Becoming an HVAC mechanic may not be as easy in South Carolina as it is in other states, but this shouldn’t stop you from entering the field, especially if you like to install or repair things.
For starters, you’ll need to get a certification from the Municipal Association of South Carolina, but not before completing your apprenticeship.
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If you want to know the average salary in South Carolina in this field, know that it is around $43,740 per year, with the best-paid earning around $49,562 per year.
If you want to compare to the average salary in the United States for these traders, that one is $46,731 per year, while the best-paid make about $52,951 a year.
Below are the salaries in the largest cities of this state.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
|Hilton Head Island||$43,400|
Municipal Association of South Carolina’s HVAC Certification
The certification issued by the Municipal Association of South Carolina, allows you to work almost everywhere in the state.
To get it, you’ll have to accumulate some experience, file an application and pass a test, and it has 3 levels.
The levels are:
- Residential HVAC- you can perform work on: various equipment (heat pump, AC equipment, LP, natural gas, fuel oil), appliances and piping, ductwork and related trades.
- Journeyman (unlimited)- allows you to install, mainain, repair, fabricate, alter or extend units of any size, that are: AC, refrigeration, piping vessels, warm air heating, low-pressure boilers, ventilation systems, duct systems, but you have to be supervised by a master contractor.
- HARV (master mechanical)- you can do all the work of a journeyman, but without being supervised.
- 2 full years of experience
- You can substitute 1 year of experience with a 2-year program at a vocational school if you attended one.
- 4 years of experience as a journeyman
- If you never became a journeyman, but worked in the field for 10 years and can prove it, you can apply directly.
Both licenses require you get the EPA certification as well.
The exams in South Carolina are organized by PROV, you can take them after your application gets approved and you pay the $25 fee.
The schools below can help with all the licenses and with even finding an apprenticeship.
|Aiken Technical College||2276 Jefferson Davis Highway Graniteville, South Carolina 29829|
|Central Carolina Technical College||506 N Guignard Dr Sumter, South Carolina 29150|
|Centura College||7500 Two Notch Road Columbia, South Carolina 29223|
|Florence-Darlington Technical College||2715 W. Lucas Street Florence, South Carolina 29501|
|Greenville Technical College||738 S Pleasantburg Dr Greenville, South Carolina 29607|
|Horry-Georgetown Technical College||2050 Highway 501 East Conway, South Carolina 29526|
|Medix School||246 Stoneridge Dr Ste 101 Columbia, South Carolina 29210|
|Midlands Technical College||1260 Lexington Drive West Columbia, South Carolina 29170|
|Piedmont Technical College||620 North Emerald Road Greenwood, South Carolina 29646|
|Spartanburg Community College||800 Brisack Road Spartanburg, South Carolina 29303|
|Technical College of the Lowcountry||921 Ribaut Road Beaufort, South Carolina 29901|
|Tri-County Technical College||7900 U.S. Hwy 76 Pendleton, South Carolina 29670|
|Trident Technical College||7000 Rivers Avenue Charleston, South Carolina 29423|
|Williamsburg Technical College||601 Martin Luther King Jr Ave Kingstree, South Carolina 29556|
HVAC Contractor Licensing
To get licensed as a contractor, you’ll have to meet some requirements and perhaps sit through and pass a test.
Holders of this certification can only perform work on residences.
They can work on:
- heat pump equipment,
- LP & Natural Gas,
- Fuel Oil appliances,
- other HVAC related trades.
- Accumulate 1 year of work experience while being directly supervised by a Master Heating & Air or licensed HVAC contractor
- Prove the above with a letter written on company letterhead from your employer
- Fill out the application to the Board
- A photocopy of your current driver’s license
- A photocopy of your social security card
- A check for $100 for the application made payable to the LLR-Residential Builders Commission, along with the documents above
- Pass the PSI exam- you can forgo the exam if you already have a license as a South Carolina Mechanical Contractor for HVAC or if you have the Master Heating & Air license by exam by the Municipal Association
- A license fee and submitted test results
- A bond for any work exceeding $5,000
- Submit the application
- Make a financial statement.
- General contractors bidding only on jobs under $100,000 and mechanical contractors bidding only on jobs under $30,000 have a separate financial balance sheet.
- New contractors taking on larger jobs need an accountant to prepare their finances according to the application’s stipulations
- Register for your technical exam and Business Management and Law Exam with PSI and wait for the eligibility letter.
- Schedule your exam.
The exam lasts for 4 hours, has 80 questions, and costs $100.
You’ll pas with a minimum score of 65%, meaning you have to correctly answer 52 questions.
Some of the topics 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.
If you pass, there’s more paperwork to prepare and submit, to get your certification:
- Complete the application (Doc #165)
- Provide your exam score sheets for both tests
- A financial statement
- A copy of the certificate for your registered business
- Your license fee – $160 if the license is issued for more than 12 months before the next renewal date.
- If the renewal date is less than 12 months away, you only have to pay $80
- A surety bond of $10,000, signed by the applicant with the power of attorney attached.
- If you want to work on projects over $5000 in cost labor and materials, the bond must be issued in your name and not in the name of the business.
The license gets renewed every odd-numbered year, before June the 30th.
The federal law requires every HVAC tech working with any refrigerants and related equipment to get the EPA certification.
The certification costs $24.95 and you obtain it after you pass an exam.
There are 4 types you can choose from:
- Type I: for systems with less than 5 pounds of refrigerant
- Type II: for systems with high- and very high-pressure appliances
- Type III: for systems with low-pressure appliances
- Universal: you can work on any of the above, with no restrictions
There’s a single manual of 12 pages that you can use to prepare for the exam.
You can have the manual with you for the Type I, but make sure to score over 84% to pass.
Failing the test means you’ll have to pay around $6 for each new attempt.
These are some of the topics:
- ozone depletion,
- clean air act,
- 608 regulations,
- substitute refrigerants,
- recovery techniques,
- dehydration evacuation,
While the path you need to take to enter the HVAC field seems complicated, you’ll have access to a career that will only offer more and more employment opportunities