Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics

ANZSCO ID 3421

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
24,400
Future Growth
4%
Weekly Earnings
N/A
Full-Time Share
89%
Female Share
1%
Average age
33

Summary

Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics assemble, install, maintain and repair industrial, commercial and domestic airconditioning and refrigeration systems and equipment.

Tasks

  • establishing job requirements from drawings and specifications, and laying out installation reference points

  • drilling holes, installing mounting brackets and cutting, bending and threading piping

  • installing and repairing components such as compressors, motors, condensers, evaporators, switches and gauges, and copper lines for steam, gas, refrigerant, compressed air, oil and chilled water

  • bolting, soldering, riveting, welding and brazing pipes to connect equipment, and checking alignment and accuracy of fit

  • filling systems with gas or fluid to check for leaks

  • test-operating refrigeration systems, checking mechanisms and making adjustments

  • removing test gas and fluid using vacuum pumps, and filling with refrigerant

  • checking and overhauling refrigeration systems, diagnosing faults and repairing and replacing defective components

  • adjusting system controls and mechanisms and reassembling systems

  • recording causes of malfunctioning and action taken

Characteristics

Job Type
Technicians And Trades Workers
Skill Level
Medium skill
ANZSCO Occupation group
Unemployment Rate
Average
Industries
Pathway(s)
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Interests
  • Practical
  • Analytical
  • Administrative
Physical Demand
  • Medium
  • Heavy

Outlook

Employment Outlook

The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:

  • is expected to grow moderately
  • is likely to reach 30,800 by 2026.

Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.

Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.

Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.

Projected Change
4%
(or 1,200 jobs)
From
29,600
in 2021
To
30,800
in 2026

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Year Employment
2011 19,400
2012 26,500
2013 26,400
2014 21,600
2015 24,800
2016 28,600
2017 28,700
2018 22,700
2019 30,500
2020 29,600
2021 29,600
2026 30,800

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.


Earnings and hours

Working arrangements

  • Around 89% of people employed as Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 23 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).

    Full-time workers work an average of 44 hours per week in their main job. This is the same as the all jobs average.

    More than half of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).

    Median hourly earnings are $51, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).

    Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.


Industries

Main industries

1
Other Services
47.2%
2
Construction
39.6%
3
Retail Trade
3.1%
4
Manufacturing
2.8%
5
Other industries
6.9%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

33.6% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

18.3% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

22.6% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

8.0% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

12.4% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

1.4% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

2.0% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

1.7% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics All Jobs Average
NSW 33.6 31.6
VIC 18.3 25.6
QLD 22.6 20.0
SA 8.0 7.0
WA 12.4 10.8
TAS 1.4 2.0
NT 2.0 1.0
ACT 1.7 1.9



Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
33
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
1%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics is 33 years. This is younger than the all jobs average of 40 years.

    A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.

    Females make up 1% of the workforce. This is 47 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age Bracket Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics All Jobs Average
15-19 6.7 5.0
20-24 15.7 9.3
25-34 30.3 22.9
35-44 19.9 22.0
45-54 16.1 21.6
55-59 6.0 9.0
60-64 3.6 6.0
65 and Over 1.8 4.2
Median Age 33 40

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Employment Pathways

Education, training and experience

A certificate III or IV in refrigeration and airconditioning is usually needed to work as an Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic. These courses are often completed as part of an apprenticeship.

Visit

  • My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
  • AAPathways website to explore Electrotechnology VET training pathways.

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of Qualification Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 0.4 10.1
Bachelor degree 2.3 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 4.9 11.6
Certificate III/IV 71.8 21.1
Year 12 11.9 18.1
Year 11 3.2 4.8
Year 10 and below 5.4 12.5

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.


Skills and Knowledge

Employers look for Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics who can provide good customer service, are polite and courteous and have a strong work ethic.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 55%

    Repairing

    Fixing machines or systems.

  • 55%

    Troubleshooting

    Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.

  • 52%

    Equipment maintenance

    Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.

  • 52%

    Installation

    Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs.

  • 48%

    Quality control analysis

    Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.

  • 48%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 46%

    Active listening

    Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

  • 46%

    Critical thinking

    Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

  • 45%

    Operation monitoring

    Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

  • 45%

    Operation and control

    Controlling equipment or systems.

  • 45%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 45%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 43%

    Active learning

    Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.

  • 43%

    Complex problem solving

    Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

  • 43%

    Judgment and decision making

    Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.

  • 43%

    Monitoring

    Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.

  • 43%

    Time management

    Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.

  • 41%

    Systems analysis

    Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.

