About EPA 608 Certification

The Federal Government of the United States requires all individuals who open a system or container holding a controlled refrigerant to be certified. Persons who work on stationary equipment or use refrigerant designed for these systems can become certified by passing a proctored Section 608 examination. Candidates for this test can be certified in any of the three equipment categories plus Universal.

CORE - To attain any EPA 608 certification, a technician must pass the Core section of the exam. Once Core is passed it may be used for the EPA certifications listed below.

Type I Certification - For technicians working on small appliances, such as domestic refrigerators, window air conditioners, PTAC’s and vending machines.

Type II Certification - For technicians working on equipment using high-pressure refrigerant such as HCFC-22. The equipment includes residential air conditioners and heat pumps, supermarket refrigeration and process refrigeration.

Type III Certification - For technicians working on equipment using low-pressure refrigerant such as HCFC-123 or CFC-11. The units are primarily chillers.

Universal Certification - A technician passing all three EPA 608 types: Type I, Type II, Type III is certified as Universal and can service all appliances.

The EPA 608 exam is divided into four sections: Core, Type I, Type II and Type III. Each test section has 25 multiple-choice questions drawn from a pool of test questions provided by the EPA. Questions regarding equipment regulations, safety, shipping and identifying refrigerants appear in every test section, so it’s important to know these well. Multiple versions of the test are offered at the same time using different questions. A passing score in a proctored exam is 70%, or 18 out of 25 correct.

Each section is graded independently, so a technician could pass Core, Type I and Type III and fail Type II. In this case the technician would be certified as a Type I and Type III technician. Core must be passed to receive any certification, but it is not a certification on its own. All four sections must be passed in a proctored setting in order to be certified as a Universal technician.

A technician may choose to take Core plus any combination of Type I, Type II, or Type III. It is not required to take all four sections on the exam and many only take the sections that cover the equipment they work with on a daily basis. Keep in mind that no matter which Types you will be testing for, you will need to study and pass the Core section.

To attain the EPA 608 Universal certification ALL sections must be taken in a proctored exam. Previously passed Core or Type I sections taken as an online or mail-in test do not apply towards Universal certifications.


Overlap Between Sections 608 and 609

Section 608 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 directs EPA to establish requirements to prevent the release of ozone-depleting substances during the servicing, repair, or disposal of appliances and industrial process refrigeration. Section 609 of the Act establishes standards specifically for the service of motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs). MVACs are included in the definition of appliances set forth in section 608; however, since their service and repair are regulated under section 609, they are not subject to the servicing requirements under section 608. Procedures involving MVACs that are not covered by section 609, such as the disposal of MVACs and the purchase of refrigerant for use in MVACs, are covered by section 608

Technicians are required to become certified under both regulations. Section 608 has four types of certification for technicians who service and repair appliances other than MVACs. Technicians become certified by passing a test in the appropriate area. The four categories of certification are:

  • Type I = small appliances
  • Type II = high-pressure applicances, except small appliances and MVACs
  • Type III = low-pressure appliances
  • Type IV = all appliances except MVACs

Technicians who service or repair MVAC-like appliances (e.g., farm equipment and other off-road vehicles) can choose to be certified under either the section 609 program or the section 608 Type II program. Because of the similarities between MVACs and MVAC-like appliances, EPA recommends that technicians servicing MVAC-like appliances consider certification under section 609. Buses using CFC-12 are MVACs, buses using HCFC-22 are not MVACs or MVAC-like appliances, but rather are high-pressure equipment covered under Type II of the section 608 test.

For more information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) you can visit their web site at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/technicians/certoutl.html