HVAC Excellence has been around for 25 years and focuses on the HVACR industry which has helped aid the HVACR into what it is today. CMS supports HVAC Excellence and their strive for keeping the industry up to optimal standards. Read more below on the interview with Howard Weiss, the executive vice president had with The NEWS.
Twenty-five years ago, representatives of the HVACR industry gathered in Chicago to create a new organization that would be dedicated solely to improving the technical competence of the HVACR industry through validation of the technical education process — HVAC Excellence. To celebrate the anniversary, The NEWS talked with Howard Weiss, executive vice president, about the state of the organization as well as the state of the HVAC industry.
NEWS: Congrats on 25 years of HVAC Excellence. Explain to our readers what the organization does.
Weiss: HVAC Excellence was established to improve the technical competency of the HVACR industry. We accomplish this through validation of the technical education process.
HVAC Excellence validates that HVACR educational programs meet national standards through programmatic accreditation, instructors have mastered the competencies of their curriculum through educator credentialing exams, and that students have the retained knowledge necessary for employment through employment-ready certifications. Additionally, we offer progressive levels of certification to students, technicians, and instructors. So, no matter what stage a person is at in their career, HVAC Excellence has the tools to help them identify if they need additional training or are ready to move on to the next level.
NEWS: What need in the HVAC industry did HVAC Excellence see 25 years ago that made the organization want to enter the market?
Weiss: For many years, one would learn how to be an HVACR technician on the job from someone else who had also learned the trade on the job. Electromechanical controls and other system elements allowed clever service technicians to rely on creativity to troubleshoot HVACR system failures. The age of simple, electromechanical controls and devices passed, and in its place entered the age of digital controls, components, and devices. As a result, the age of being clever and figuring things out passed.
HVAC Excellence understood that the depth of knowledge one obtains determines whether [he/she] becomes a master technician, troubleshooter, or parts changer. With no national standards or assessment tools in place, HVAC Excellence was created to establish standards and the tools necessary to improve the technical education process.
NEWS: What has been the biggest change in your area of the industry for the last 25 years?
Weiss: Over the years, technology continues to advance; however, the time allowed to teach the trade has been reduced. The average number of school days in the U.S. is between 175 and 180, just as it was right after World War II. Meaning, in order to bring new technologies into the classroom, everything else must be taught in a shorter period. HVACR educational programs in the early 1990s were often conducted over two years and consisted of 2,800 contact hours. Today, these same programs are conducted in less than a year, typically in 850 to 1,200 contact hours, with far more to teach than in years past.