Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Mechanics

(NOC 7313)

in All Trades and Transportation

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 work for heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning installation contractors, various industrial settings, food wholesalers, engineering firms and retail and servicing companies. Transport refrigeration mechanics are included in this group.

Job Outlook

Good

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  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 95 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 4040 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 8425 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Outlook: good, a better than average chance of a qualified individual finding work.

Size of occupation: this is a medium sized occupation with opportunities occurring mainly through turnover.

Demand: strong growth between 2021 and 2023 will provide new opportunities. A moderate number of positions will become available due to retirements.

Unemployment: There are a moderate number of unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupations.

Work hours: full-time, usually. Jobs are typically term, contract, or casual positions.

Some of the workforce is self-employed. Having the option to “work for yourself” may appeal to some individuals.

Hourly Pay

$17.00

Minimum

$28.00

Median

$42.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,836

Minimum

$51,037

Median

$88,418

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

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 work for heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning installation contractors, various industrial settings, food wholesalers, engineering firms and retail and servicing companies. Transport refrigeration mechanics are included in this group.

Job duties

Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics:

  • Read and interpret blueprints, drawings, or other specifications.
  • Measure and lay out reference points for installation.
  • Assemble and install refrigeration or air conditioning components like 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

  • Writing and oral communication.
  • Problem solving.
  • Eye for detail.
  • Ability to be independent and self-directed.
  • Coordination and manual dexterity.
  • Mechanical and mathematical aptitude.
  • Understanding of the principles of electricity.
  • Ability to follow instructions.
  • Good physical condition and strength to lift heavy components.
  • Ability to work at heights.
  • Ability to work with others and deal with customers.
  • Ability to drive a service truck to worksites.

Job requirements

  • High school or equivalent (usually).
  • Training through a 7,200-hour apprenticeship program with four apprenticeship levels: to become an apprentice you first need to have a job - enter an apprenticeship agreement either directly through an employer or after graduating from a college-level pre-apprenticeship program; learn on the job, mentored by a certified journeyperson who signs off on skills in a logbook.
  • Trade Qualifier option, 10,800 hours and other criteria.
  • Certification for refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Write and score a minimum of 70% on the Red Seal exam for refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) allows for interprovincial mobility.

Other considerations

  • Setting: varies from one job to another. Mechanics may work in compressor rooms, on rooftops, refrigerated trucks, and in clean computer rooms. Their work can be indoors and outdoors and may require travel.
  • Work hours: full-time, year-round usually.
  • Risks: working at heights and in confined spaces, some risk of injury from lifting and moving heavy items or working with electricity, gases under high pressure, and hazardous gases.
  • Mechanics must be aware of the physical demands and potential for personal injury when completing tasks.
  • Much of the work is done independently.
  • Changes in technology and materials require continuous learning to keep up with new repair and servicing techniques.
  • Experienced mechanics may advance to supervisory positions or start their own business. They may act as mentors or trainers of apprentices in the trade.
  • Apprentices usually earn a percentage of the journeyperson (fully qualified) rate. This percentage increases as each level of the apprenticeship program is completed.
  • Everyone has fair access to participate and succeed in the apprenticeship system. Everyone who develops the necessary skills and abilities should be able to succeed in the trades and trade qualification system. Work environments in the province support women and equity-seeking communities.

By the numbers

Quick look

570

employed in 2016

92.0%

employed full-time

8.0%

self employed

1.8%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
98.2%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
39.8

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

54.0%

Halifax

$52,622 median annual income
17.7%

Annapolis Valley

$49,111 median annual income
13.3%

North Shore

$51,345 median annual income
8.8%

Southern

$52,868 median annual income
6.2%

Cape Breton

N/A

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

64.6%

Construction

7.1%

Retail trade

6.1%

Manufacturing

5.1%

Public administration

4.0%

Educational services

What is the age of Employment?

24.0%

25-34

22.0%

45-54

19.0%

15-24

19.0%

35-44

13.0%

55-64

3.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

47.4%

Trade Certification

$58,030 median annual income
31.6%

College Diploma

$52,494 median annual income
10.5%

High school

$42,291 median annual income
6.1%

Less than high school

N/A
3.5%

Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Trade Certification

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Apprenticeship - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic

Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship is a structured training program leading to certification in the skilled trades. An apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training and experience with theoretical technical training. You find a job in your trade first and then enter into an apprenticeship agreement. You work 7,200 hours mentored by a certified journeyperson and gain the required skills and knowledge. You also take some technical courses. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency administers the trades training and certification system.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance Technician (HAC, HACR, HVAC, HVACR) - Pre-apprenticeship College Program

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair, install, service and maintain the operating condition of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. They 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.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Trade Qualifier

Trades Program

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency also offers a path to trades certification outside of a formal apprenticeship agreement with a qualified journeyperson. This option includes a set amount of required hours of related experience in the trade, passing a certification exam, and other criteria. Contact the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency for more details.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Mechanic

Compulsory Certification (Mandatory): This is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Individuals must hold a Certification of Qualification, be a registered apprentice, or hold a temporary work permit to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada - Atlantic
Halifax, NS