The Ultimate List of HVAC/R Trade Associations

hvacr trade associations

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Membership in HVAC/R trade associations represent various professionals in the industry allowing them with opportunities for networking, staying updated on current trends, etc. Some associations also offer EPA certification, a requirement for any technician working with refrigerants. 1 Learn about some of the HVAC/R trade associations in this article.

Guide to HVAC/R Trade Associations

1. Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)


The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is one of the older HVAC/R trade associations, dating back to 1903 when it was called the Ice Machine Builders Association of the United States. Over the years, its primary purpose has remained the same: to represent the manufacturers of HVAC/R equipment. Today, the AHRI’s 315 member companies manufacture over 90 percent of the residential and commercial HVAC/R and water heating equipment sold in North America.

Representing the HVAC/R manufacturing industry entails advocating on its behalf among government agencies, issuing performance standards for HVAC/R equipment, and evaluating and certifying that HVAC/R equipment meets those standards.

The association offers EPA Section 608 certification for technicians handling refrigerants, as well as EPA certifications for technicians reclaiming refrigerant and refrigerant recovery and recycling equipment. 2

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2. Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)


An international professional organization for HVAC/R workers, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) was founded in 1933. The association is committed to advancing the technical competence, proficiency, and professionalism of technicians and the industry. It aims to accomplish this goal through education and certification programs as well as establishing a network with other HVAC/R associations. RSES provides Specialist Certification for technicians at the senior level in eight areas of the HVAC/R field. 3 RSES also collaborates with HVAC/R trade schools and is a member organization of The Refrigeration School.

This HVAC/R trade association provides EPA Section 608 certification for technicians. 4

3. HVAC Excellence

hvac excellence

Established in 1994, HVAC Excellence is similar to RSES as one of its main goals is to improve the technical competency of those working in the HVAC/R industry. The not-for-profit association provides specialty HVAC certifications to individuals who have completed formal HVAC/R training. These certifications show potential employers that job candidates are proficient in certain skills and can help improve career options.

HVAC/R Excellence does not offer EPA certifications. 5

4. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)


ASHRAE is one of the oldest HVAC/R trade associations with perhaps the widest scope of roles in the industry. Founded in 1894, ASHRAE not only creates equipment standards for the industry, but it also publishes research and resources, offers certifications holds conferences, and organizes legislative advocacy groups at the grassroots level. Among its most significant contributions to the industry is a resource book; its four volumes are Refrigeration; HVAC Systems and Equipment; HVAC Applications; and Fundamentals. 6 7

This HVAC/R trade association does not provide EPA certifications. 8

5. American Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)


With a history spanning back to the early years of the 20th century, the American Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is a nationwide, non-profit trade association for small HVAC/R businesses. This includes contractors that design, install, and maintain indoor comfort systems. Its objectives include promoting industry professionalism and healthy, energy efficient indoor environments. The ACCA advances these goals through establishing equipment standards, providing contractor education, offering marketing resources, and lobbying for the interests of its members.

The ACCA offers EPA 608 certification for technicians. 9

Keeping Up with the HVAC/R Industry

HVAC/R is a growing and ever-changing industry. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, the increasing number of complex indoor comfort systems is expected to contribute to the demand for HVAC/R technicians in the coming years. 10 Joining professional HVAC/R trade associations is one way technicians can stay abreast of innovations in the industry. 11

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