Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineer

Career information

What do they do?

Refrigeration and air conditioning engineers manufacture, install and maintain the systems used to store and transport perishable items such as food and medicine. Your work environment can change one day to the next from a shipping container to an apartment block.

A typical day

Normally an eight-hour day; sometimes working longer may be required.

Work can include installing and maintaining refrigeration and air conditioning systems in office buildings, hospitals and factories, through to refrigeration engineering in warehouses, ships, containers and trucks.

You are likely to work in many different locations from day to day.

Sound like you?

Study areas
  • English or Media or History
  • Maths or Accounting or Economics
  • Sciences or Workshop Technologies
  • Computing/ICT/Information Management.
  • Strong eye for detail
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Good organisational skills
  • Good work habits/time management.
Helpful experience
  • Analysing, researching or problem solving
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery
  • Working with computers.
Preferred work environments
  • Indoors (workshop or plant)
  • Outside (outdoors)
  • Different places from time to time.



These can be useful from school:

Ideally NCEA Level 2 in:

  • Maths
  • Science (physics)
  • Technology (metal work)
  • English.
Entry level jobs


  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineer
  • Air Conditioning Systems Designer
  • Industrial Refrigeration Engineer
  • Commercial Refrigeration Engineer
  • Transport Refrigeration Engineer.
Advancing jobs

Higher learning

  • Specialist Engineer
  • Supervisor.
Senior jobs

Higher learning

  • Foreman
  • Site Supervisor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner


New Zealand Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Trade) (Level 4)

Graduates will be able to:apply engineering trade skills and knowledge to plan, troubleshoot, recondition, and test when maintaining and servicing a range of RAC plant and equipmentapply engineering trade skills and knowledge to plan, install, and test a range of RAC equipment in accordance with industry and statutory standardscommission basic installations and work with specialists to commission the full range of complex plant and equipmentapply an understanding of the principles of RAC system design and applications to all aspects of their workrecover refrigerant into a cylinder and charge refrigeration systems in accordance with current regulationsapply knowledge of the use and management of refrigerants in the RAC industry to safely meet all relevant environmental and industrial legislationcarry out the electrical work associated with installing, maintaining, servicing and commissioning refrigeration plant and equipmentapply an understanding of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and workplace safety culture to work safely and meet responsibilities in a commercial environmentrecognise the limits of their ability and the importance of working with integrity and maintaining currency.

Available jobs

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Apprentice
Commercial Refrigeration Solutions - Co Sell
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