With one of its most recent re-certifications, North American Technician Excellence showed that some contractors never stop learning.

John Hall, who received his first NATE certification in 1999, recently recertified for the exam at the age of 84.

According to Hall, owner of Hall’s Electric in Gulfport, Miss., the HVACR industry has undergone tremendous change during his lifetime.

“Probably the biggest change is the move from mechanical parts and controls to digital and electronic controls,” he said. “And with that, equipment has become much more energy efficient than it used to be.”

Keeping up with those and so many other changes has not been difficult for Hall.

“I subscribe to several trade publications, and buy and read quite a few books on the subject,” said Hall. “On top of that, I’m busy practicing my trade every day as I service my customers. I have to keep up with changes so that I can recommend equipment, and then install and service it.”

For those same reasons, Hall said he really did not need to study for his re-certification exam.

“That’s saying a lot,” said Phil Tapp, manager of the Johnstone Supply store in Gulfport and proctor for the exam. “The exam is a lengthy test that includes core questions that require a technician to know the material inside and out. It’s not an easy test, but one designed to show that a technician is an expert in his or her field. It’s quite impressive that John continues to take and pass the test.”

The first time Hall took the exam, he was required to do so by Mississippi Power. Today, he takes the re-certification exam so that he can remain a Carrier-authorized factory dealer. But Hall is quick to add that he would take the exam even if it was not required.

“First of all, I like to see what I can achieve,” he said. “But just as importantly, I think the NATE certification is important for the technician and for the consumer. The exam makes sure that the technician knows what it is he needs to know to do his job well and keeps him knowledgeable on all the changes in the industry.”

Hall also said that when a technician has NATE certification, the customer can feel comfortable knowing they have a knowledgeable individual working on their system.

“At the same time, the customer or homeowner knows he is getting a well-trained technician to service his equipment, which probably means he is saving money in the long run because it is less likely mistakes will be made. So, as a business owner, it makes sense for me to keep up my certification,” he said.