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

A Certificate III/IV is usually needed to work in this job and the majority of workers have this qualification. Training is most commonly through an apprenticeship which combines on-the-job training with the qualification. Registration or licensing may be required.

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

Job Titles

  • Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic

    Fast Facts

    • Avg. Weekly Pay

      $1,500 Before Tax
    • Future Growth

      stable
    • Skill Level

      Certificate III or IV
    • Employment Size

      24,300
    • Unemployment

      below average
    • Male Share

      99.9%
    • Female Share

      0.1%
    • Full-Time Share

      92.9%

    Find Vacancies

    This is a large occupation employing 24,300 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
    Little change in the number of jobs is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

    • Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics work in most parts of Australia.
    • They mainly work in: Other Services; Construction; and Retail Trade.
    • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 41.0 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
    • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,500 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • The workforce is fairly young. The average age is 32 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Around 2 in 10 workers are young (aged 15 to 25 years).
    • More than 9 in 10 workers are male.
    • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

    In 2016, employers in some locations found it hard to fill vacancies for Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics. To find out more, view the Department of Employment's latest skill shortage research opens in a new window.

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
    YearNumber of Workers
    200518800
    200619100
    200725800
    200822200
    200923100
    201021900
    201121500
    201226300
    201323700
    201422100
    201524300
    202024300

    Weekly Earnings

    Full-time Earnings

    All Jobs Average

    Weekly Earnings (before tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsAirconditioning and Refrigeration MechanicsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings15001230

    Hours

    Weekly Hours Worked

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryAirconditioning and Refrigeration MechanicsAll Jobs Average
    Full-time92.968.4
    Part-time7.131.6
    Average Weekly Hours (full-time)41.040.0

    Main Industries

    Top Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Other Services49.7
    Construction36.9
    Retail Trade4.4
    Manufacturing3.1
    Other Industries5.9

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateAirconditioning and Refrigeration MechanicsAll Jobs Average
    NSW35.831.8
    VIC21.225.5
    QLD15.019.8
    SA8.86.8
    WA13.811.2
    TAS0.62.0
    NT3.11.1
    ACT1.61.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketAirconditioning and Refrigeration MechanicsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-199.1-5.45.4
    20-2412.7-9.99.9
    25-3434.7-23.423.4
    35-4416.5-21.721.7
    45-5416.6-21.121.1
    55-593.2-8.78.7
    60-645.7-5.95.9
    65 and Over1.4-3.83.8

    Gender

    Male Share

    Female Share

    Gender (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryAirconditioning and Refrigeration MechanicsCategoryAll Jobs Average
    Males99.9Males53.6
    Females0.1Females46.4

    Education Level

    Top Education Levels

    Highest Level of Education (% share)

    Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationAirconditioning and Refrigeration MechanicsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.0-8.68.6
    Bachelor degree0.0-17.917.9
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma5.6-10.110.1
    Certificate III/IV62.0-18.918.9
    Year 1225.6-18.718.7
    Years 11 & 106.8-17.717.7
    Below Year 100.0-8.18.1

    A Certificate III/IV is usually needed to work in this job and the majority of workers have this qualification. Training is most commonly through an apprenticeship which combines on-the-job training with the qualification. Registration or licensing may be required.

    If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
    The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

    It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

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

    Knowledge

    The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Mechanical

      90% Important

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

    2. Customer and Personal Service

      84% Important

      Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

    3. Building and Construction

      77% Important

      Materials, methods, and the tools used to construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

    4. Physics

      68% Important

      Physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

    5. Design

      68% Important

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

    Occupational Information Network Heating and Air Conditioning Mechanics and Installers Opens in a new window
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

    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.

    Activities

    The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment

      92% Important

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

    2. Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge

      88% Important

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

    3. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

      86% Important

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

    4. Getting Information

      85% Important

      Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

    5. Handling and Moving Objects

      85% Important

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

    Occupational Information Network Heating and Air Conditioning Mechanics and Installers Opens in a new window
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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