What Is a Refrigeration Engineer? (With Salary and Job Outlook)

Refrigeration engineers are generally called to design and oversee the fabrication of both residential and industrial refrigeration systems, as well as troubleshoot any potential problems therewith. This choice of career will require a good knowledge base of thermodynamics, as well as computer-aided design systems. Refrigeration engineers must also have an understanding of health and safety regulation standards.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real refrigeration engineer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

Competenz Trades: How to become a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer – William Lovell

What does a refrigeration engineer do?

A refrigeration engineer completes various tasks necessary to create, install and maintain cooling systems, including:

What is a refrigeration engineer?

A refrigeration engineer is an engineering professional who designs and installs refrigeration systems in places such as restaurants, medical facilities, warehouses and trucks. Often considered a subset of mechanical engineering, refrigeration engineering requires in-depth knowledge of cooling systems and the ways they transfer energy, a process called thermodynamics. A refrigeration engineer typically understands energy transfer and uses this knowledge to select, design and build cooling systems that meet customer needs. Additionally, they may work with heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems that many businesses and homes use.

Typical work environment for refrigeration engineers

A refrigeration engineer often works in grocery stores, hotels, manufacturing companies and restaurants to oversee refrigeration systems. Some examples of spaces that may use refrigeration systems include walk-in coolers, air-conditioned delivery trucks, commercial refrigeration units or large industrial systems. While refrigeration engineers may work directly for these businesses, they often work for refrigeration and cooling system manufacturing companies. This may offer them the opportunity to work in a traditional office setting. Refrigeration engineers may also work on-site to install, test or maintain systems. They may travel to meet with clients and gather information about the organizations cooling needs and requirements.

Career requirements for a refrigeration engineer

If youre considering a career in refrigeration engineering, here are some requirements to consider:


Many refrigeration engineers hold a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering. They may also hold a degree in engineering or a related subject. Many roles and certifications within the refrigeration engineering field require bachelors-level training.

Some refrigeration engineers may also seek additional education to increase their salary and job opportunities. A masters degree program can help a refrigeration engineer increase their skills and knowledge in preparation for a successful career. Many students pursue a masters degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on thermodynamics.


To get a Professional Engineer certification, a refrigeration engineer may take two exams that the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) administers. When theyre nearly finished with, or after theyve graduated from, an accredited bachelors degree program, a refrigeration engineer can take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Once theyve passed this exam and earned sufficient work experience, they can take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. To become licensed to practice in their state, refrigeration engineers can meet specific experience and education requirements set by the state board.

Refrigeration engineers may complete other certifications based on state or federal guidelines. For example, they may seek national certification to handle coolants, a material commonly used in air conditioning units. If they would like to pursue an upper-level role, a refrigeration engineer can earn an Engineering Management Certification through the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).


To earn a Professional Engineer certification, a refrigeration engineer can work under a licensed Professional Engineer for at least four years. This job experience may prepare them for leadership roles within their field. Once certified, a refrigeration engineer may seek training in the form of continuing education to maintain skills and competencies and uphold the standards of their certification. They may utilize continuing education classes, conferences or industry publications to maintain skills and understanding.


Here are some of the skills a refrigeration engineer may need to complete their role successfully:


What type of engineers make refrigerators?

A Refrigeration Engineer works on commercial, residential, public and industrial projects, including transportation and storage. They will plan and design, install, test, commission, report, maintain, fault find and repair systems to a high standard.

How do I become a refrigeration engineer UK?

Refrigeration. You have a refrigerator in your kitchen, but mechanical engineers who specialize in refrigeration do so much more! These engineers usually work in the commercial and industrial sectors.

What is refrigeration and air conditioning technician?

How to become a refrigeration and air-conditioning installer
  1. Level 2 Diploma in Access to Building Services Engineering.
  2. Level 2 Diploma in Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems.
  3. Level 3 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems.
  4. T Level in Building Services Engineering for Construction.

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