Learn to install, maintain, repair and overhaul industrial, commercial and residential refrigeration and air conditioning systems and their parts.

At installation sites, you'll work from drawings or verbal instructions to:

  • mount or place system components
  • assemble and install refrigeration or air conditioning systems and components
  • install and calibrate related controls (including wiring) and start-up systems
  • test lines to detect leaks
  • record the readings taken to ensure that the system is functioning satisfactorily.

Maintenance involves checking all system parts, lubricating moving parts and monitoring the refrigerant charge. When there is a malfunction, you will diagnose the problem and fix the unit by replacing or repairing controls, electric wiring or other parts.

You may also repair heating equipment, troubleshoot gas-fired equipment and calibrate all gas-related controls.

Certification is required to work in this trade. This means that you must either be a registered apprentice working under the guidance of a certified journeyperson or you must be a certified journeyperson yourself.

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics are skilled tradespeople who like collaborating with others as well as working independently.

This line of work is most fulfilling for those who enjoy working with their hands in various environments and developing specialized skills.

To succeed in this trade, you should:

  • enjoy solving problems
  • be a creative thinker
  • have good coordination and manual dexterity
  • have good customer service skills
  • be adaptable to working in different environments
  • have good physical strength and stamina
  • have mechanical aptitude
  • be able to work independently with little supervision or in a team environment
  • be committed to maintaining safe working conditions.

Upon successfully completing the required working hours and technical training periods, you'll be awarded an advanced diploma in addition to journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

This is a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada.

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Associated National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes: 72302, 72402, 72420, 73200.

Apprenticeship training

The term of apprenticeship for a refrigeration and air condition mechanic is 4 years (four 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of classroom instruction each year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You’ll learn about occupational skills and cover an introduction to refrigeration, air conditioning and heating, electrical theory and controls.  

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 2 | Period 2

You'll learn basic refrigeration and air conditioning, basic heating, basic electrical theory and basic controls.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 3 | Period 3

You will learn intermediate refrigeration and air conditioning, intermediate heating theory, intermediate electrical theory and air handling theory.

Training length: 8 weeks

Year 4 | Period 4

You will then learn advanced refrigeration theory, advanced heating theory, complex air system theory and advanced control systems.

Training length: 8 weeks 

Apprenticeship education performance

You must pass each section of the course and the AIT exam to succeed in apprenticeship education. 

The passing grade for each period is no less than 50% in each course, with no less than a 65% average overall. A passing mark on each provincial exam and the interprovincial qualification (Red Seal Exam) is 70%.

View Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training procedures

Training pathways

You can earn your journeyperson designation in the following way.  

The traditional training pathway begins with finding a job with an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice. Once you are an apprentice, you will alternate between on-the-job training and educational periods. 
You must apply for an apprenticeship through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training before attending your first education period at SAIT. 

A Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic apprentice works on an electrical panel.

Pre-employment pathway

SAIT’s Pre-employment Refrigeration and Air Conditioning program prepares you to enter into an apprenticeship with hands-on skills. Upon successfully completing the program, you’ll qualify to challenge the first-year Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic apprenticeship exam.

Admission requirements

To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.

Entrance requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Minimum requirements

Successful completion of the following courses:

  • English 30-2
  • Math 30-3
  • Physics 20 or Chemistry 20


A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests


Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance exam.

Recommended requirements

Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:

  • English 30-2
  • Math 30-3
  • Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20
  • Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
A woman wearing coveralls and a welding helmet poses for a photograph in a SAIT welding lab.


Once you have begun working as an apprentice, you can attend SAIT to complete your technical training.

You'll register for technical training at SAIT on MyTradeSecrets or you can register by phone.

Transfer agreements

At SAIT, we evaluate post-secondary credit you have previously earned and apply it to your SAIT credential. Explore our formal transfer agreements available for this program.

We can evaluate your prior education, even if we don't have a formal agreement in place.

Submit a transfer credit application

There are no formal transfer agreements currently in place for this program.

Transfer options for graduates

Build on the knowledge you’ve learned at SAIT. The opportunity to advance your education at an accredited post-secondary institution may be available.

🔗 Visit Transfer Alberta for a full list of transfer opportunities within the province.


Program name
Bachelor of Business Administration
Available credits:

Upon successful completion of this apprenticeship program, qualified tradespeople with Red Seal certification and three to five years of management experience are eligible to apply to the third year of NAIT’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program.

Applicants must also demonstrate the necessary prerequisites from high school.

Available intakes


2024/25 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2024.

The estimated total cost of 2024/25 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
2 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
3 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
4 8 $1,152 $329 $1,481
Total cost:

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

Books or modules, along with other items for classes, are approximately $600 per period.

We recommend you don't purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes, and they cannot be returned to the Bookstore.

This program requires personal protective equipment (PPE), which may be an additional cost.

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Funding options for apprentices

Apprentices get to learn while they earn, but there are still costs to consider. Many resources are available at SAIT and federally to help support apprentices.

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.


Have more questions?

Technical training at SAIT

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Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Services

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SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.