To elevate and standardize Oilheat technician training, NORA offers levels of certification ranging from the entry level Bronze and up to the advanced Gold. In between is the Silver certification, for experienced technicians, the “workhorse” certification. In addition, there is a certification for oil storage tank installation and maintenance.
The Bronze Certification is for those who are entry level and have minimal field experience.The program requires a minimum of 80 hours of classroom and lab instruction at a NORA certified school.The program is designed to teach individuals the fundamental skills of Oilheat. Classroom hours are spent reviewing the critical elements of a heating system. Topics include: heating oil and it’s properties; oil tanks; nozzles; combustion chambers; basic electricity; draft & venting; ignition systems; controls; heating systems; energy conservation; and customer service.
Following the classroom work a student must score a passing grade on a certification exam.In order to upgrade from Bronze, technicians must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CEUs) and work in the field for three years. Once the CEUs and field work are completed, the certification will be upgraded from Bronze to Silver for a five year period. During that five year window, a minimum of 24 NORA approved CEUs must be earned to keep the Silver Certification active.
The Silver Certification program is designed for Oilheat technicians who already have three or more years experience in the field.Except for those upgrading from Bronze, an exam must be passed before the Silver Certification is awarded.
As with the Bronze Certification, it is active for five years and a minimum of 24 CEUs must be earned for reauthorization. NORA has developed a comprehensive Silver Certification Course, as well as a refresher course, available for those taking the exam.
The Gold Certification, the highest awarded by NORA, is for those wishing to move beyond basic installation and repair. Gold prepares technicians to provide systems analysis, advise customers about equipment needs, diagnose home comfort problems and provide efficiency recommendations.
The Gold program includes eight modules of advanced training on: Air Flow, Hydronics, Efficiency, Venting, Controls, Steam, Oil Tank Installation & Maintenance and BPI’s program Building Science Principles Reference Guide.To achieve Gold status, Technicians are required to have a NORA Silver certification, five years of Oilheat field experience and must successfully complete any four of NORA’s eight advanced training module classes.
Accompanying training manual for each advanced module has been published and can be used when preparing for a seminar or as a stand-alone self-learning guide.
As with both the Bronze and Silver, the Gold Certification is valid for five years and may be reauthorized by achieving 24 NORA CEU’s.
NORA now has an online training website (Learning.NORAweb.org) where technicians of any certification, or no certification, can access online training videos and manage their certifications.
As CEUs are necessary to maintain certifications and getting to live classes is not always possible, NORA has assembled a library of 22 online video courses with accompanying quizzes that offer two CEUs each. Access to these is simple and each course is approximately 30 minutes in length. Many of the videos were created by NORA and others have been produced by manufacturers of heating equipment and approved by NORA. As NORA identifies additional quality instructional videos, they will be added to the site.
Managing a certification is simple as each user’s account shows all certifications and CUEs earned. Additional information is continually added to Learning.NORAweb.org.
All NORA certified technicians already have an account and, for those technicians who are not certified, creating an account is easy. The instructions are clear and all that’s needed is an email address and a NORA technician ID. The ID format is the last four numbers of your Social Security number followed by the first four letters of your last name (e.g. 1234smit).
If you are not sure if you already have an account try logging-in with the Technician ID format using the temporary password shown on the home page of the site. Do NOT set up multiple accounts because it will make it difficult to track and manage you certifications and CEUs.
Online Bronze and Silver Exams
The newest feature at Learning.NORAweg.org is online certification testing. Previously, all certification exams needed to be completed with paper tests and “bubble” fill-in-the-circle answer sheets. The test results often took weeks to be processed.
Online tests can be completed online and each student gets an instant pass/fail result.
When getting to a testing site in not possible, NORA offers an entirely online testing procedure. This widely expands the accessibility of NORA certification testing.
If you need online testing, have the necessary qualifications, have studied and are ready to take the exam, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORA certification and ongoing education offers benefits to the technician, the company he or she works for and most importantly the homeowner who is assured quality service through highly trained technicians.
First published in Indoor Comfort Marketing, July-August issue.