New program teaches ammonia refrigeration technology

Alaska Sea Grant is partnering with the consulting firm iWorkWise and the Alaska Research Consortium (ARC) to offer training in Kodiak toward becoming a professional ammonia refrigeration operator.

The two October classes, with online computer and in-class training at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, filled up quickly, but applications are still being taken for the same course — to be offered in March of 2024, said ARC Executive Director Paula Cullenberg.

Seats in the two October classes, with a limit of 15 students each, are already filled with individuals employed in Alaska seafood processing facilities, she said.

The program includes three levels of certification, beginning with the assistant operator 1 course, which includes online training, plus a five-day, 36-hour in-person class at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, affiliated with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and one or more seafood plants in Kodiak.

The six level 1-assistant operator 1 computer modules will cover fundamentals, heat transfer principles, ammonia safety, introduction to refrigeration systems and equipment, operator safe work practices — as well as documentation, logs and recordkeeping.

Instruction is provided for compressors, vessels, pots and pumps, evaporators, detectors and calibration, and condensers and purgers.


The cost is $2,500 for ARC members and $2,800 for non-members.

Course details and registration information are online at

Each in-person class is limited to 15 participants.

iWorkWise, with headquarters in Seattle, is a safety, health and environmental consulting firm specializing in refrigeration and process safety management, with a focus on OSHA, EPA and state compliance. Its client base is rooted in the maritime and commercial fishing industries, but also diversified across others, including oil and gas, agriculture and food processing.

The Alaska Research Consortium (ARC)advocates for sustainable fisheries, marine science and the blue economy in the North Pacific. Beginning in the fall of 2023, ARC is partnering with iWorkWise and Alaska Sea Grant to offer Professional Ammonia Refrigeration Operator Education for Seafood Processors (Pro-AROE).