South Carolina HVAC License: Everything You Need to Know

You can begin your career in the HVAC industry today. Whether you decide to work for an employer or start your own business, you’ll need to know the requirements to get your South Carolina HVAC license. Read this guide to learn everything about HVAC training.

Do You Need a License in South Carolina to Become an HVAC Technician?

Yes, you need a South Carolina HVAC license to perform work in the state.

What are the Different Types of HVAC Licenses?

There is only one basic type of South Carolina HVAC license. However, there are also several additional certifications you must receive before you obtain the license, including a residential HVAC certificate, a journeyman unlimited certificate, and a master mechanical certificate. Each certification level requires sending an application as well as taking a test.

The residential HVAC certificate allows for work on a wide range of residential equipment pertaining to HVAC units, while the journeyman unlimited certificate allows for work on HVAC units of any size. When working as a journeyman, you will be required to work under the supervision of someone who holds a master certificate or contractor license. The master certificate allows you to work unsupervised. A contractor license allows you to own your own HVAC company. However, you can only work on residential HVAC units.

When you work as an apprentice or with a journeyman license, the average salary is about $30,000-$40,000. With the master mechanic certification, the average salary is $50,000-$60,000. As for a fully licensed HVAC contractor, the average salary is about $65,000.

If you expect to work with refrigerant, you’ll also want to obtain an EPA certificate. Because of Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, any HVAC technician that handles refrigerant must gain one of the three EPA certificates and take an additional examination.

The three types of EPA certifications include Type I, Type II, and Type III certificates. You also  can obtain a universal certification, allowing you to perform any of the work that can be done with the Type I, Type II, and Type III licenses.

Benefits of Getting an HVAC License

Getting an HVAC license allows you to work in a variety of different settings, including residential homes, factories, and school buildings. HVAC technicians also earn high salaries in South Carolina. The top 10% of earners make upwards of $100,000. There's also a high potential for career advancement.

While gaining experience for a journeyman license, you will be paid as you learn. During your time as an entry-level worker, you will earn about half of the average journeyman salary.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an HVAC License in South Carolina?

Application and testing fees can range from $50-$200. For any work exceeding $5,000, you will be required to obtain a $10,000 surety bond.

How to Get HVAC License in South Carolina

Getting an HVAC license in South Carolina comes with many requirements. For instance, you must possess a journeyman or master mechanic license before you can become a contractor. Then, you must pass the exams and post a surety bond.

Schooling Requirements

While master certificates and contractor licenses have any education requirements, you must obtain 24 months of experience to receive your initial journeyman certificate. This experience can come in the form of a two-year vocational program or an apprenticeship. If you're looking to obtain a certificate or associate's degree, the best colleges include Aiken Technical, Central Carolina Technical, and Greenville Technical.

Tuition can range from $5,000-$20,000 for a two-year program. Ask your school about financing option. While some colleges include online coursework, these programs require a significant amount of hands-on training. You also might want to purchase your own set of HVAC tools.

On-the-Job Experience

To qualify for a license as an HVAC contractor, you must have at least one year of experience working under the supervision of a master mechanic or contractor. To obtain a journeyman license, you must gain 24 months of experience. A two-year vocational program equates to one year of experience. In general, you can expect to qualify for this license after three years of experience. If you obtain a master mechanic certificate before the contractor license, you must have an additional four years of journeyman experience.

Who Actually Issues the Licenses?

The main contractor license is issued by the SCLRR. The three HVAC certificates are issued by the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Are There Exams?

The examination process for a South Carolina HVAC license begins after you submit your application and get approval from SCLRR. The main exam will include a total of 80 questions. You have 4 hours to complete the exam. You must get a passing grade of 65% or higher. The fee for this exam is $100. The topics include:

  • Load calculations

  • Safety

  • Insulation

  • Heat pump and AC equipment

  • Heaters and furnaces

  • Heating and cooling principles

  • Fuel oil

  • Ducts

  • Adjusting and balancing

  • Refrigerants and control

You can take some free practice tests for the South Carolina HVAC license at this link.

Do the Licenses Need to Be Renewed?

Your license should be renewed every two years. Renewal generally occurs during the summer. 

How Long Does It Take to Get an HVAC License?

The licensing board can take up to a month to approve your license. Upon approval, you can expect the license to be mailed to you in a few weeks.


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