  • 39%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 37%

    Equipment selection

    Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 76%

    Mechanical

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  • 71%

    Building and construction

    Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.

  • 67%

    Customer and personal service

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  • 59%

    Physics

    The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.

  • 57%

    Technical design

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  • 54%

    Engineering and technology

    Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

  • 52%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 50%

    Chemistry

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

  • 46%

    Computers and electronics

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  • 44%

    English language

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  • 43%

    Sales and marketing

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  • 42%

    Administration and management

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  • 40%

    Public safety and security

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  • 39%

    Education and training

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  • 35%

    Personnel and human resources

    Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.

  • 33%

    Clerical

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  • 33%

    Law and government

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  • 32%

    Production and processing

    Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.

  • 27%

    Transportation

    Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.

  • 22%

    Telecommunications

    Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 57%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 57%

    Visualization

    Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.

  • 55%

    Extent flexibility

    Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.

  • 55%

    Near vision

    See details that are up-close (within a few feet).

  • 55%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 52%

    Problem spotting

    Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.

  • 52%

    Sorting or ordering

    Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

  • 48%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 48%

    Finger dexterity

    Put together small parts with your fingers.

  • 48%

    Inductive reasoning

    Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.

  • 46%

    Multilimb coordination

    Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.

  • 46%

    Speech recognition

    Identify and understand the speech of another person.

  • 45%

    Trunk strength

    Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.

  • 45%

    Colour discrimination

    Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.

  • 45%

    Control precision

    Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.

  • 45%

    Selective attention

    Pay attention to something without being distracted.

  • 43%

    Arm-hand steadiness

    Keep your hand or arm steady.

  • 43%

    Manual dexterity

    Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

  • 43%

    Perceptual speed

    Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.

  • 39%

    Speed of recognition

    Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.


Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  • 75%

    Handling and moving objects

    Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.

  • 74%

    Doing physically active work

    Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.

  • 74%

    Working with mechanical equipment

    Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment.

  • 73%

    Controlling equipment or machines

    Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).

  • 72%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  • 71%

    Working with electronic equipment

    Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing electronic devices and equipment.

  • 66%

    Making decisions and solving problems

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  • 63%

    Planning and prioritising work

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  • 63%

    Making sense of information and ideas

    Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.

  • 62%

    Checking for errors or defects

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  • 61%

    Building good relationships

    Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.

  • 60%

    Monitoring people, processes and things

    Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.

  • 59%

    Collecting and organising information

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  • 59%

    Communicating within a team

    Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 57%

    Thinking creatively

    Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.

  • 56%

    Checking compliance with standards

    Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

  • 55%

    Scheduling work and activities

    Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

  • 54%

    Training and teaching others

    Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.

  • 53%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 50%

    Driving vehicles or equipment

    Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.


Interests and demands

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Interests

Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.

  • 100%

    Practical

    Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

  • 67%

    Administrative

    Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.

  • 67%

    Analytical

    Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.

  • 43%

    Enterprising

    Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.

  • 29%

    Creative

    Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.

  • 19%

    Helping

    Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.


Values

Work values are important to a person’s feeling of satisfaction. All six values are shown below.
  • 81%

    Support

    Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.

  • 71%

    Independence

    Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.

  • 57%

    Achievement

    Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

  • 57%

    Working conditions

    Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.

  • 52%

    Relationships

    Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.

  • 43%

    Recognition

    Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.


Demands

The physical and social demands that workers face most often are shown below:
  • 93%

    Face-to-face discussions

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  • 92%

    Outdoors, exposed to weather

    Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.

  • 90%

    Using your hands to handle, control, or feel

    Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.

  • 90%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 89%

    In an enclosed vehicle or equipment

    Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).

  • 88%

    Indoors, not heat controlled

    Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).

  • 88%

    Spend time standing

    Spend time standing at work.

  • 87%

    Wear common protective or safety equipment

    Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.

  • 87%

    Exposure to contaminants

    Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.

  • 87%

    Contact with people

    Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.

  • 86%

    Freedom to make decisions

    Have freedom to make decision on your own.

  • 86%

    Time pressure

    Work to strict deadlines.

  • 85%

    Very hot or cold temperatures

    Work in very hot or cold temperatures.

  • 83%

    Health and safety of others

    Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.

  • 83%

    Frequent decision making

    Frequently make decisions that impact other people.

  • 82%

    Impact of decisions

    Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.

  • 82%

    Loud or uncomfortable sounds

    Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.

  • 82%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

  • 80%

    Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings

    Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.

  • 79%

    Unstructured work

    Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 49-9021.01 - Heating and Air Conditioning Mechanics and Installers.


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