Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
49-9021.00

The occupation code you requested, 49-9021.02 (Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers), is no longer in use. In the future, please use 49-9021.00 (Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers) instead.

Install or repair heating, central air conditioning, HVAC, or refrigeration systems, including oil burners, hot-air furnaces, and heating stoves.

Sample of reported job titles: A/C Tech (Air Conditioning Technician); HVAC Installer (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Installer); HVAC Mechanic (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Mechanic); HVAC Specialist (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Specialist); Refrigeration Mechanic; Refrigeration Operator; Refrigeration Technician (Refrigeration Tech); Service Technician (Service Tech); Systems Mechanic; Transportation Refrigeration Technician (Transportation Refrigeration Tech)

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Test electrical circuits or components for continuity, using electrical test equipment.
  • Repair or replace defective equipment, components, or wiring.
  • Discuss heating or cooling system malfunctions with users to isolate problems or to verify that repairs corrected malfunctions.
  • Connect heating or air conditioning equipment to fuel, water, or refrigerant source to form complete circuit.
  • Install, connect, or adjust thermostats, humidistats, or timers.
  • Comply with all applicable standards, policies, or procedures, such as safety procedures or the maintenance of a clean work area.
  • Study blueprints, design specifications, or manufacturers' recommendations to ascertain the configuration of heating or cooling equipment components and to ensure the proper installation of components.
  • Install auxiliary components to heating or cooling equipment, such as expansion or discharge valves, air ducts, pipes, blowers, dampers, flues, or stokers.
  • Braze or solder parts to repair defective joints and leaks.
  • Lay out and connect electrical wiring between controls and equipment, according to wiring diagrams, using electrician's hand tools.
  • Inspect and test systems to verify system compliance with plans and specifications or to detect and locate malfunctions.
  • Record and report time, materials, faults, deficiencies, or other unusual occurrences on work orders.
  • Perform mechanical overhauls and refrigerant reclaiming.
  • Adjust system controls to settings recommended by manufacturer to balance system.
  • Install expansion and control valves, using acetylene torches and wrenches.
  • Install dehumidifiers or related equipment for spaces that require cool, dry air to operate efficiently, such as computer rooms.
  • Recommend, develop, or perform preventive or general maintenance procedures, such as cleaning, power-washing, or vacuuming equipment, oiling parts, or changing filters.
  • Cut or drill holes in floors, walls, or roof to install equipment, using power saws or drills.
  • Mount compressor, condenser, and other components in specified locations on frames, using hand tools and acetylene welding equipment.
  • Measure, cut, thread, or bend pipe or tubing, using pipe fitter's tools.
  • Keep records of repairs and replacements made and causes of malfunctions.
  • Install or repair air purification systems, such as specialized filters or ultraviolet (UV) light purification systems.
  • Estimate, order, pick up, deliver, and install materials and supplies needed to maintain equipment in good working condition.
  • Schedule work with customers and initiate work orders, house requisitions, and orders from stock.
  • Supervise and instruct assistants.
  • Lay out reference points for installation of structural and functional components, using measuring instruments.
  • Lift and align components into position, using hoist or block and tackle.
  • Install or repair self-contained ground source heat pumps or hybrid ground or air source heat pumps to minimize carbon-based energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Repair or service heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to improve efficiency, such as by changing filters, cleaning ducts, and refilling non-toxic refrigerants.
  • Test pipes, lines, components, and connections for leaks.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
  • Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
  • Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
  • Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
  • Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
  • Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
  • Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
  • Spend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
  • Deal With External Customers — How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
  • Exposed to High Places — How often does this job require exposure to high places?
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
  • Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — How much does this job require bending or twisting your body?
  • Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
  • Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — How much does this job require kneeling, crouching, stooping or crawling?
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
  • Consequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — How much does this job require walking and running?
  • Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles — How much does this job require climbing ladders, scaffolds, or poles?
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.
SVP Range
1-2 years of preparation (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Installation — Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • 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.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • 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.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

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Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • 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.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • 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).
  • 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 Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

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Interests

Interest code: RCI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • 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.

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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.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • 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.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$23.38 hourly, $48,630 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
380,400 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Average (5% to 10%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
38,500
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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