Not everyone wants to work in a 9 to 5 office. Some people want a hands-on career where they see an immediate impact. That’s exactly what you can expect when you choose a career as a commercial refrigeration technician. These professionals perform regular maintenance on cooling systems in all types of commercial buildings, from malls to meat processing plants.
Training and Licensing
Getting into the commercial refrigeration industry may require attending an HVAC/R program at a reputable vocational school. This is important because many aspects of the industry are changing and becoming more complex. 1 Some skills you can expect to learn in trade school include reading blueprints and design specifications, connecting systems to fuel, water and power supply lines, installing electrical wiring, and testing components. 2
It can take anywhere from six months to two years to receive trade school certification, and as a refrigeration technician, you would also need the right Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification. The EPA offers three types of certifications based on the size of the appliances and type of refrigerants technicians work with. Refrigeration technicians in some states must be licensed as well.
Getting industry-endorsed certifications like NATE show potential employers that you have specialized knowledge that go beyond what you learned in school or on the job. Some of these certificates can be obtained upon graduation from trade school while others require that you have a minimum amount of experience beforehand.
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In-House or Field Technician
Commercial refrigeration technicians may work for one company working on their units. In this career path, you’ll likely work in a routine environment, but your duties will vary depending on the company’s needs, whether they are the installation, maintenance, or repair of refrigeration equipment.
Field technicians work for companies that specialize in offering refrigeration services to businesses, factories, industries, and other commercial enterprises. As a field technician, you could probably expect no two days to be exactly the same. Some days you may be called on to maintain or repair a variety of units; other days you may focus on working for one or two clients. You will need not only refrigeration skills but also strong customer service and communication skills as you explain refrigeration problems and solutions in a manner that is easy for clients to understand.
Bright Future for Commercial Refrigeration Techs
Refrigeration technology is essential to countless commercial and industrial facilities. The future for those wanting to work in the commercial refrigeration industry is promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sets job growth in this field at 14% through 2024, which is faster than average. The field is growing fast and is expected to continue and those working in the industry can achieve career advancement and job security.
1 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-4
2 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-2