It is true that some states in the U.S. do not have licensing requirements. However, South Carolina is not one of those states.
The certification for HVAC mechanics is awarded by the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
This ensures county and city regulations are covered.
Once you have finished a vocational school you can become a technician.
With experience, you can develop your career and become a journeyman or a master.
If you decide to become a contractor, on the other hand, you will need to have an official state license.
To acquire this license you need to both need to have business knowledge, and meet HVAC related requirements.
Here is all you need to know on becoming and being a HVAC technician in South Carolina.
As a HVAC technician you can earn an average of $39,000 per year.
The height of your salary depends on various factors.
Some of the factors are skills, education, experience, certificates, and licenses.
So, make sure you develop your career and stand out from the rest of the technicians.
Here are the salaries you can expect as a HVAC technician in ten largest cities in South Carolina:Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of HVAC Techs in South Carolina
|Hilton Head Island||$43,397|
A certificate from Municipal Association will allow you to carry out work as a HVAC technician in almost any local area.
Therefore, if you meet the eligibility requirements you should definitely obtain this certificate.
To acquire the certificate you need experience. Once you have that covered you can apply and sit for exams.
You can opt for one of these three certifications:
- Residential HVAC
- Journeyman Unlimited
- HARV (master mechanical)
Residential HVAC certification allows you to work on equipment such as heat pump and AC equipment, LP and natural gas, including fuel oil and appliances and piping; and ductwork and related trades.
A Journeyman can carry out work related to the installation, maintenance, repair, fabrication alteration or extension of AC, refrigeration, piping vessels, warm air heating, low-pressure boilers, ventilation systems, duct systems, and related parts of a complex systemon appliances of all sizes.
However, you will need to work under the watchful eye of a master or a contractor.
In case you want to obtain this certification, then you need to have two full years of experience.
A completed program at a vocational school can count as a maximum of one year experience.
If you hold a Master certification you can perform everything a journeyman is allowed to.
The only difference is that you do not need to be supervised.
The minimum experience you need to have for master certification is four years’ experience as a journeyman.
In case you do have the experience, but you do not hold a journeyman license, you can still apply for the master certification.
For any of these certifications, you do need to have EPA certification.
You can acquire it by passing the EPA approved test, which is administered by the Prov organization in South Carolina.
Once your MASC is approved you can schedule your EPA test.
The application fee for each of the certifications is $25.
Contractor Licensing Requirements
In addition to the basic requirements you need to meet, there is an application process, and sometimes a test you need to pass to obtain the Residential HVAC license.
The Contractor’s license will certify that you can work on residential systems – A/C, heat pump equipment, LP & Natural Gas, Fuel Oil appliances, piping, ductwork, and other HVAC related trades.
In order to be eligible for the HVAC contractor license you need to:
- 1 year of experience under the direct supervision of a Master Heating & Air or licensed HVAC contractor
- A letter written on company letterhead from your employer to prove your experience
- A properly-filed application to the Board
- A photocopy of your current driver’s license and social security card to the Residential Builders Commission
- A check for $100 to process the application made payable to the LLR-Residential Builders Commission. Include it with the copies of identification mentioned above
- A passing grade on the PSI exam. You can forgo taking the exam if you are already a licensed South Carolina Mechanical Contractor for HVAC or if you are a licensed Master Heating & Air licensed by exam by the Municipal Association
- A license fee and submitted test results and a bond for any work exceeding $5,000
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Submit initial application
- Make a financial statement. General contractors not bidding on jobs over $100,000 or mechanical contractors not bidding on jobs over $30,000 have a separate financial balance sheet. New contractors taking on larger jobs must have an accountant prepare financials according to the application’s stipulations
- Register for your technical exam and Business Management and Law Exam with PSI. After you have registered you will receive an Eligibility Letter from the testing company.
- Schedule your exam at any state testing site
If you meet the requirements and your application is approved you will receive a letter of eligibility.
Once you have received that letter you can schedule your exam with the PSI Examination service by reaching them at 1-800-733-9267.
The exam consists from 80 questions.
You have 4 hours to complete them.
To pass, you will need to score at least 65%.
The exam fee is $100.
The topics that are covered in the exam are:
- AC and Heat Pump Equipment;
- Load Calculations;
- Furnaces and Heaters;
- Heating and Cooling Principles;
- Hangers and Supports;
- Fuel Oil;
- LP Gas;
- Testing, Adjusting and Balancing;
- Sound, Vibration and Seismic Control;
- Fuel Gas; Combustion Air;
- Chimneys, Flues, and Vents;
- Ventilation and Exhausts;
- Refrigerants and Controls.
