to finish and know the literal answers. However, they will give you an excellent idea of how the questions are meant to be answered.
Practice tests usually cover only the Core, Type I, Type II, and Type III test questions. However, since the universal certification exam itself is a combination of these tests, this should not impede your progress toward becoming Universally Certified.
The road to becoming EPA certified may be challenging. While you are working away with refrigerators and air conditioners, you may be wondering why you are doing this for some exams instead of just making that your job. Luckily for you, once you are EPA certified, you can do quite a lot as a technician.
What Can You Do with a Universal EPA Certification?
Once you are EPA certified, the technician world will be fully available. What can you do with an EPA 608 Universal Certification? What can’t you do?
With the benefits of Universal Certification, you made yourself available to a broader range of jobs and options as a technician. With the Universal Certification, you, by default, can take on virtually any position under the jurisdiction of Section 608. Technician jobs pay well on a basic level, which this certification will give you. For example, a heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration installation job pays between $14 and $30, well above the country’s minimum wage.
With the various difficulties and benefits of getting the Universal Certification laid bare, we do not see any reason not to improve your resume through this certification.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Get Your EPA 608 Universal Certification?
If you are a technician who wants to pursue a lucrative career in the field, it would be in your best interest to get your Universal Certification and prove yourself to the EPA. Getting the experience, training, practice, and knowledge to pass each test may be difficult and time-consuming, but it is also only a matter of time before you complete them. Before you know it, you’ll be handling technician equipment like a champ in no time!