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Refrigerator Technology & Engineering Career Information

Refrigerator technology workers install, maintain, and repair refrigeration systems. Read about the duties, education requirements, salary and employment outlook to see if you want to pursue this occupation.

Career Definition for a Refrigerator Technician

Refrigerator technicians, also referred to as HVACR technicians, work for refrigerator manufacturers and repair shops to service and maintain residential and commercial refrigeration units. Many refrigerator technicians work on a freelance basis, sometimes specializing in a particular type of refrigeration system, such as residential units, medical refrigeration equipment and transport vehicles, or professional equipment for the food industry. Job responsibilities may include refrigerator installation, equipment repair, or unit maintenance and inspection for problems like refrigerant leaks and improper ventilation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Education Technical degrees, certificates, and apprenticeships available
Job Skills Familiar with tools, manual dexterity, plumbing and electronics, physical fitness
Median Salary (2017)* $47,080 for HVACR mechanics
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 15% for HVACR mechanics

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Most employers look for refrigerator technician job candidates to have completed a one- to two-year technical degree or certificate program or a three- to five-year apprenticeship program run by a professional association such as the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA). The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) is another option. Apprenticeships require a high school diploma and include on-the-job training with an experienced refrigerator technician, as well as classroom instruction.

Because the job involves handling potentially hazardous chemicals, all refrigerator technicians must become certified to handle refrigerants by an organization approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Though not required, further professional certification is available from organizations such as HVAC Excellence.

Skills Required

Refrigerator technicians must be experts in the construction and mechanics of refrigeration equipment, including product specifications of a variety of types and brands. Basic knowledge of plumbing and electronics is also desirable, as is familiarity and dexterity with manual tools. Refrigerator technicians often travel from place to place to conduct repairs and installations throughout a workday and deal with a diverse clientele, so physical fitness and excellent interpersonal skills are also important.

Career Outlook

Refrigerator technician job skills are easily transferable to new locations, and job prospects are expected to be excellent in the coming years, according to the BLS. The focus on developing new, energy-efficient refrigeration technology will likely increase the demand for new installations on an ongoing basis, and more complex systems will require more maintenance and repairs.

The refrigerator technology field, included with refrigeration mechanics and installers, made a median salary of $47,080, as of BLS reports from May 2017. Refrigerator technicians employed full-time by a company often enjoy benefits like company-supplied vehicles, tools, and uniforms. Much faster than average growth of 15% was predicted for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics for 2016-2026, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Explore the following careers for other choices in maintenance and installation:

Electrician

Electricians may learn their skills through apprenticeships and technical school programs. Licensing is usually required for these professionals who install communications, electrical power and lighting in businesses and homes. Average employment growth of 9% was forecast for this occupation during the 2016-2026 decade, per the BLS. As of May 2017, electricians earned a median annual salary of $54,110.

Plumber, Pipefitter and Steamfitter

Gaining their skills through technical school programs and apprenticeships, these professionals install pipes in homes and businesses. Plumbers are usually required to be licensed. The BLS reported their median wages as $52,590 per year in 2017 and projected a much faster than average rise in available positions of 16% from 2016-2026.


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