Refrigeration and air-conditioning installer

Air-con engineer, HVAC engineer

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Refrigeration and air-conditioning installers work on air quality and cooling systems in buildings and transport.

Salary Range: £18,000 to £35,000

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How to become a refrigeration and air-conditioning installer

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
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College

You may be able to take a college course, to give you some of the knowledge and skills needed to help find a job as a trainee. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
  • Level 2 Diploma in Access to Building Services Engineering
  • Level 2 Diploma in Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems
  • Level 3 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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Apprenticeship

You could train for this job through an intermediate building services engineering installer apprenticeship, or an advanced refrigeration air conditioning and heat pump engineering technician apprenticeship.

Generally, training takes between 2 and 4 years to complete, depending on the apprenticeship programme.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a refrigeration and air-conditioning installer from the Institute of Refrigeration and the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • analytical thinking skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • persistence and determination
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • surveying sites where cooling systems are to be fitted
  • planning the layout of pipework, ducts and control panels
  • installing components
  • carrying out quality checks to make sure systems are working properly and safely
  • carrying out scheduled maintenance
  • finding and fixing faults
  • advising customers on ways to reduce their energy use

Working environment

You could work at a client’s business.

Your working environment may be cramped, you’ll travel often, dusty and cold.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a refrigeration engineer, designing cooling systems, or move into building services or plumbing. You could also set up your own business.

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