Following is a guide for those who are planning to take the Section 608 Technician Certification exams, mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the reader will find useful data that comes directly from resources published online by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Anyone can access these resources and learn what kind of job market they might expect for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers through 2016.
Below are some basics about Section 608 to give interested readers an idea of what this EPA ruling is all about. To find more details, visit the epa.gov website and conduct a search on “608.” Information can be located under link to “Brochures and Fact Sheets”.
- Those who handle ozone-depleting substances or refrigerants (chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and their blends) must adhere to strict guidelines regarding the recovery and recycling of these substances, as spelled out in Section 608 of the Clean Air Act of 1990.
- Any individual who uses, recycles, recovers, sells or reclaims these substances must answer to these regulations. Anyone who handles refrigerant must first prove that they are compliant.
- A leak of fifty pounds or more in air conditioning or refrigeration equipment requires repair.
- Any items destined for the waste stream that contain refrigerants must be handles appropriately, with complete and safe disposal of any refrigerants as stated in the regulations.
Section 608 Certification type is categorized by appliance size:
- I – small appliances (five pounds or less)
- II – medium-, high-, very high-pressure appliances
- III – low-pressure appliances
- Universal certification covers all three levels
To prepare for EPA exams, candidates can use free or for-fee online guides. A good place to begin before making a purchase or subscribing to one or another preparation tool online is the epa.gov site, which is easily found through a search on “issues EPA certification test.” Once the candidate understands what will be expected, they can take advantage of websites that provide opportunities to pracitce the core and Type I sections of this test. However, it is critical to note that the test will change from year to year, staying updated with changes in technology and in the industry. Using a current guide can be confirmed through accessing the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, the Refrigeration Service Engineer Society and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, all with websites that provide needed details about current exam requirements. This points to the value that some test-takes may find in purchasing a reliable test prep/exam guide, one that is both current and complete-covering all possible issues that may be tested on the exams.
HVACR Career Outlook
To find out what it means to be certified in HVACR, interested parties should look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website bls.org. There they will find-as of the time this article was published-that the outlook for this type of career is promising. To optimize opportunities in this field, it is suggested at this and other resources that accredited tech schools and qualifying apprenticeships are part of or precede taking exams.
Technicians who specialize in HVACR should find many opportunities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, through the year 2016. To see the most recent evaluation of job prospects, visit bls.org.
Environmental health is a crucial issue and will continue to be so indefinitely. This is good news for the planet and for this career field, since government incentives coupled with stricter regulations for commercial enterprises will practically guarantee that HVACR technicians will be kept busy removing old systems and installing energy-efficient systems that can make a significant dent in CO2 emissions and other issues. The same holds true for refrigerant regulations, which will continue to create jobs for technicians needed to upgrade systems to meet current environmental standards. In addition, population growth has not slowed nor does is show signs of abating. Thus, ever more climate-controlled spaces will be created to accommodate more people in homes, businesses and industries around the globe. In addition, system replacement rates have historically been every ten to fifteen years. This natural need to replace old systems will also contribute to high HVACR employment rates. Finally, because new systems will most likely include complex components and require hi-tech tools, do-it-yourself repairs will be minimized. Systems that malfunction or fail will require that an HVACR technician pay a call.
While burgeoning population growth and complicated heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems that limit do-it-yourself maintenance and repair are not necessarily a desired reality, they are thus far reliable factors for the next 5-10 years at least. This bodes well for anyone with a natural interest in things mechanical and technical, ensuring that any investment of time and money now in Section 608 certification will be well worth it years down the road.