With a high school diploma or GED it is possible to begin a career as a cooling system technician; however, most employers prefer applicants who have completed an apprenticeship or postsecondary education at a vocational school. States that require licensure often have their own training requirements.
Cooling system technicians fall into the category of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration service (HVACR) technicians and installers. HVACR technicians are trained to install, repair and replace heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Many HVACR workers are trained to work with all systems, but choose to specialize in one.
|Required Education||No specific education requirements, but candidates should seek formal training for cooling systems through a postsecondary institution or apprenticeship|
|Other Requirements||Licensure requirements vary by state; certification for working with refrigerants required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||14% for all heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$45,110 for all heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Outlook and Salary Information for Cooling System Technicians
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers are expected to have 14% employment growth between 2014 and 2024, a rate that is faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). An increasing use of refrigerated equipment coupled with the lifespan of HVACR-related machinery and increasing demand for higher-efficiency models all contribute to the growing demand for HVACR technicians.
In May 2015, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned a median annual salary of $45,110, according to BLS figures. Building equipment contractors employed the majority of workers in this field during this time period, while workers in the other information services industry earned the highest mean annual salary, at $74,290.
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Educational Requirements for Cooling System Technicians
Although postsecondary education is not strictly necessary, professional cooling system technicians typically receive some formal training from a postsecondary institution, which could include a vocational school, technical school, community college or an apprenticeship program. Educational programs are available at the undergraduate level, typically as certificate, diploma or associate degree programs. Coursework can include electrical systems, building codes, duct work, installation, circuit systems, welding and HVACR system design. Professionals in this field may also complete apprenticeship programs, which may last up to five years.
In some states, HVACR workers are required to obtain licensure, which commonly requires the completion of an exam and a minimum amount of professional experience. Professionals who work with refrigerants are required to become certified through an organization approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Refrigerant certification is available in high-pressure, low-pressure or small appliance.
Job Description for a Cooling System Technician
Climate control systems have a lot of mechanical, electrical, and electronic components. Cooling system technicians must correctly install the particular cooling system and all of its components. Sometimes, especially during repair, this involves installing items like motors, electronic component boards, compressors, evaporators and relays. After installing the system, cooling technicians typically install the fuel and water supply lines, drain lines, ducts and vents, among other components. Cooling technicians use experience, blue prints, sheet metal shears, wrenches, gauges, torches, drills, multi-meters, and other equipment.
High job growth is projected for all heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers though 2024. Applicants with postsecondary education, completion of an apprenticeship, experience from vocational courses or an internship should be prepared to compete for jobs in this field.