Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

In 1882 the first refrigerated shipment of frozen meat left New Zealand for Britain. That's just one example of how the technology this industry supports has transformed our country's economy.

Career information

competenz TRS papakura 28oct 2020 .SRT40980

What does it involve?

Refrigeration and air conditioning engineers manufacture, install and maintain the components used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. These systems provide a climate-controlled environment so it's possible 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.

Typical day

Normally an 8-hour day; sometimes working longer maybe required. Work can include:

  • installing split system air conditioning;
  • ventilation and air conditioning engineering (fabricating, installing and maintaining systems in office buildings, hospitals and factories); and
  • refrigeration engineering in warehouses, ships, containers and trucks.

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


Refrigeration 025
Does this sound like you?

• 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.

• Analysing, researching or problem solving

• Making or fixing things

• Working with machinery

• Working with computers.

• Inside (workshop or plant)

• Outside (outdoors)

• Different places from time to time.

Career pathway

Unit standards

Ideally NCEA Level 2 in:

• Maths

• Science (physics)

• Technology (metal work)

• English


• Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineer

• Air Conditioning Systems Designer

• Industrial Refrigeration Engineer

• Commercial Refrigeration Engineer

• Transport Refrigeration Engineer

Higher learning

• Specialist Engineer

• Supervisor

Higher learning

• Foreman

• Site Supervisor

• Business Manager

• Business Owner

How much could I earn?

  • 3 – 5 years experience

    $50k- $95k