Pros and Cons of a Career as a Refrigerator Technician
Refrigerator technicians are responsible for installing and repairing refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. Below is a list of pros and cons to help you decide if this career is the right choice for you.
|Pros of a Career as a Refrigerator Technician|
|Usually only a high school diploma, vocational training or an apprenticeship can get you started in this career**|
|Potential for readily available, full-time work*|
|Job growth expected to rise faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade (21% increase expected from 2012-2022)*|
|Salary averaged around $46,880 a year in 2014*|
|Some companies offer paid apprenticeship programs*|
|Cons of a Career as a Refrigerator Technician|
|Workspaces can be dark, exposed to extreme hot or cold and cramped*|
|Might have to work nights and weekends as needed**|
|Travel potentially required*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Multiple job listings (found April 2012).
Essential Career Information
Job Description and Duties
As a refrigerator technician, you are responsible for installing and repairing refrigeration systems in residences, businesses and schools. Some refrigerator technicians are also trained on heating and cooling installation and service but might prefer to only work in refrigeration. Your responsibilities as a refrigeration technician include maintaining customer relations, troubleshooting and performing mechanical work. As you gain work experience, you can work in advanced technician positions.
Job Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average salary for a refrigerator technician is around $46,880 as of May 2014. For refrigerator technician apprentices, the annual salary is usually around half of that amount to start off. As your training and experience advances, so will your salary. The BLS predicted job growth for refrigerator technicians to be around 21% percent from 2012-2022.
Education and Training Requirements
In order to begin a career as a refrigerator technician, you need a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete either an apprenticeship program or attend a vocational school in order to work in the industry. These programs usually take around two years to complete and some employers do offer paid training. Apprenticeships usually last between 3-5 years. Some states may also require that you become licensed in order to work in the field. Certifications for various levels of work are also available and can show potential employers that you are up-to-date on codes and practices in refrigeration.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that any technician who handles or disposes of refrigerant must be certified to do so. Certification is available on five different levels: Core, Type I, Type II, Type III and Universal. The Core Certification is required before you can earn any other certification. Type I, II and III certifications determine the size and type of appliance you can service, and the Universal Certification means you pass all four certification sections.
Much of your job will involve travel and talking to clients, so strong communication and decision-making skills can be critical to your success. You also need to have technical skills and critical thinking skills that allow you to troubleshoot as well as repair or install refrigeration systems.
Job Postings from Real Employers
Many employers look for employees with experience in repair, installation and maintenance of refrigeration systems. Read the following real job posts from April 2012 to find out additional requirements.
- A refrigeration company in Nebraska is looking for a refrigeration technician that is capable of working with clients and also is able to maintain a wide range of refrigeration systems.
- A refrigeration company in Washington is seeking a full-time refrigeration technician at entry, middle or senior level. Job requirements vary per level and all levels are based on applicable years of experience.
- In North Dakota, a small contracting company is looking for a refrigeration technician who holds at least two years of professional experience in the industry. This position also requires that the applicant is able to fix problems as well as install new systems.
How to Maximize Your Skills
In order to maximize your skills in the refrigeration industry, you might want to learn installation, repair and also basic sales skills. After you have completed your professional training or education, you will want to seek out additional certifications offered by such organizations as the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, for example. Certification can help show that your skills are current and that you are potentially ready to advance your career if you are currently on a lower level.
Other Careers to Consider
If you do not feel that a career as a refrigerator technician is right for you, there are other similar job opportunities available. For example, you might want to consider a career as a home appliance repairer or electrician. Both these jobs require mechanical and technical skills similar to those used by a refrigeration technician.
Though being an electrician requires a high school diploma and an apprenticeship, home appliance repairers only need a high school diploma and some additional on-the-job training. According to the BLS, as of May 2011, electricians earned a median annual salary of about $49,000, but home appliance repairers earned a median annual salary of only about $35,000.