3 Real-World Certifications to Get Your Students Ahead

Industry certifications are becoming more and more important to employers, especially in the skilled trades, and they can help students become competitive candidates for employment as they enter the workforce. Certifications are associated with better employment outcomes and increased confidence in career prospects. They not only prepare students to enter high-paying, in-demand fields but also verify their knowledge, helping them stand out to potential employers. Plus, professional certifications bolster optimism about workers’ future employment prospects. 

Incorporating industry-recognized certifications, preparation, and testing in your skilled trades program can provide your students with a competitive advantage. Three certifications that can help your students get ahead include OSHA 10, EPA 608, and NATE Ready-to-Work.


OSHA 10 is an outreach and voluntary training program provided by Occupational Safety Health Administration. It provides 10 hours of training to the workers and employees touching on appreciation, prevention, avoidance and reduction of safety and health hazards in the workplace. It also enriches the workers knowledge on their rights, employer responsibilities and procedures for complaints and suggestions.

Unfortunately, there has been an increase in fraudulent activity related to the OSHA 10 course over the past several years, so you want to be sure to partner with a trusted provider. Interplay Learning offers CareerSafe OSHA 10 training that covers OSHA basics to industry-specific workplace hazards.

EPA 608

As part of the Clean Air Act, EPA is phasing out substances with high global warming potential, including several popular refrigerants. Section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires all technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere be certified. The education and certification on Section 608 is critical for anyone working in the HVAC industry. Section 608 has strict guidelines on how technicians handle, collect and recycle refrigerants containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). It also prohibits individuals from intentionally or knowingly venting ozone-depleting substances commonly found in refrigerants. 

Failing to comply with Section 608 not only risks employee safety but can also be costly. EPA is authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500 per day for any violation of Section 608. Technicians are required to pass an EPA-approved test to earn Section 608 Technician Certification, but credentials do not expire.

EPA has developed four types of certifications:

  1. For servicing small appliances (Type I)
  2. For servicing or disposing of high- or very high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and MVACs (Type II)
  3. For servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances (Type III)
  4. For servicing all types of equipment (Universal)

NATE Ready-to-Work

Certifications from NATE— North American Technician Excellence—help technicians differentiate themselves from others in the field, essentially creating a “Good Housekeeping” stamp of approval that shows techs’ work can be trusted. NATE exams represent real-world working knowledge of HVACR systems. The NATE Ready-to-Work certification covers fundamental job skills, HVAC system components, tools, measurements, heat transfer, general safety, and electrical safety and proves technicians have met a high standard for technical knowledge.

Getting Certified

Incorporating certification preparation courses into your school’s current curriculum ensures students not only learn methods and skills needed for a future career but also provides graduates with the knowledge they need to obtain real-world credentials.

Interplay Learning offers hands-on simulation courses paired with 3rd-party certification testing to help prepare your students for skilled trades jobs while also providing tools they need to increase employability and bring them one step closer to a future career. Learn more about our most popular skilled trade certification prep courses.