Introduction

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One of the recommendations in the 2013 WHPA Certification Working Group Gaps Report was that credentialing bodies periodically report the number of technicians in California who had earned competency-based credentials.  This self-reporting was to be an initial step in what might eventually become a more formally organized and managed database that would give us better data on the actual number of credentialed technicians in the state. 

Two goals of such a database would be to more accurately assess the percentage of the HVAC workforce who have the credentials as compared to those who do not, and determine whether that percentage is increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same.  According to the CEC's "Strategic Plan To Reduce The Energy Impact of Air Conditioners" (AKA:  "HVAC Convener Report"), California should:  "Develop and/or sponsor quality installation and maintenance training for contractors, technicians, and sales agents to increase the fraction of technicians trained and certified from 10 percent now to 100 percent by 2020."  Though it became recognized that trying to achieve a 100% certified/credentialed workforce was not achievable or even desirable, California has never retreated from its objective of encouraging the development of a highly-trained, efficiency-focused HVAC workforce.

Credentials Census

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The numbers below include duplications, the extent of which cannot be accurately determined at this time. For instance, it is known that some number of journeyman sheet metal workers have also earned NATE certifications. Thus, those same technicians are reported in both groups. Likewise, some number of journeyman pipefitters have also earned STAR certification, so they are reported in those two groups. It is likely there are other duplications as well.

In the meantime, this census does provide some evidence that these credentials are valued by a measurable percentage of the estimated 40,000 installers, service and maintenance techs in the state. In fact, the percentage may be higher than supposed.

This information was last updated in 2015.
OrganizationCredentialed Technicians in CA
Associated Air Balance Council (AABC)38
AABC Commissioning Group (ACG)119
Building Performance Institute (BPI)935
Energy Management Association (EMA)4
HVAC Excellence13,689
National Balancing Council (NBC)3,100
North American Technician Excellence  (NATE)2,169
National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB)65
Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)607
SMART (previously SMWIA)*6,490
Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing Bureau (TABB)616
United Association (UA)3,161
UA STAR570

      * Technician counts from 2011

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