Are you wondering how to become a commercial refrigeration technician? If you’re a hard worker, self-motivated, and in search of a new career path, a commercial refrigeration technician may be the perfect job for you. As a commercial refrigeration professional, you will help businesses, ranging from small convenience stores to large supermarkets and huge production plants with their refrigeration and freezer systems.
Commercial refrigeration technicians manage projects, diagnosing mechanical problems and coming up with effective solutions. Many companies need to keep products refrigerated, and they will inevitably need system maintenance, repair, and replacement. So, the field of commercial refrigeration will continue to be in demand.
How Do You Become a Commercial Refrigeration Technician?
The most common way to start a career in the commercial refrigeration is by attending a trade school program and obtaining your HVAC license. By attending a trade school program full-time, you can complete the curriculum in as little as 10 months.
There are many benefits to attending a formal education in Commercial Refrigeration, rather than starting in an apprenticeship. These benefits include:
A Quicker Start
Starting as an apprentice can be a way to learn commercial refrigeration but it can take many years of experience before you can work independently on HVAC and commercial refrigeration systems. Attending the Interactive College of Technology (ICT) Commercial Refrigeration program can get you started in this career in as little as 10 months.
Not only is it faster to attend Interactive College of Technology, but you won’t have any knowledge gaps from learning piece-mail. As an apprentice, you learn about what is broken. If you end up doing the same fix over and over, you may not get a complete and well-rounded education about the entire refrigeration system. A complete education will prepare you to handle anything that comes your way.
Not only is the curriculum complete, but you will learn in a structured manner. You will start off with the basics and move on to the fundamentals, one topic at a time. And each new topic will build upon the last, in a structured way that is easier to learn than as an apprentice. And yes, you will get lots of hands-on experience working on real commercial refrigeration projects. During a 135-hour externship, under supervision, you gain real-world experience by top employers in the area.
Industry Experienced Instructors
The best part about a formal education is that you are taught by instructors that are well-versed in commercial refrigeration and have already been in your shoes. Our instructors know what you need to succeed in the industry, and they keep close ties with community employers to offer the best curriculum available. Anything that is new will be added to the curriculum, so you are prepared to start working after graduation.
After graduation, with the assistance of the career services staff, you can look for a position with an existing company or start working on building your own. Interactive College of Technology offers resume building, mock interviews, and job placement upon graduation. We identify your passion and match you with the right job that utilizes your knowledge and skills. We may even hear about a position before the general public. Employers understand that graduates are work ready and less resources are needed to onboard graduates of Interactive College of Technology.
What Do You Learn During a Commercial Refrigeration Program?
During your coursework, you’ll learn the ins and outs of working as a commercial refrigeration technician. After graduation, you will have the confidence, knowledge, and skills to start working with real customers and handling real-life jobs. Some of the classes you will take during a Commercial Refrigeration program include:
Applied Principles of Electrical Circuits
Refrigeration appliances, no matter how big or small, require electricity to function, and in most cases, quite a bit of it. This isn’t limited to heating and cooling appliances, either; refrigerators or freezers also use electricity to function. So, if you are frequently installing and maintaining commercial refrigeration systems, you’ll need a solid foundational knowledge of electrical circuits and wiring work.
During your Commercial Refrigeration program, you will learn how to work with electrical circuits. However, when working with electrical systems, safety comes first. By the time you’re finished with your training, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to safely work with all kinds of electrical circuits.
Customer Service & Safety
As a commercial refrigeration technician, you will work face-to-face with customers every day. Whether you’re assisting business owners, store managers, or warehouse production managers, you’ll need good customer service skills. There are certain methods and approaches you can learn, during your training, which help you provide your customers with the best possible customer experience.
Another major focus of the Commercial Refrigeration program is on-the-job safety. Working with commercial refrigeration systems can be dangerous if you don’t have the proper equipment or fail to practice safety procedures. For example, a furnace that’s set up improperly could become a fire hazard or at risk for a carbon monoxide leak. Whether you’re working on heaters, air conditioners, or refrigerators, safety must be the top priority, and your educational training will thoroughly prepare you to perform your job safely.
Gas, Electric, & Heat Pump Heating Systems
As part of the HVAC training, gas furnaces, electric furnaces, and heat pumps are the three most common types of heating units you will work on, and you’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of each during the Commercial Refrigeration program. Classes will cover the basics of how each heating system works, and the common mechanical problems that can occur with them. You’ll also cover the proper diagnostic and repair techniques for each appliance, giving you hands-on experience on commercial refrigeration systems.
Residential and Commercial Refrigeration Systems
Your training program will also include a class on residential and commercial refrigeration systems. You will learn how residential and commercial refrigeration systems operate, issues they may encounter, and the basics of maintenance and repair. While the basics are essentially the same for both small and large refrigerators, commercial refrigeration systems are more complex and take a higher-level understanding of refrigeration fundamentals.
In addition to learning about refrigerators and freezers and how they operate, you will also get hands-on experience. Projects will offer repair scenarios as well as different exercises to become familiar with refrigeration equipment.
Refrigeration management covers topics like handling and controlling refrigerants, protecting against food loss and spoilage, keeping refrigerators and freezers energy efficient, and ensuring that units always remain compliant with food and safety standards. Many of the clients you work with will need assistance and advisement in these areas, and your training program will give you experience that you can use each day in your new career.
Advanced Programmable Logic Controls
During the Commercial Refrigeration program, you will lean how to monitor and maintain programmable logic controls. These industrial computer control systems continuously monitor data to make better decisions on temperature and humidity. Each product will have a different ideal temperature and humidity setting. The programmable logic controls learn the best levels based on the input from the user and sensors in the refrigeration system.
A programmable logic controller has three main parts, that you will learn about during the Commercial Refrigeration program. They include the processor, power supply and an input/output section.
Low Voltage Controls and Thermostats
While you’re attending classes to become a commercial refrigeration technician, you will learn about the differences between low and high-voltage thermostats, what they’re most commonly used for, and how to properly work with them. In many cases, to help business owners solve their refrigeration-related problems, you’ll need to be an expert on all types of controls and thermostats.
EPA and NATE Certification
One of the most important aspects of completing a Commercial Refrigeration program is obtaining your certifications. The Environmental Protection Agency requires certain certifications for any HVAC technicians that maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere. They must have a Section 608 Technician Certification. There are four different levels of certification you can achieve, and your instructor will help you prepare for the EPA-approved tests.
A NATE certification can be very beneficial and open many more opportunities for your career. Generally, businesses and customers will strongly favor commercial refrigeration technicians that are NATE-certified. The certification is administered by the North American Technician Excellence organization, and to pass, you’ll need to score 70 percent or higher. However, you will need at least two years of experience working in the HVAC field to be eligible for certification. Your educational course will provide you with the expertise you’ll need to prepare for the NATE certification exam.
Now that you know how to become a commercial refrigeration technician, it is time to learn more about Interactive College of Technology. We prepare you for day one of a new career in commercial refrigeration, building the confidence you need to work with customers in the field and take the EPA and NATE certification exams. Start a career that is in demand and help others in the process. It’s a win-win.
Want to Learn More?
Our Commercial Refrigeration training program is designed to provide you with a foundation in commercial refrigeration* as it relates specifically to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry. We emphasize advanced HVAC concepts such as controls, temperature programming, and computer fundamentals.
An externship is a part of the commercial refrigeration training program and assigns you to a partnering company for 135 hours, giving you the opportunity to put your new skills to use and gain real-life career training experience. Plus, after you graduate, our Lifetime Career Placement Support program will be there to help you find work whenever you need it.
Let’s take the first step together! Contact us now to learn more.