Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics
Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics assemble, install, maintain and repair industrial, commercial and domestic airconditioning and refrigeration systems and equipment.
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
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
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.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
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.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics||All Jobs Average|
Around 60% of Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics live in capital cities, similar to the all jobs average of 62%.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Perth - North West
- Melbourne - South East
- Gold Coast
- Sydney - Outer West and Blue Mountains
- Melbourne - Outer East.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
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)
|Age Bracket||Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||1.8||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
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.
- 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)
|Type of Qualification||Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||0.4||10.1|
|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 can be improved through training or experience.
Fixing machines or systems.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
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.
Reading work related information.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
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.
Talking to others.
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.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Teaching people how to do something.
Deciding on the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
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.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
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.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
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.
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.
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.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Communicate by speaking.
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).
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
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.
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.
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 are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
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.
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.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Work with people in a group or team.
80%Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
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.