IIAR’s Academy of Natural Refrigerants Certificate Program
Joe Fazzari, P.E. | Senior Vice President Colmac Coil Manufacturing, Inc.
IIAR Safety Committee Chair
April 30, 2020
As a recent graduate of an IIAR Academy of Natural Refrigerants (ANR) certificate course, I’d like to share some details of my experience with you. Overall, it was a great experience and I hope that after you read this article you will also be motivated to register for an ANR certificate course.
I started the process by browsing the “Education” tab on the IIAR website (www.iiar.org). This page gives a brief overview of the educational program and it also lists the current certificate course offerings.
There are currently six course offerings, including:
- ANSI/IIAR 2 - Available in Spanish
- ANSI/IIAR 4/5/8
- Process Safety Management & Risk Management Program Guidelines
- Planning and Performing an Effective Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) Program
- ANSI/IIAR 6
- Ammonia Refrigeration Management Program (ARM)
I decided to register for the ANSI/IIAR 2 course, and I did so by clicking the ENROLL NOW button, which took me to a page that showed the member and non-member pricing for the certificate course. There are two options for signing up: “Individual Enrollment” and “Institutional Enrollment”. After choosing individual enrollment, I was directed to a page where I submitted my contact information. A short time later, IIAR contacted me via email with an invoice for the course, with an option to pay online or via check. Once IIAR received my payment, I received an email with instructions for participating in the certificate course. The link provided in the email took me into IIAR’s online Learning Management System, where I had access to the eight modules for the IIAR 2 certificate course. Within twelve months from that day, I had to view each course module video, successfully complete each Quick Check quiz, and register to take the final course assessment.
Each module can be viewed online whenever I wanted, which made this extremely convenient for me. I could watch the modules from the office, home, or while traveling. Each module is a voice over PowerPoint that lasts anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes where the presenter goes through a series of slides and teaches you the content. After viewing each module, there is a five-question multiple choice quick check quiz where your answers are submitted online to IIAR. The results of your quick check quiz are emailed to you normally within 3 business days, which gives you an indication of the questions you answered correctly. You must answer correctly to at least 80% of the questions in order to have passed the quiz. Retaking the quiz is allowed. Over the course of several months, I viewed all eight of the IIAR 2 modules and I successfully passed all eight of the quick check quizzes. At this point, I was qualified to register for the final examination, which I did so by emailing IIAR (email@example.com) and setting up an appointment to take the test online.
The evening before the final exam, I read the IIAR 2 standard cover to cover, reviewed the eight quick check quizzes, and then got a good night’s sleep. The 120-minute-long exam is administered via the Survey Monkey online platform. For the exam you are permitted to have a paper copy of the standard that includes your handwritten notes, but additional notes may not be used. The exam consisted of 60 questions and I had 120 minutes to complete the exam. Those who successfully answer at least 80% of the questions (48/60 correct answers) will qualify for the Certificate of Completion. Scores are normally communicated to you within two business days of completing the exam.
You may be asking: “how difficult was it to pass the quizzes and final exam”? In my opinion, the quizzes and final exam were extremely well written in that the degree of difficulty is just right. What I mean by this is that someone without an engineering degree is just as capable of passing the course as someone with an engineering degree. The only skill set required is that you are able to retain the basic information that is taught to you in the modules and have a general idea on where and how to find information in the standard. You do not have to memorize anything or do any complex problem solving. You simply need to learn how to navigate the standard and the quiz/exam questions do a good job of making someone prove that they understand how to use the standard. I believe that anyone with a basic working knowledge of refrigeration systems can obtain the Certificate of Completion.
Now that you have the basics for how the certificate program works, you might be wondering why you should even do this in the first place. IIAR’s Academy of Natural Refrigerants is a long-term education program that was created to address the need for competent professionals who understand the design, safety, and maintenance of natural refrigeration systems. Companies such as food processors, design-build contractors, equipment manufacturers, and consulting engineers can use this program to demonstrate their competency in natural refrigeration systems. The IIAR Certificate Courses are based on ASTM standards, which allow us to show that we have received documented and standardized instruction regarding the current regulatory environment and/or design and operation of refrigeration systems utilizing natural refrigerants. Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits are available for all courses through IIAR’s continuing education provider, RCEP. All courses are accepted by the regulating agencies in all fifty states. Having a certificate of completion for an IIAR ANR course is a very good way to demonstrate you are a competent professional in the refrigeration industry. The IIAR website is updated monthly to show the names of the certificate holders for each certificate course. You can also contact IIAR to have an official copy of your certificate in paper or electronic form.
The IIAR ANR certificates are already becoming widely recognized and highly valued in our industry. Any applicant for a position with my company will have their resume at the top of the stack if I see they have completed a course with IIAR’s Academy of Natural Refrigerants.