Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Technician Kaihangarau Pūrere Whakamātao

Refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians install, service and maintain refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

Qualified refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians need to be registered and licensed with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.

To work with compressed gas you must hold an approved filler compliance certificate.

Refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • advise clients on different refrigeration/air-conditioning systems
  • install refrigeration/air-conditioning systems
  • test, adjust and balance systems to make sure they work properly
  • check refrigeration/air-conditioning systems for faults and repair them
  • manage and supervise less experienced refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians.

Physical Requirements

Refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians need to have a good level of fitness and be strong as they may need to carry heavy tools and equipment.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians includes:

  • plumbing and gasfitting
  • work in an engineering workshop
  • electrical work.

Personal Qualities

Refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians need to be:

  • able to work accurately with their hands
  • good problem solvers
  • able to follow health and safety guidelines
  • good at making calculations and problem solving
  • comfortable working in enclosed spaces and at heights.


Refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians need to have knowledge of:

  • mechanical and electrical systems
  • how gases behave at different pressures and temperatures
  • basic physics and chemistry
  • the advantages and disadvantages of different refrigeration/air-conditioning systems
  • how to interpret building plans and technical drawings.


Refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians:

  • may work more than 40 hours a week, including evenings and weekends 
  • may work shifts
  • work indoors and outdoors on commercial and residential sites
  • may work in confined spaces or at heights
  • may travel to work on projects.

Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Technicians can earn around $44K-$46K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Technician are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians depends on skills, experience and where they work.

  • Apprentice refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians may start on the training minimum wage or minimum wage, with pay increasing as they gain skills or complete unit standards.
  • Qualified refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians usually earn between $50,000 and $95,000 a year.
  • Highly experienced refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians who manage teams or own their own businesses may earn more.

Source: Kelly Services, '2019 Salary Guide', March 2019.

Refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians may progress to set up their own refrigeration or air-conditioning business.

They may specialise in either refrigeration or air-conditioning systems.

Years Of Training

0-4 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become a refrigeration/air-conditioning technician as you gain skills on the job. However, many employers prefer to hire refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians who have or are working towards a qualification.

To become a fully qualified refrigeration/air-conditioning technician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning – Trade (Level 4).  Competenz oversees refrigeration/air-conditioning apprenticeships.

Most refrigeration/air-conditioning technicians also need a driver's license.

Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Technician