Refrigeration Technician Job Description

Refrigeration Technicians, commonly known as Refrigeration Mechanics, repair, install and troubleshoot refrigeration systems. They can work on industrial or residential climate-control systems, such as HVAC units, ice machines, beverage equipment and refrigerated storage units. Refrigeration Technicians also perform preventative maintenance in order to avoid future problems or breakdowns. Refrigeration Technicians are generally able to work on mechanical and electrical components of these systems, though some may be trained to specialize in either of these areas.

These technicians might work on equipment in restaurants, hotels, grocery stores or manufacturing companies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth rate for all heating, air conditioning and Refrigeration Technicians is projected to be 14 percent between 2014 and 2024. The continued need to replace and upgrade systems and the use of more sophisticated systems, which will require well-trained technicians for installation and repair purposes, are factors that will fuel this growth.


Refrigeration Technician Duties and Responsibilities

Refrigeration Technicians must complete various tasks pertaining to the operation of refrigeration systems. We have reviewed several job listings and other sources and found the following among the core Refrigeration Technician duties and responsibilities.

Install New Refrigeration Systems

Refrigeration Technicians are typically responsible for installing climate-control systems, and some specialize only in this area. They need to be knowledgeable about all components of these systems, read blueprints and schematics, understand compliance standards, know local building codes and apply welding and soldering techniques as required.

Repair and Upgrade Refrigeration Systems

A primary responsibility of a Refrigeration Technician is to diagnose problems and make repairs to existing equipment. Refrigeration Technicians apply troubleshooting methods, replace parts and run tests to ensure the systems is working properly following repairs. They also upgrade systems to satisfy new regulations or meet new standards.

Maintain Existing Refrigeration Systems

Performing preventative maintenance on refrigeration systems is another primary duty of a Refrigeration Technician. This entails following a checklist of parts and operations that need to be tested during a routine inspection of existing equipment, such as compressors, condensers, electrical connections and motor operations.


Refrigeration Technician Skills

To be successful in this position, Refrigeration Technicians must possess strong analytical, problem solving and organizational skills. They should have the ability to work both independently and in teams as needed. Good math, communication and basic computer skills are also essential for Refrigeration Technicians. They should be in good physical condition, as this job will require that they lift and carry equipment and stand, kneel or stoop for long periods of time. Besides these general skills, many employers might look for potential Refrigeration Technician candidates to possess the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Refrigeration Technicians with these core skills. If you want to work as a Refrigeration Technician, focus on the following.

  • Understanding the operations of commercial and residential refrigeration systems
  • Diagnosing malfunctions and defects in equipment
  • Reading blueprints and electrical and electronic schematics
  • Grasping electrical and plumbing concepts
  • Operating tools, gauges and other testing equipment for refrigeration systems

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Refrigeration Technician toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Knowledge of basic construction methods
  • Possessing mechanical license


Refrigeration Technician Resources

It is helpful to consult additional resources when considering a career as a Refrigeration Technician. Below, we have provided links to several online and print resources that present more details about working as a Refrigeration Technician.

On the Web

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News – An online publication containing articles and news about professional practices, strategies and technologies in the HVACR industry.

Bush Refrigeration Heating & Cooling Blog – A personal insight into the real-life responsibilities and activities of a Refrigeration Technician.

Industry Groups

Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA) – Focusing on professional development opportunities for Refrigeration Technicians and related occupations through conferences, seminars, certification and online and live training courses, RETA has more than 6,000 members and has been in existence for more than 100 years.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) – Established in 1997, NATE is a nonprofit organization providing certification, recertification, training and publications for all HVAC professionals, including Refrigeration Technicians.

Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) – RSES has been offering networking opportunities and educational programs to Refrigeration Technicians since 1933. It provides webinars, online videos, technical manuals, conferences and certification testing information.


Commercial Refrigeration: For Air Conditioning Technicians 2nd Edition – A detailed look at understanding commercial refrigeration equipment, containing professional tips and overviews of important concepts in the servicing of refrigeration equipment.

Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Nineteenth Edition – This book offers an overview of service techniques and procedures for basic and complex refrigeration and A/C systems.


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