Post Exam Steps
Once you have passed the exam, you should submit the following to the state’s Contractor’s Licensing Board:
- Your completed application (Doc #165)
- Your exam score sheets for both tests
- A financial statement
- A copy of the certificate for your registered corporation, partnership or LLC if applicable
- Your license fee in the amount of $160 if the license is issued for more than 12 months before the next renewal date. If it is less than 12 months the fee is only $80
- A $10,000 surety bond signed by the applicant with the power of attorney attached. If you plan on taking on work over $5000 in cost labor and materials included, the bond has to be issued in the individual applicant’s name and not in the name of the company or LLC
Each license should be renewed biannually before June 30th of an each odd-numbered year.
Anyone who wants to work with hazardous refrigerants needs to obtain the EPA Certification according to the Section 608 of the Clean Air Act.
To obtain the certificate you must firstly opt for a certification type.
When you have selected your certification type you need to pass the test.
The test needs to be scheduled and taken.
There is an option of scheduling and taking the test online.
The certification fine is $24.95.
Here are the types of certification you can opt for:
EPA Section 608 HVAC Type I
This certificate allows you to work on small appliances containing five pounds of less of refrigerant.
EPA Section 608 HVAC Type II
Type II certificate certifies that you have permission to work on high- and very high-pressure appliances, including non-automotive systems and split systems.
EPA Section 608 HVAC Type III
Type III of this certificate permits you to work on low-pressure appliances
There is one more type of the EPA certificate.
That is the EPA Section 608 Universal Certification, which covers all of the previously mentioned certifications.
To prepare for the test you will have the 12 page manual at your disposal.
The exam for Type I is open-book.
To pass the test you need to score at least 84% on each section of the exam. There are core questions that are repeated in a proctored environment.
Sometimes technicians find it easier to find a testing site and take a proctored exam the first time they test.
There are no restrictions in terms of attempts for passing the exam.
However, while you can retake your exam whenever you like, every additional attempt costs you $5.95.
Some of the topics featured on the core of the exam are: ozone depletion, clean air act, 608 regulations, substitute refrigerants, refrigeration, recovery techniques, recovery, recycling, safety, dehydration evacuation, and shipping.
In order to prepare for your exams, as well as for the job itself, you may complete an official HVAC program.
This will not only work towards your experience, but provide you with an excellent theoretical and practical basis for your career.
Here is a table of schools you can find in South Carolina, which have approved HVAC training programs:
16 HVAC Schools in South Carolina
|Ashworth College||6625 The Corners Pkwy NW #500, Norcross, GA 30092|
|Aiken Technology College||PO Drawer 696, Aiken, SC 29802|
|Central Carolina Technical School||N.Guigard Drive, Sumter, SC 29150|
|Florence-Darlington Technical College||PO Box 100548, Florence, SC 29501|
|Fortis College | HVAC Training||246 Stoneridge Dr, Columbia, SC 29210|
|Greenville Technical College/Brashier Campus||1830 W. Georgia Road, Simpsonville, SC 29680|
|Horry-Georgetown Technical College||2050 Highway 501 E., Conway, SC 29526|
|HVAC Career Training Center||Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Greenville, Summerville, Florence..., SC 11111|
|hvacredu.net (Online Training)||P.O. Box 77, Heron, MT 59844|
|Midlands Technical College||PO Box 2408, Columbia, SC 29202|
|Piedmont Technical College-Lee Walters Campus||PO Drawer 1467, Greenwood, SC 29648|
|Technical College of the Low Country||PO Box 1288, Charleston, SC 29423|
|Tri County Technical College||PO Box 587, Pendleton, SC 29670|
|Trident Technical College-ETM||PO Box 118067, Charleston, SC 29423|
|Williamsburg Technical College||601 MLK Jr. Avenue, Kingstree, SC 29556|
|York Technical College||452 South Anderson Road, Rockhall, SC 29730|
To be a HVAC technician in South Carolina, you need to have a license.
Every step that you take in terms of your training and education makes you expand your possibilities, and opens the door to being a top-earning technician.
You can develop your career with minimal applications, exams, and fees.
The job market for HVAC technicians is only expected to expand in the future.
Therefore, look into your options carefully, and apply for your certifications in South Carolina!