Refrigeration Mechanic vs Electrician: What is The Difference?

It is a question we come across quite frequently; is there really a difference between an electrician and a Refrigeration Mechanic? The answer is yes! There is a huge difference between the two. Below, we have outlined the main differences between a refrigeration mechanic or air conditioning technician and an electrician:


There is a distinct difference in the certification for air conditioning when it comes to a refrigeration mechanic compared to an electrician. For an electrician to be qualified to work in air conditioning, they are required to take a 2-day course to receive a Certificate II in Air Conditioning. This allows them to install, decommission, and remove split systems.

A refrigeration mechanic, on the other hand, is required to complete a Certificate III in Engineering which is a four-year apprenticeship. This provides on the job training and allows the individual to work with all types of air conditioning including ducted and split systems, rooftop packages, and chilled water and refrigeration.


An air conditioning technician is able to receive a full ARCtick License and become a Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) Licensed refrigeration/air conditioning specialist. An ARCtick License, also known as a Refrigeration and Air Conditioning License, is a legal requirement, provided by the Australian Refrigeration Council, for those training or working in the refrigeration and air conditioning sectors. This gives a refrigeration mechanic the ability to maintain, repair, and recharge systems of all sizes.

An electrician can only receive a restricted ARCtick license and cannot be QBCC licensed. This only allows for the installation, decommission, and removal of split systems. Under the QBCC, electricians can only perform jobs of up to $3,000.00. An electrician is not meant to perform air conditioning repairs or maintenance as they do not have the licensing to do so. This can mean that repair work performed by an electrician can void warranties and may not be up to code.


One of the main differences between the two is the knowledge base. A refrigeration mechanic or air conditioning technician has an understanding of the full operations of a system including the refrigeration process and air flows. They are able, not only to look at air con systems, but also refrigeration. They have a minimum of four years of experience from their apprenticeship and have knowledge under their belt related to system design, sizing, and equipment. This leaves them ready to tackle any size project, no matter the scope or cost.

Though an electrician can slowly gain on-the-job experience of smaller air conditioning jobs and about split systems, they do not have the on-the-job experience with larger more complex systems and situations. Though they can install the systems themselves, they cannot troubleshoot and cannot ensure ongoing maintenance of the system.

When looking to get air conditioning or refrigeration installed, it is always advisable to consult both a refrigeration mechanic and an electrician. The electrician might have advice about how to integrate the system into the existing electrical framework, but the refrigeration mechanic will have the in-depth knowledge to design and implement the system.

Looking for a refrigeration mechanic to work with on your next build? Contact Technicool today!

Technicool Air Conditioning

Artick License No: AU04080
QBCC License No: 700698

7/152 Bluestone Cct, Seventeen Mile Rocks QLD 4073