Refrigeration and air conditioning installer, Air-con engineer

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers install and service air quality and temperature systems in homes, businesses and transport.

Average salary*

£20000 – £35000+

Typical hours per week


How to become a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer

There are several routes of becoming a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer. You could complete a college course, or an apprenticeship. 

You should explore these routes of becoming a HVAC engineer to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options require qualifications, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions. 

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

College/training provider 

There are various college courses you could take, to help you on your journey to becoming a HVAC engineer, such as: 

  • Level 1 Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning 
  • Level 2 Diploma in Access to Building Services Engineering 
  • Level 2 Diploma in Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems 
  • City & Guilds Level 2 and 3 Diploma in Electrical Installation 
  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating 
  • Level 3 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems. 

You’ll need: 


You could train to become a HVAC engineer by completing an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in building services engineering or refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump engineering. Alternatively, you could enrol on an intermediate apprenticeship in plumbing or electrical installations.  

You’ll need: 

  • 2 – 4 GCSEs, including English and maths, or equivalent (intermediate apprenticeship) 
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths (advanced apprenticeship). 

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.  


If you have GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and maths, along with good practical skills, you might be able to get a job as an electrician or plumber’s mate, trainee or assistant. You could then gain further training to develop your skills or specialise in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. 

Work experience 

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a HVAC engineer. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV. 


Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a HVAC engineer include:  

  • Understanding of building and construction 
  • Capable of using tools and machines 
  • Excellent attention to detail 
  • Good customer service skills 
  • Logical thinking skills 
  • Ability to use your initiative. 

What does a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer do?

As a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer, you will ensure temperature and ventilation systems are working efficiently and safely. 

The job role of a HVAC engineer involves the following duties:  

  • Surveying sites ahead of fitting heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems 
  • Planning the placement of pipework, ducts and control panels 
  • Installing HVAC components 
  • Performing quality checks to ensure systems are working efficiently and safely 
  • Carrying out maintenance on HVAC systems 
  • Finding and fixing faults 
  • Helping customers to reduce their energy use

How much could you earn as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer?

The expected salary for a HVAC engineer varies as you become more experienced. 

  • Newly trained HVAC engineers can earn in the region of £20,000 
  • Experienced HVAC engineers can earn up to £35,000+
  • Self-employed HVAC engineers set their own pay rates.*

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do. 

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources

Find an apprenticeship/job


Apprenticeships in England

Apprenticeships in Scotland

Apprenticeships in Wales


Check out the latest HVAC engineer vacancies:  

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role will vary.  

Career path and progression

As a HVAC engineer, you could either work for an established business, or set yourself up as a self-employed installer or consultant.