Pickens Technical College’s HVAC Technician Pathway: What is ESCO?
One of the recent changes to Pickens Technical College’s HVAC program is using the Energy Service Company (ESCO) Institute to administer students’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification. This is training aimed at helping HVAC technicians work safely with heating and air conditioning systems. This training helps keep both the technicians and the environment safe.
If you’re interested in joining PTC’s HVAC Technician program, you’ll gain an advantage with this certification, opening doors for future employment. This official certification, along with an on-the-job internship with the Cherry Creek School District, prepares you to hit the ground running as a professional HVAC tech almost anywhere.
What is the ESCO organization and why does it carry such weight in the HVAC industry?
ESCO and the ESCO Institute
ESCO is a professional organization dedicated to “improving the technical competency of the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) industry.” Similar to other professional organizations created to set a standard for technical proficiency, like the Auto Service Excellence organization for automotive technicians, the group exists to help ensure that no matter who customers hire to work on their heating and cooling systems, they can expect the same baseline competency at minimum. Obviously, some HVAC techs will always be better than others, but from a customer’s standpoint, hiring someone with ESCO certification brings with it a sense of relief and reassurance.
ESCO offers dozens of certifications to students, instructors, and professional technicians to improve their skill level and help them break into new fields of study and work. It also puts on a conference every year for HVAC instructors.
The ESCO Institute provides certification tests for HVAC technicians under the EPA’s Section 608 certification testing. The EPA has placed restrictions on how HVAC systems must work. Refrigerants, which are poisonous and very toxic to the natural environment, are the EPA’s biggest concern in the HVAC arena. There are energy efficiency standards and other regulations meant to curb the environmental impact these systems can have.
The ESCO Institute produces certification study guides and textbooks that appear in hundreds of HVAC classrooms around the United States. Wholesalers and other training organizations use ESCO’s materials as well.
How Does This Help You?
As I alluded to earlier, earning an ESCO-sponsored EPA certification opens doors for you in your HVAC career. Employers and customers alike look for certifications like this, especially considering the talent shortage in the HVAC industry right now.
There are hundreds of jobs out there for skilled HVAC workers who are knowledgeable and skilled in handling dangerous chemicals and working with sometimes dangerous heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems. Since these systems aren’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, more people with more skills are needed to repair them and keep them working at maximum efficiency. An ESCO certification shows that you understand how to properly operate and work on heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems and make them as efficient and safe as possible. If you’re interested in joining this exciting and up-and-coming field, consider the Pickens HVAC program.