Air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics are qualified to work on cooling and air conditioning systems in industrial, commercial and domestic settings. Their work may involve assembling, installing, servicing and repairing refrigeration and air conditioning systems in all types of properties, ranging from factories to public buildings to homes. In some cases, a refrigeration mechanic may specialise in a specific area or field, such as cold storage, food processing plants or transportable refrigeration (i.e., trucks or ships).Currently, it is estimated that there are around 2,300 refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics in South Australia with median weekly earnings at around $951 to $1150. Opportunities for employment are often dependent upon the levels of activity in the building and refurbishment industries, in particular in the commercial and industrial sectors, although the Metals, Manufacturing and Services Industry Training Council suggests that employment prospects remain high in the industry.Education and TrainingIn order to work in this trade in South Australia, it is usually necessary to have completed a four-year apprenticeship, which includes practical on-the-job training provided by an employer and formal qualifications, usually a Certificate III in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (UEE32211). One further potential route to obtaining the appropriate qualifications is through a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship.Appropriate training and courses for apprentices are offered in South Australia by TAFE SA and PEER VEET. There are further courses available for those who want to specialise in a particular field or attain higher-level qualifications, including a number of Accredited (Award) courses.Licensing requirements in South AustraliaIn South Australia, anyone who works with refrigerant gases requires a National Refrigerant Handling Licence. Applications for a Full Refrigerant and Air Conditioning Licence should be made through the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC).Tradesmen in South Australia who are self-employed or operate as a contractor are required to hold a Plumber and Gas Fitter’s Contractors Licence and to meet all licensing requirements. Further information regarding licensing can be obtained from Consumer and Business Services (CBS).Currently, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments are in the process of introducing a National Occupational Licensing System for a number of specified occupations which will make available a nationwide public register of licensee information. It is intended that there will be a consistent standard of information across all states available on this register and that the information will assist consumers in making informed choices when engaging a tradesman. It will also mean that licensed tradesmen will be able to operate in any state in Australia. This new national system is expected to be in place some during 2013. Further information is available from the National Occupational Licensing Authority http://nola.gov.au.Professional bodiesAir Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA)AMCA is an organisation of air conditioning and mechanical services companies who have come together to represent the industry.Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH)AIRAH encourages best practice within the industry through continuing professional development, accreditation programmes and a wide range of technical publications.