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New Zealand Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Trade Assistant) (Level 3)

New Zealand Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Trade Assistant) (Level 3)

Level 3

If you’re interested in a career installing and servicing refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Trade Assistant) Level 3 is a good starting point to learn the necessary skill.

Air conditioning unit
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year full-time (32 weeks)
Part-time option available.
(See Course Hours & Duration for details)

25 Jul 2022 - 21 Apr 2023

Domestic Fees: *
$6470.00 [Eligible for fees-free (up to $6,500 per year) until 30 June 2023.]Scholarship info

International Fees:*
Please enquire for details

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

The New Zealand Certificate in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Trade Assistant) (Level 3) programme is designed for those with a keen interest in electrical technology and applications. You will gain fundamental knowledge about tools and equipment, theory and safety practices, principles, components and application of refrigeration and air conditioning systems.


Don’t miss your chance to study fees-free under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF).

Te Pūkenga – the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, of which UCOL is a subsidiary, has extended the TTAF funding until 30 June 2023 if your studies begin in 2022!

This programme is eligible for fees-free study under TTAF.

You don’t need to apply to access the Fund - just enrol in an eligible 2022 programme, and the Fund will take care of the programme’s fees until 30 June 2023.

Get enrolled now! Please contact the info centre for more details.

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

The New Zealand Government COVID-19 Mandate Order requires the following workers to be vaccinated: 

  • health and disability sector workers
  • prison staff
  • border and MIQ workers.

As well as that, private companies and organisations have the right to require staff to be vaccinated.

Therefore, to go on placement or an internship that is a part of your programme, you must meet COVID-19 vaccination requirements. You can see more information on UCOL's Covid-19 page and on the Unite Against Covid-19 website.

 Course Hours & Duration

This programme runs for 32 weeks (two semesters of 16 weeks each), including 7 holiday weeks.

Per week, your learning will include approximately:

Class Time
21 hrs

Lectures, tutorials and/or online recordings.
Timetable set by your lecturer.
Study Time
16 hrs

Study in your own time.

You can also choose to study part-time, or possibly by paper. Talk to us about your options with this programme.

 Career & Study Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme you will be able to carry out a range of diagnosis and the repair of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment safely and with lesser supervision.

 Course Information

Note: As a business division of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time. If you have any questions call an Enrolment Advisor on 0800 468 265.

From 2023, UCOL and the programme you have enrolled in will become part of Te Pūkenga. So, if you join UCOL in 2023, you will be awarded Te Pūkenga certification. And, if you are a current learner graduating in 2023, you will be awarded a co-branded certificate.

This programme consist of 120 Credits. The courses includes:

Core Engineering Calculations, Materials, and Engineering Drawings (15 Credits)
Students will learn the use of mathematics and mechanics in engineering, how to interpret heating, ventilating, and air conditioning drawings, the use of common engineering materials and metals, and safety on engineering worksites.

Core Engineering Practical and Safety (15 Credits)
Students will learn to correctly select, use, and care for engineering hand tools, power tools, and fasteners. Students will also learn to apply safe working practices on an engineering worksite, including how to shift heavy loads safely.

Refrigeration Principles and Operations (30 Credits)
Students will learn about ozone depletion, global warming, and refrigeration and air conditioning principles and applications.

Refrigeration Assembly and Site Safe (30 Credits)
Students will learn fabrication and assembly of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems, including site-safe.

Welding for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (15 Credits)
Students will learn about applying safe welding procedures, preparing and purging braze piping for refrigeration and air conditioning and, joining metals using the torch brazing and soldering processes to industry standard.

Electrical Theory Electromotive Force and Magnetism (15 Credits)
Students will learn the properties of conductors, insulators, and semiconductors and their effect on electrical circuits and electromotive force and electromagnetism theory.

Electrical Safety and Electrical Appliance Servicing (15 Credits)
Students will learn the practical skills required for Electrical Service Technicians – knowledge of electrical safety and safe working practices, isolating and testing low-voltage electrical sub-circuits, and testing instruments and taking measurements.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

To be eligible for entry to the programme, applicants must hold the following:

NCEA Level 1 (including Literacy 10 credits and Numeracy 10 Credits at Level 1)


equivalent academic achievement


on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean.

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5 with no band score less than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL testing centre.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible). UCOL is a TOEFL testing centre.

Under 20 years of age
In addition to this, international applicants under 20 years of age must have NCEA equivalency.

 Advice & Guidance

Students need to be aware of the physical demands required for this career pathway. Students will be advised to put any special needs or requirements in writing and advise the Programme Leader before the programme begins.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).

 Additional Costs



The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020, and Universal College of Learning Limited, a business division of Te Pūkenga is accredited to teach it.