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Cooling and Freezing Equipment Operators and Tenders
SOC Code: 51-9193.00

Operate or tend equipment, such as cooling and freezing units, refrigerators, batch freezers, and freezing tunnels, to cool or freeze products, food, blood plasma, and chemicals.

Sample of reported job titles: Certified Refrigeration Operator, Compressor Operator, Engine Room Operator, Freezer Operator, Freezer Person, Ice Cream Maker, Machine Operator, Refrigeration Operator, Refrigeration Supervisor, Refrigeration Technician


  • Record temperatures, amounts of materials processed, or test results on report forms.
  • Monitor pressure gauges, ammeters, flowmeters, thermometers, or products, and adjust controls to maintain specified conditions, such as feed rate, product consistency, temperature, air pressure, and machine speed.
  • Read dials and gauges on panel control boards to ascertain temperatures, alkalinities, and densities of mixtures, and turn valves to obtain specified mixtures.
  • Start machinery, such as pumps, feeders, or conveyors, and turn valves to heat, admit, or transfer products, refrigerants, or mixes.
  • Correct machinery malfunctions by performing actions such as removing jams, and inform supervisors of malfunctions as necessary.
  • Assemble equipment, and attach pipes, fittings, or valves, using hand tools.
  • Measure or weigh specified amounts of ingredients or materials, and load them into tanks, vats, hoppers, or other equipment.
  • Adjust machine or freezer speed and air intake to obtain desired consistency and amount of product.
  • Weigh packages and adjust freezer air valves or switches on filler heads to obtain specified amounts of product in each container.
  • Inspect and flush lines with solutions or steam, and spray equipment with sterilizing solutions.
  • Load and position wrapping paper, sticks, bags, or cartons into dispensing machines.
  • Sample and test product characteristics such as specific gravity, acidity, and sugar content, using hydrometers, pH meters, or refractometers.
  • Start agitators to blend contents, or start beater, scraper, and expeller blades to mix contents with air and prevent sticking.
  • Place or position containers into equipment, and remove containers after completion of cooling or freezing processes.
  • Scrape, dislodge, or break excess frost, ice, or frozen product from equipment to prevent accumulation, using hands and hand tools.
  • Activate mechanical rakes to regulate flow of ice from storage bins to vats.
  • Stir material with spoons or paddles to mix ingredients or allow even cooling and prevent coagulation.

Technology Skills

  • Electronic mail software - Gmail
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Air compressors
  • Ammeters - Digital ammeters
  • Blast freezers - Batch freezers; Belt freezers; Fluidized bed freezers; Immersion freezers (see all 5 examples)
  • Calipers - Digital calipers
  • Centrifuges - Oil separators
  • Chemical pumps - Secondary fluid pumps
  • Chemical tanks - Flash intercoolers; High pressure receivers; Intercoolers; Surge drums
  • Condensing units - Air-cooled condensers
  • Cooling exchangers - Water chilling systems
  • Decontamination shower - Decontamination shower stations
  • Ear plugs - Protective ear plugs
  • Engine radiators - Oil coolers; Thermosiphon oil coolers
  • Evaporative coolers - Direct expansion evaporators; Flooded evaporators; Liquid overfeed evaporators
  • Expansion valves - Hand expansion valves; Thermostatic expansion valves
  • Eyewashers or eye wash stations - Eyewash stations
  • Fire extinguishers - Portable fire extinguishers
  • Flowmeters - Digital flowmeters
  • Handheld refractometers or polarimeters - Handheld refractometers
  • Heat exchangers - Falling film heat exchangers; Plate heat exchangers; Scraped surface heat exchangers; Shell and tube heat exchangers
  • Hydrometers - Digital hydrometers
  • Ice cube makers - Ice cube forming machines
  • Level sensors or transmitters - Liquid level indicators
  • Liquid leak detectors - Electronic refrigerant leak detectors
  • Low temperature freezers - Spiral freezers
  • Manometers - Digital manometers
  • Micrometers - Digital micrometers
  • Mixers or agitators - Freezing agitators
  • Ohmmeters - Ohm meters
  • Oil pumps - Low pressure accumulators
  • Personal computers
  • pH meters - pH testers
  • Plate freezers
  • Positive displacement pumps - Positive displacement compressors
  • Pressure indicators - Ammonia pressure gauges; Magnehelic pressure gauges
  • Pressure regulator - Back-pressure regulators
  • Radiators - Thermal fluid systems
  • Reciprocating compressors
  • Refrigerant compressors - Hermetic pumps; Refrigerant pumps
  • Relief valves - Defrost relief valves; Pressure relief valves
  • Remote reading thermometers - Remote thermometers
  • Respirators - Air purifying respirators
  • Rotary compressors - Rotary vane compressors
  • Rulers - Depth gauges
  • Safety boots - Impervious boots
  • Safety glasses - Protective glasses
  • Sampling pumps - Auto-purgers
  • Scissor lift or lift table - Scissor lifts
  • Screw compressors - Rotary screw compressors
  • Single gas monitors - Ammonia detectors
  • Steam condenser - Evaporative condensers
  • Steam generators - Boiler generators
  • Telescoping boom lift - Telescopic booms
  • Thermoelectric cooler - Recirculators
  • Ultraviolet UV lamps
  • Vacuum gauges - Compound gauges
  • Voltage or current meters - Volt meters
  • Water cooled condensor - Water-cooled condensers
  • Water level regulator - Oil level regulators


  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.


  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.


  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Trunk Strength - The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.


  • Interest code: RCI
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 56% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 32% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 39% responded “Very important.”
  • Time Pressure - 16% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 15% responded “Important results.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 33% responded “Very important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 17% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 43% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 32% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 33% responded “Very important.”
  • Contact With Others - 29% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 24% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 26% responded “Very important.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 45% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 24% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 43% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos - 85% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 43% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection - 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled - 25% responded “Never.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 29% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 50% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Level of Competition - 40% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Degree of Automation - 64% responded “Moderately automated.”

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $14.84 hourly, $30,860 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 9,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Little or no change (-1% to 1%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 1,000

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