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Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Mechanics

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NOC:7313
Occupation:Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Mechanics
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

Heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning mechanics install, maintain, repair and overhaul residential central air conditioning systems, commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning systems and combined heating, ventilation and cooling systems. They are employed by heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning installation contractors, various industrial settings, food wholesalers, engineering firms and retail and servicing establishments. Transport refrigeration mechanics are included in this group.

Job duties:
Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Read and interpret blueprints, drawings or other specifications.
  • Measure and lay out reference points for installation.
  • Assemble and install refrigeration or air conditioning components such as motors, controls, gauges, valves, circulating pumps, condensers, humidifiers, evaporators and compressors using hand and power tools.
  • Measure and cut piping, and connect piping using welding and brazing equipment.
  • Install, troubleshoot and overhaul entire heating, ventilation, air handling, refrigeration, and air conditioning systems.
  • Startup system and test for leaks using testing devices.
  • Recharge system with refrigerant, check and test regulators, calibrate system and perform routine maintenance or servicing.
  • Repair and replace parts and components for entire refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation or heat pump systems.
  • May install, maintain and repair equipment in refrigerated trucks used to transport food or medical supplies.
  • May prepare work estimates for clients.
Sample job titles:
  • air conditioning and heating mechanic
  • heating and cooling mechanic
  • heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) mechanic
  • refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic
  • refrigeration and mechanical technician
  • refrigeration mechanic
  • refrigeration technician
  • transport refrigeration technician
Skills:

This work requires an understanding of the principles of electricity and a mechanical aptitude. You should be able to follow instructions and perform detailed work. A strong background in mathematics and the sciences is important. You should also have physical strength, stamina, and the ability to work at heights.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a three- to five-year apprenticeship program or a combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in refrigeration and air conditioning repair is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Trade certification for refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.
Other considerations:

Workers may be self-employed and provide services as needed to their clients. Therefore, earnings may vary throughout the year and depend upon the person's ability to attract and retain customers. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline slightly over the next few years, which may affect the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically temporary positions (such as a term, contract, or casual work). With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 70% of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $54,077. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Mechanics490decline slightly30Moderate
Minimum: $14.75
Median: $28.25
Maximum: $39.00
Minimum: $6,836
Median: $51,037
Maximum: $88,418
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning MechanicsCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time93%89%
Percent self-employed27%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentHeating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning MechanicsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern9%$39,59612%$30,581
Northern13%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton6%x13%$32,974
Halifax54%$52,11747%$41,209
Annapolis Valley18%$50,07213%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeHeating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning MechanicsCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
15-2410%x
25-3448%13%
35-4413%33%
45-5417%34%
55-6413%19%
65+4%x
Median Age4047
GenderHeating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning MechanicsCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Female0%5%
Male100%95%
EducationHeating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning MechanicsCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school6.2%$42,06118.2%$25,753
High school10.6%$38,05525.5%$28,089
Trades certificate47.8%$66,20029.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma31.9%$58,01322.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degree2.7%x2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diploma1.8%x0.2%$41,705
Master's degreeN/Ax0.3%x
DoctorateN/Ax0.0%$36,029
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.0%$3,714
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Mechanic
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717
apprenticeship@novascotia.ca
Useful contacts:
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717
Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada - Atlantic
PO Box 9410, Station A
Halifax, NS B3K 5S3
Tel: (902) 425-2445
Fax: (902) 425-2441

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration maintenance technology/technician (HAC, HACR, HVAC, HVACR)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair, install, service and maintain the operating condition of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. These programs include courses in diagnostic techniques, the use of testing equipment and the principles of mechanics, electricity, and electronics as they relate to the repair of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
waterfront.info@nscc.ca
Additional resources:

Work Occupation Video(s)

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic