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When you hear of a refrigeration technician, the first thing that may pop into your mind is a horror story of your fridge not working and all the great food that you have going to waste. It may conjure up thoughts of you having to throw out food that has gone bad because the thermostat of your refrigerator has stopped working. And while this is a scary reality that many people face, it is a really small-scale way of thinking.
The reality is that refrigeration technicians don't only deal with fixing your fridge in your home, but they also work on commercial refrigeration systems in commercial spaces. Essentially, refrigeration technicians work as climate control specialists. They have their hands in refrigeration maintenance, as well as in HVAC maintenance.
To become a refrigeration technician, you would first need to obtain your high school diploma or obtain your GED, you would then need to complete an HVAC program, you would need to meet all the necessary and required certification and licensing stipulations, and then you can begin seeking employment.
Let us look at this career path and take a closer look at the steps you would need to take to pursue this career.
What Is A Refrigeration Technician And What Do They Do?
When you think of climate control, you probably think about an internal heating system that keeps you warm when it's cold and that keeps you cold when it's warm. But climate control extends far beyond the ambient temperature of a room or a living space.
When you think of climate control, it is also important to think of smaller spaces. These spaces can range from a mini fridge in a hotel room, to a walk-in freezer at a butcher. With all these climate control units that exist, there are people who are needed to install these climate control components, which are needed to troubleshoot any problems and repair them when needed as well.
Aside from working on refrigeration storage units, refrigeration technicians work on ice machines and beverage fridges and equipment as well.
There are a number of skills that you need to be a refrigeration technician which include being reliable, having a superior aptitude in technical processes, a good understanding of mechanical processes, problem-solving skills, a great work ethic, and great communication skills.
What Steps Do You Need To Take To Be A Refrigeration Technician?
Step One: Obtain Your GED Or Complete High School
Learning the trade of being a refrigeration technician requires you to attend a trade school, but to be considered or accepted by a trade school, you first need to graduate from high school, or you need to obtain your GED. Once you have this foundation, attending a trade school becomes much easier.
Step Two: Enroll In and Complete An HVAC Program
Since being a refrigeration technician is heavily based on climate control, it falls under the umbrella of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) courses. Formal training to enter this career path would require you to attend either a six-month program or a two-year program. Attempting a program like this can be completed at a trade school or a college and during this course, you will gain in-depth exposure to current skills and relevant industry updates that will allow you to thrive in this career.
Step Three: Gain Licensure And Certification
Depending on the exact refrigeration unit you are hoping to focus on in your career, you may need to obtain licenses and certifications. This allows you to work with either industrial systems, but there are even certifications and licenses that are required to work on smaller appliances that aren't on a commercial or industrial level. In these cases, you could service units on private or domestic properties.
Step Four: Start Working
Once you meet all the minimum requirements, you can then begin your job hunt, or you can even open up your own company whereby you fix and service refrigeration units for private customers.
What Are The Salary Expectations And Job Outlook For Refrigeration Technicians?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earn a median annual salary of $48,630, and they earn an hourly rate of about $23.38 per hour.
The job outlook for this career path expects to see a projected 5% growth over the next ten years, between 2021 to 2031. Additionally, the field expects to see about 40,100 openings for this career path on average each year.
Is Being A Refrigeration Technician A Good Career Path To Follow?
Being a refrigeration technician is a great career path to follow, especially when you consider that it is a trade skill that is learned. Because it is a trade, it requires direct and hands-on experience, and this just means that it is unlikely that these duties can be taken over by artificial intelligence.
Also, when you consider that you have the opportunity to work for dedicated organizations or you could open up your own establishment, this really does appear to be a viable career path to pursue.
Is It Hard To Become A Refrigeration Technician?
While it may seem like a simple career path to follow, the reality is that as technology and the industry has developed and advanced, Refrigeration systems have become increasingly more complex. This means that technicians need to have an effective and working understanding of the intricate internal refrigeration mechanisms to be successful in the job. While it isn't "easy," with the right mindset, motivation, and determination, you could easily be successful as a refrigeration technician.
How Can You Gain Experience As A Refrigeration Technician?
While enrolling at a trade school will give you the theoretical knowledge to work as a refrigeration technician, and while you will have the opportunity to work on actual HVAC equipment at your trade school, having field experience is a great bonus when the time comes to advance your career. You could consider an apprenticeship that will give you field-related experience, or you could consider an entry-level role to gain further experience.
If the idea of climate control has always fascinated you and if you have the skills to handle the often technical mechanisms of domestic and commercial refrigeration systems, you could consider pursuing the career path of a refrigeration technician.
find refrigeration technician schools near you