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What Does an Air Conditioning Technician Do?

When it's hot out, it's nice to have an air conditioner to cool off, but what if your air conditioner is broken or you don't have one? Enter an air conditioning technician. This article tells you what an air conditioning technician does.

Career Overview

As an air conditioning technician, you would be trained in installation and service, capable of identifying problems, installing, maintaining, and repairing equipment. Small residential homes and large commercial or industrial buildings may have air conditioning (AC) systems. You may work in inhospitable conditions due to malfunctioning equipment or bad weather. Some aspects of your job can be hazardous, because you might have to work with large objects or dangerous materials.

Important Facts About Air Conditioning Technicians

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree focused on air conditioning repair
On-the-Job Training Apprenticeship programs available
Professional Certification Entry-level certification available through trade or technical schools; HVACR technicians with experience can obtain certification through the North American Technician Excellence, HVAC Excellence, the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute, and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
Similar Occupations Boilermakers, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, sheet metal workers

Duties and Responsibilities

Installation of an AC system may require you to first look over the blueprints to familiarize yourself with the layout, followed by installing pumps, air ducts, vents, water supply lines, and other components determined by the type of AC. After placing a unit, you may have to connect the wiring and controls. You would then ensure that the AC is working properly. Regular maintenance and repair work may be part of your duties to keep the air conditioning unit functioning properly. You can also expect to work with refrigeration units since they use the same type of technology as air conditioning units.

You may work as an AC technician in the automotive industry. Automotive AC techs generally install and diagnose problems with AC systems included in cars. They also repair any problems. In addition, you may find yourself maintaining the various components, including controls, condensers, and compressors. You may be required to service different kinds of AC systems used in cars and/or trucks. If you are a residential, commercial, or automotive AC tech, you would be required to keep up-to-date with new technology in the field. You would also be responsible for recovering and recycling, along with the proper storage of refrigerants or coolants used in air conditioning systems.


The tools you are expected to work with include acetylene torches, carbon monoxide testers, pipe cutters, voltmeters, pressure gauges, wrenches, and hammers. Your employment options may include working for small businesses or large companies, as well as becoming an independent contractor.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, most air conditioning technicians earn between $32,000 and $81,000 a year, as of March 2021. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) indicated that the employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase by 4% between 2019 and 2029.