5 Steps to Becoming an Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic

29 March 2016

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Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration apprenticeships are amongst our most popular trade offerings, and an extremely lucrative career to pursue in a country as hot as Australia!

Whether you’re looking at working in commercial, domestic or construction environments, if you want a career that can almost guarantee permanent ongoing employment, then look no further.

But what steps can you take to increase your chances of landing an apprenticeship?

1. Get interested in Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration – what is it?

Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration mechanics will install, repair, service and assemble air-conditioning and refrigeration systems in industrial, commercial and domestic settings. Air-conditioning is found in nearly all modern buildings nowadays, ensuring no shortage of units to work on.

Fridgie’s need to be able to follow blueprints and specifications to install the units, and be comfortable with working in close quarters and to close precision. Fridgie’s should also be prepared to work extended hours to fix breakdowns and attend to emergency repairs. You’ll have to fill the systems with gas or fluid using vacuum pumps and fill with refrigerant in line with regulations and governing procedures. This means obtaining your Arctick licence as well as your trade certificate.

Learn more about what an Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Mechanic actually is in our Career Information Portal >

2. Study the right subjects

There are no specific prerequisite study requirements for Air-conditioning and Refrigeration mechanics, however they should have a strong understanding of mathematics. Employers will also look favourably upon students who’ve shown an interest in science and technical subjects, including computer sciences. This is a very hands on and physically demanding career path, so any manual subjects are a good aptitude indicator as well. You need to understand how things work and fit together, and be able to apply logic and problem solving skills – very important when diagnosing a fault!

3. Obtain the right skills

There are a number of everyday skills you should work on developing if you hope to work as an Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration mechanic. The most important of these would be interpersonal skills! When attending emergency call-outs you might encounter hot and bothered customers who just want their AC back fast. You should be calm and collected under pressure, not easily frustrated and also able to communicate clearly and concisely what the issue is.

Fridgie’s should also be experienced in working with hand power tools, and be interested in learning to read technical drawings and diagrams. Normal colour vision is also a requirement for this trade, and of course, working as part of a team as you’ll need to work with Electricians, Pipe Fitters, and other tradies on site.

4. Sign up for industry experience

As with any trade, we always encourage apprentice hopefuls to gain what experience they can in their preferred trade. This will help you get your feet wet, show you the basics and proves your commitment to the trade to prospective employers. Undertaking a pre-apprenticeship course or completing a school-based qualification is a great way to get a head start while still completing your school studies!

5. Complete an apprenticeship

The majority of people working as an Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration mechanic have obtained either a Certificate III or IV, with very few working with no post-school qualifications. As we’ve talked about earlier, finishing your apprenticeship provides the best employment opportunities and salary expectations within the shortest amount of time. This is a large occupation with extremely good employment prospects and you want to make sure you have the best opportunity at landing that perfect job. Hit the pavement and knock on doors, applying directly with employers or get in contact with your local GTO or AASN. Gaining an apprenticeship is all about persistence!

Keen? Check out our current Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration job vacancies now >

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Take a look at the other trades we’ve featured in our “5 Steps” series >


  • MIGAS 03/01/2018 4:01pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Francis, thank you for reaching out to us. To become trade qualified you do need to complete a relevant Traineeship or Apprenticeship.

    At MIGAS we can help you out with the on-the-job and off-the-job requirements if you apply for one of our roles and are successfully placed with one of our Host Employers in an Apprenticeship.

    With regard to the best way forward for yourself, there is a lot to consider and we suggest talking to a training provider about your background and any RPL (recognition of prior learning) opportunities available to you. You should also consider reviewing the Skills Needs List, which can shed light on your employment opportunities (check out our recent article https://www.migas.com.au/news/why-should-you-care-about-the-national-skills-needs-list/).

    Once you are ready to begin applying for apprenticeship jobs, make sure your resume and cover letter are up-to-date and you can subscribe to our newsletter or activate your MIGAS Profile to begin applying.

  • Francis 03/01/2018 2:54pm (3 years ago)

    Hi, I'm 33 and lookin into a career change. I've looked into courses towards air-conditioning technicians but to get a better look into what my options are moving forward before I make any real big moves..

    Do you have any advice on the best way for me to move forward into this industry as a technician? I was talking to a friend about the BMS side..

  • MIGAS 05/12/2017 10:57am (3 years ago)

    Hi Inam. At MIGAS we support you with gaining Apprenticeship Jobs in these trade specialisations.

    If you are interested in the specific Certificates and theory study required we suggest contacting a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) like TAFE and talking through the course directly with the providers.

    There are a number of RTO's across Australia depending on where you are located TAFE QLD for example: http://tafeqld.edu.au/

  • inam 01/12/2017 8:04pm (3 years ago)

    Hi there,
    I need to get some detail info on this course and its pre-requisites.
    Can You plz Also advise to start doing it as business what other qualification or licence I need.


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