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Cooling Equipment Technician: Job Duties & Info

Find out what education and training are required to become a cooling equipment technician. Learn about the salary potential for this career, as well as some alternative career options.

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Career Definition for a Cooling Equipment Technician

Cooling equipment technicians are responsible for installing and repairing air conditioning and refrigeration systems in homes and businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and department stores. Many cooling equipment technicians are also qualified to repair ventilation and heating systems, and thus these technicians are referred to as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians. Cooling equipment technicians are trained to check for leaks, charge cooling systems, and program system controls. They are also expected to closely follow safety regulations while working with dangerous chemicals.

Required Education None required, but extensive on the job training is provided by most employers
Job Skills Technical and analytical skills, knowledge of electronics, mechanical aptitude
Median Salary (2015)* $45,110 annually
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 14% (much faster than average)

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Cooling equipment technicians can complete a 6-month training program or 2-year HVACR degree from a vocational or technical school. Some HVACR technicians complete 3-5 year apprenticeships.

Licensure and Certification

HVACR technicians can pursue professional certification through several organizations, such as the Refrigerator Service Engineers Society. Licensure for HVACR technicians is required in some states, and all technicians who handle refrigerants must obtain federal certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To become EPA certified, technicians must pass a written exam.

Skills Required

Cooling equipment technicians must have technical and analytical skills, including working with blueprints, drills, wrenches, shears, torches, and multi-meters. They must be able to install motors, compressors, evaporators, relays, and electronic component boards, and be safety-oriented.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for HVACR technicians, including cooling equipment technicians, are projected to increase by 14% from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than average job growth for that timeframe. The BLS published the median annual salary of HVACR technicians as $45,110 in May 2015.

Alternative Career Options

Careers similar to a Cooling Equipment Technician that may interest you include:

Plumber

Like HVAC technicians, plumbers install and fix utilities in homes and business, but plumbers work on the pipes that bring water into a building instead of the heating and cooling systems. Plumbers install and fix all types of fixtures that use water in a building, such as sinks and toilets, and may also install water-using appliances, such as washing machines and water heaters. These workers need to complete either on-the-job training or an apprenticeship to learn their trade. Plumbers must obtain a license to practice.

In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for the occupational group that includes plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters was $50,620. Jobs in this occupational group are expected to increase by 12% from 2014 to 2024, according to BLS projections.

Boilermaker

While cooling technicians work on refrigeration and air conditioning systems, boilermakers build and maintain boilers that provide heat. Boilers are large metal containers that hold water which is heated to create heat or energy for a house or building. Boilermakers need to know how to use many types of tools, including welding equipment. These workers either learn their craft from working as a metal worker or through an apprenticeship. The median annual salary for boilermakers was reported by the BLS as $60,120 in May 2015. The BLS projects that jobs for boilermakers will increase at a faster-than-average rate of 9% from 2014 to 2024.

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