Refrigeration and air-conditioning installer

Alternative titles for this job include Air-con engineer, HVAC engineer

Refrigeration and air-conditioning installers work on air quality and cooling systems in buildings and transport.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

48 to 50 a week

You could work

on call on a rota

How to become a Refrigeration and air-conditioning installer

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship


You may be able to take a college course, to give you some of the knowledge and skills needed to help find a job as a trainee. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
  • Level 2 Diploma in Access to Building Services Engineering
  • Level 2 in Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems
  • Level 3 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information


Most people start as an apprentice from school or college and train on the job. Apprenticeships give you the knowledge and skills you need to work effectively and professionally. Generally, training will take between 2 to 4 years to complete, depending on the apprenticeship programme.

There may also be a limited number of apprenticeship schemes for people aged over 25. Check with employers and the apprenticeships website for vacancy information.

More information

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a refrigeration and air-conditioning installer from the Institute of Refrigeration and the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • analytical thinking skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • persistence and determination
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • have a driving licence for some jobs

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • surveying sites where cooling systems are to be fitted
  • planning the layout of pipework, ducts and control panels
  • installing components
  • carrying out quality checks to make sure systems are working properly and safely
  • carrying out scheduled maintenance
  • finding and fixing faults
  • advising customers on ways to reduce their energy use

Working environment

You could work at a school, in an NHS or private hospital, in a factory or in a commercial building.

Your working environment may be cramped, you'll travel often, dusty and cold.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a refrigeration engineer, designing cooling systems, or move into building services or plumbing. You could also set up your own business.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Apprentice

  • Wage : £148.00 Weekly
  • Location: Hull HU10 7PR

Air Conditioning Apprentice

  • Wage : £228.00 Weekly
  • Location: Manchester M24 5NJ

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a Refrigeration and air-conditioning installer?

Search for training courses near you.

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