Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics select components, assemble, install, test, fault-find, service and repair industrial, commercial and domestic refrigeration and air conditioning systems in homes, shops, factories, office buildings, hospitals, supermarkets and cold stores.
To become a refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic you usually have to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship in Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.
Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics may perform the following tasks:
When carrying out installation work, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics may work on large commercial and industrial units that have to be installed part by part, or pre-assembled units that simply require installation. Domestic units may come already assembled or in two sections between which refrigerant piping must be installed. Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics may need to be skilled in pipefitting, welding and electrical wiring. They may have to work extended hours to fix breakdowns and carry out emergency repairs. They may work alone or with associated tradespeople such as electricians, pipe fitters and carpenters.
Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics are employed mainly by installation, service maintenance and manufacturing firms that service shops, hotels, factories, offices and hospitals. Some refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics work for firms that specialise in cold storage, food treatment plants and refrigeration on ships. With experience, and sometimes further training, promotion is possible to supervisory, sales, technician, associate, technologist or engineer positions. Some refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics are self-employed. Opportunities for refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics are affected by the level of building and refurbishment activity, especially in the commercial and industrial sectors.