How to Become a Gas Engineer

Find out from Oaklands College what skills and qualifications you need to become a gas engineer!

gas engineer

Whether it’s fixing a boiler just in time for the winter chill, replacing pipes under the pavements or responding to reports of a dangerous leak; gas engineers up and down the country keep us living safely and comfortably. Not only do they provide a service that we couldn’t do without, but their highly skilled work involves tasks that no one without specialist training would ever attempt to perform. 

As long as people have gas powering their homes and businesses, they’ll need gas engineers. This makes it the kind of job that’s always in demand, and highly rewarding when the right level of hard work and dedication is applied. Becoming a qualified gas engineer takes a significant amount of training, but you can take the unique skills you’ll learn and turn them into a lifelong career and even your own business.

The unpredictable and varied nature of work as a gas engineer means you can be sure that no two days will be the same, and in the course of an average day you will deal with all sorts of people. Like any tradesperson’s role, it relies heavily on reputation – so if you can develop a good rapport with the public and become known for getting the job done in a reliable, professional, timely and safe manner then you will thrive in the job.

What does a gas engineer do?

As a gas engineer you will be expected to perform a wide range of tasks in residential and business properties. These include:

  • Being on call 24 hours a day in case of emergency

  • Testing appliances, using specialist equipment to ensure that they are in safe working order

  • Installation and repair of appliances including boilers, and installing replacement parts where necessary

  • Fixing gas leaks, using problem-solving skills to identify the issue and ensure that it is made completely safe

  • Finding the source of the problem where a customer has reported a gas smell but there is no visible sign of a leak

  • Instructing and advising customers on the proper use of appliances and general gas safety in their homes and businesses

  • Helping customers to make their homes more energy efficient

  • Carrying out and following regular risk assessments

What skills do I need to be a gas engineer?

Gas engineers need to be able to work indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions, be highly adaptable and able to operate well under pressure. As a gas engineer you will also need to be good at:

  • Maths and science, as the work often involves understanding complex information and making accurate calculations

  • Time management

  • Learning new skills and quickly understanding how to use specialist equipment

  • Working at height

  • Understanding building layouts

  • Dealing directly with members of the public, sometimes in stressful situations

What salary can I expect to earn as a gas engineer?

Depending upon a number of factors including geographical location, the average salary for a gas engineer is between £36,000 and £48,000, and with the right training and career progression this can develop significantly. You can also expect to earn overtime pay for working on callouts during the night and on public holidays.

What qualifications do I need to be a gas engineer?

Many people move into gas engineering as a specialism from an existing career in plumbing. At Oaklands you can achieve the qualifications necessary to become a plumber and start on this road. However, other people take the steps to train as a gas engineer straight from education or an unrelated job. Either way, there are a number of requirements. 

In order to begin training as a gas engineer, you must first be employed in a relevant field. Therefore an apprenticeship scheme is a common way for many people to start working towards their training. Apprenticeships allow you to learn vital skills on the job while studying and earning money at the same time – so you can join a gas engineering company at entry level and start gaining invaluable experience.

Once these requirements have been completed, there are two main qualifications that you must attain in order to legally operate as a gas engineer. These are: 

1. ACS (Accredited Certification Scheme) 

ACS is an industry-recognised qualification and allows you to prove that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to become a gas engineer. It is overseen by UKAS, the UK Accreditation Service, and can take place at a number of centres around the country.

Prospective candidates for ACS qualification are split into three categories:

  1. Existing gas engineers with an expired qualification

  2. Workers from a related industry

  3. Trainees who are new to the industry

At the centre, you will complete a core gas safety assessment before specialised testing takes place on individual appliances. This is equivalent to the Core Domestic Gas Safety (CCN1) qualification which is compulsory. Following this, you will undertake testing specific to your field of work.

2. Gas Safe Registration

It is a legal requirement that any practising gas engineer is listed on the Gas Safe Register. This organisation ensures that potentially dangerous work is carried out without placing the public at risk, and investigates reports of illegal gas work. Registered engineers are subject to regular safety inspections as well as receiving opportunities for education and training. 

Members of the public can ask to see your Gas Safe Register ID card before they permit you access to their property in order to carry out a job.

How to get onto the Gas Safe Register

You can apply for registration with the Gas Safe Register once you have obtained the necessary ACS qualification and have the certificate to prove it, and you should do so when you consider yourself ready to start gas work. From this stage you can be awarded probationary registration status, meaning that you are in a three month probation period.

During this time you must keep records and show examples of all completed gas work, and your business may be suspended if you do not. The Gas Safe Register will consider any previous history you have with the scheme and may decide to extend your probation period by a further three months. Once your full competence has been demonstrated you will move out of probationary status and into full registration. 

Membership of the Gas Safe Register must be renewed regularly as it only lasts for 12 months.

How long will it take me to train as a gas engineer?

This depends entirely on your level of experience. If you are completely new to the industry you can expect to devote several years to gaining experience before you can complete the required qualifications to operate as a business, but for those with relevant experience the process may only take a matter of months.

Once qualified, you may choose to work as a self-employed gas engineer or work for an existing nationwide company such as British Gas.

Progressing in your career as a gas engineer

As you gain more experience as a gas engineer, there is scope to either grow your own business to a regional or national level but also to move up the ranks in a larger firm, to supervisory or management positions. You will find that working in the gas industry offers exciting opportunities for lifelong learning, and as technologies advance and working practices change, being a gas engineer will always bring new challenges.

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