Whether you’re a qualified tradesperson looking to add refrigeration courses to your skill set or you’re just starting out in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry and working towards your first tickets, you’ll need to obtain your ARCtick Licence (otherwise known as a Refrigeration Handling Licence, RHL or simply ARC Licence). This FAQ tells you everything you need to know about why Australia has ARCtick Licences regulated by the Australian Refrigeration Council and what you’ll need to get yours.
Obtaining an ARCtick Licence, which has a various other names including RHL, RAC licence, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Licence, Refrigeration Licence, Refrigeration Handling Licence, or ARC Licence, is a legal requirement for anyone working with or training in refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC).
The purpose of the Refrigerant Handling Licence is to ensure that workers in the industry are safe on the job and that dangerous gasses are not emitted into the earth’s atmosphere.
The refrigerants that may not be handled by someone other than a RHL holder include:
• CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons)
• HCFCs (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons)
• HFCs (Hydroflourocarbons)
• PFCs (Perfluorocarbons)
• Halon (Haloalkane or Halomethane) that is or has been used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
ARCtick licensing does not currently cover the use of natural and low global warming potential (GWP) gasses, although other regulations and training may be required to work with these. There are plans to introduce a national, skills based, voluntary accreditation scheme for these refrigerants as they still pose risks due to flammability, toxicity and high operating pressures.
When it comes to working with RAC equipment, there is a risk that fluorocarbon refrigerant can be emitted into the atmosphere. This can happen whilst you’re decanting, installing, repairing, servicing, maintaining commissioning, or decommissioning the refrigerant or equipment.
When it is released into the atmosphere, fluorocarbon refrigerant does significant damage to the ozone layer – a problem that is particularly noticeable in Australian skies. Other synthetic greenhouse gases you may use don’t deplete the ozone layer but can still contribute to global warming and as such need to be carefully monitored.
No. ARCtick is a nation-wide regulator for refrigerant acquisition, handling and disposal.
Yes. Anyone can look up your ARC Licence number and surname in the Look For The Tick online database. This tool shows whether your licence is current and what type of licence you hold.
In Australia, the penalties for dealing with refrigerants illegally are severe.
Anyone who imports, manufactures or exports illegal ozone depleting substances (ODS) or synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG) may be fined up to $90,000 as an individual and $450,000 as a corporation.
For individuals, there are penalties of up to $1800 for anyone who handles refrigerant or uses refrigerant and air conditioning equipment unlicensed, or who breaches the conditions of their licence. For corporations this penalty can be up to $9000.
Unlawfully discharging ODS or SGG can result in a $54,000 fine for individuals and up to $270,000 for corporations.
Breaching permit conditions or breaking the laws surrounding refrigerant handling may result in your RHL being revoked and this can affect your ability to get an ARCtick Licence in the future.
You can apply for the Refrigerant Handling Licence you want using ARCtick’s quick and easy online form.
Just make sure that you have the following details ready before you start:
• Your contact information
• The contact and registration details of your employer or the trainer who will be providing the refrigeration licence course
• The type of licence you’re applying for
• Proof of your enrolment in a relevant refrigeration licence course (including start and end dates)
• A completed trainer declaration (this is a section of your Refrigeration Handling Licence application)
• Details of the qualifications to support the licence you are applying for. Required qualifications for each licence type are listed here.
• A passport sized, certified photograph of yourself
Also note: The ARC Licence application does include a brief criminal background and bankruptcy declaration
Once you have signed up with a training organisation for an ARCtick licence course (the refrigeration course that you’ll be doing) you need to apply for your ARCtick Licence. There is no point in applying for an ARC Licence before you’ve signed on with your trainer as you will need to provide proof of enrolment in the licence application process.
The cost of Refrigerant Handling Licences varies depending on how advanced they are.
For example, a Trainee Refrigerant Handling Licence (1 year) is only $31, whereas a Refrigerant Trading Authorisation is $470 (2 years).
You can see a full list of licence prices on the Artick website.
Both new applications and re-applications can take ARCtick up to 30 days to process – a fact worth keeping in mind when selecting your ARCtick Licence course dates with your refrigeration and air conditioning trainer.
When it comes to handling potentially dangerous refrigerants there are a few types of licences you can apply for. Which ARC Licence course you’ll need to take to get your ARC Licence will depend on the qualifications you already have. The types of ARC licences available include:
a) Qualified persons licences: These refrigeration licences allow people who have already undergone their training and have the required qualifications to work with air conditioners, automotive air conditioners, heat pump split systems, and domestic refrigeration and air conditioning appliances.
b) Trainee licences: These refrigeration licences are for people who are about to start studying a course that requires refrigerant handling in its training and assessment. There are two types of trainee licences – one that allows you to handle refrigerant both in a classroom setting and under supervision in a workplace, and one that only allows you to handle refrigerant in the classroom only. These refrigeration handling licences are valid for up to one year.
c) Restricted licences: These refrigeration licences are for more advanced or restricted jobs that involve handling refrigerant found in the marine and aviation industries, and other transport and handling areas (such as mobile refrigerant systems and cylinder decanting).
d) Refrigerant recovery licences: These refrigeration licences are for those whose jobs involve recovering and handling refrigerant while decommissioning equipment.
No. Only individuals or businesses that hold a Refrigerant Trading Authorisation can purchase, store and dispose of (sell) fluorocarbon refrigerant.