Are you considering becoming a certified gas technician? Want to work as a plumber, HVAC mechanic, or appliance repair technician? One of your first steps is to learn about the TSSA's gas tech certification requirements.
Any tradesperson who works with oil or gas must get licensed to legally operate in Ontario. Obviously this rule applies to gas technicians—but it also impacts trades like HVAC and appliance repair, which involve installing and servicing fuel-powered units.
So, who is the TSSA, and what steps must you go through to meet their certification requirements? What training should you get to prepare for your gas technician exam, and what is the test like?
Here's your quick guide to getting gas tech certified this year.
1. Who is the TSSA & what do they do?
TSSA stands for Technical Standards and Safety Authority. This non-profit organization is headquartered in Toronto. They set training standards and protect public safety in Ontario, across 4 key areas:
- Boilers and Pressure Vessels and Operating Engineers
- Elevating Devices, Amusement Devices and Ski Lifts
- Upholstered and Stuffed Articles
In terms of gas and oil-related occupations (such as gas technician), the TSSA offers several certification services designed to promote fuel safety throughout the province.
Their main goal is to enforce the Technical Standards and Safety Act, but the TSSA also has several other important missions, which include:
- ensuring trades schools correctly train, examine, and certify tradespeople
- support the Ontario government in developing regulations and professional standards
- keeping tradespeople informed of changes to regulations, codes, and safely techniques
- inspecting tradespeople, contractors, and plants to ensure compliance and monitor safety
- investigating safety incidents
- taking action when rules are not followed
So, in the gas and oil field, the TSSA is all about ensuring training is of the highest standard, so you know relevant codes, and can deliver effective and safe services to the public.
They meet this goal by making all gas technicians pass certification exams before they can legally work in Ontario.
2. What are the different levels of gas technician certification?
There are 3 levels of gas technician certification: G3, G2, and G1. Each one requires candidates to successfully pass an exam before they can work at that level, out in the field.
Gas Technician 3
This is the entry-level gas technician certification for beginners. You must earn your G3 before you can move ahead, and challenge the G2 or G1 exams.
As a G3, you are legally allowed to work on gas equipment up to and including 400,000 British Thermal Units per Hour (BTUH). However, you can only work under the supervision of someone with a G2 or G1 certificate. You aren't allowed to work independently.
Gas Technician 2
Once you become a level 2 gas technician, you no longer require supervision. You can work on your own, doing installation, maintenance and testing of various gas lines, meters, regulators, and appliances with an input up to 400,000 BTUH.
Gas Technician 1
G1 is the most advanced level of gas tech certification. You need at least 2 years of professional experience as a G2 to earn this license, plus 500 hours of experience working on systems with a firing rate of more than 400,000 BTUs (under the direct supervision of a G1 holder).
Important: Training for any of these levels must be approved by the TSSA. Make sure the gas technician school you're considering is accredited by the TSSA before enrolling in any program.
Only an accredited gas technician program will prepare you to successfully challenge the TSSA exams. Click here to see a list of TSSA-approved trades schools in Ontario.
3. What is the structure & length of the TSSA Gas Technician exams?
Your gas tech exam will consist entirely of multiple choice questions. There will be questions on the sector itself, and questions on specific technical information related to the level you're challenging. The number of questions ranges from 50 - 165, depending on the certification.
You will have up to 3.5 hours to write the exam. However, if you have a disability, you can apply for extra time by submitting a TSSA disability accommodation request.
4. You must complete these steps to schedule your gas technician exam
You can't just show up at a testing centre to write your gas tech exam. The TSSA has a strict process you must go through, which includes:
- confirming you are eligible to write an exam (by calling TSSA customer service)
- submitting an Examination Application, and paying an exam fee
- calling customer service to confirm availability of an exam in your area (seats fill up fast, and are first-come, first-served)
- ensuring any cancellation is done at least 2 weeks in advance, or you'll lose the examination fee
- arriving 15 minutes before your exam starts, with government-issued photo identification (such as a passport or provincial driver's license—health care cards and student id's will not be accepted)
5. Can you bring any study materials into the gas technician exam?
You can't bring your cell phone, tablet, or laptop into a TSSA exam room, or wear a watch or a hat. But, you are allowed to bring certain study materials with you.
For example, if you're taking the G3 or G2 exam, you can bring official codes and regulation documents with you, such as:
- Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000
- Natural Gas and Propane Installation Code
- Propane Storage and Handling Code
Just remember, you're not allowed to add comments, alter, or mark-up these documents in any way. You can only use page dividers, and highlight passages or sections. If you don't follow these rules, your documents will be taken away.
The TSSA exam centre will provide you with pencils and a calculator, so you don't need to worry about bringing these with you.
6. What grade do you need to pass & what happens if you fail?
You need a minimum of 75% to pass the TSSA gas tech exams. Plus, you need to score at least 75% on the practical, hands-on training portion of your gas technician program.
Important: along with acceptable test scores, you must maintain an 80% attendance rate during training. Miss too many classes, and you won't be eligible to take the exam, and earn your Certificate of Qualification.
So, let's say you don't pass your TSSA exam. Can you take it again? The official rules say yes, but you must wait for 30 days before you try again.
Important: If you fail the certification exam 3 times, you'll need to take an accredited gas technician training program again to improve your overall skills and knowledge.
On the bright side, if you fail the TSSA exam, they will send you a breakdown of your results. You'll see where you went wrong, and which topics you need to study harder, before you take the test again.
Looking for more detailed information on becoming a certified gas technician? Take a look at this page on the TSSA website.
Haven't started training yet, and looking for accredited gas technician programs in Ontario?
Your next step is to speak with Admissions. An Admissions Advisor will guide you through the Gas Technician programs, costs, financial aid, how to apply, and more.
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