North American Technician Excellence is overhauling its HVAC certification program.

Under changes announced Jan. 8, officials will allow technicians with less than a year of experience to take the industry competency exam. The core exam has been modified and will now replace the core service and core installation exams with one 75-question test. The exams for air conditioning, air distribution, heat pump, gas heating and oil furnace have been updated, and are available in English and Spanish.

Other changes include a new online career center and more information-packed websites, which will be launching soon.

“We asked technicians nationwide for feedback on how NATE can remain relevant to them and to the HVACR industry,” said John Lanier, the group’s chief operating officer. “Based on their responses, we have updated the program to reflect changes in the industry and how times have changed in the personal and professional lives of today’s technicians. We believe these changes will increase the value of NATE certification and support technicians throughout their careers in the HVACR industry.”

The certification period for technicians has dropped from five years to two years, and technicians can stay certified with 16 hours of approved courses. The previous requirements were 60 hours of education over five years.

The full list of program changes is available at www.natex.org/nate-news/changes-certificationrecertification-program/.