Most states in the US require every HVAC contractor to obtain a license. One of them is South Carolina. Aside from that, the state also offers South Carolina HVAC certification for mechanics from the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
Once you have completed an apprenticeship or have graduated from an approved institution, you can then start as an HVAC technician. After you have the right qualifications, you can then become a journeyman then a master technician.
Meanwhile, if you plan to become an HVAC contractor, you should comply with the requirements of the state when it comes to South Carolina HVAC certification and licensing. The licensing process will involve HVAC-related requirements and knowledge regarding business management.
On average, you can earn $39,000 per year as an HVAC technician in salary. However, this rate will increase as you gain more experience. Refer to this guide to find out how, along with other information regarding HVAC certification and licensing in the state of South Carolina.
Getting Certified by the Municipal Association of South Carolina
By obtaining a certification from the Municipal Association of South Carolina, you can render HVAC services throughout the state. Therefore, it is highly recommended to obtain it provided that you meet the eligibility criteria. To do so, you need experience, pass an application, and undergo examinations.
The certification is categorized into three levels:
- Residential HVAC – as a residential HVAC technician, you are limited to residential equipment such as AC equipment and heat pump. Your work also involves LP and natural gas, piping, ductwork, and any related projects.
- Journeyman Unlimited – with a journeyman unlimited certification, you can work on any unit regardless of the size as long as its related to the repair, servicing, maintenance, alteration, installation, or extension of duct systems, AC units, warm air heating, ventilation systems, piping vessels, refrigeration, and low-pressure boilers. Also, you are required to work under a master level tech or contractor’s guidance.
You are required to have at least two full years of experience. However, if you have completed a two-year vocational program in South Carolina, you only need one year of work experience.
- HARV (master mechanical) – this certification allows you to work on everything that’s within a journeyman’s scope, except that you don’t have to work under a contractor or master technician’s supervision.
You should have at least four years of journeyman experience or ten years of HVAC experience to proceed to master level.
Journeyman and master certification will require EPA certification, especially if you’re dealing with refrigerants. The examination is proctored by Prov and is only available once your application is approved by the Municipal Association of South Carolina. You should also pay a $25 application fee and complete a form from the MASC website.
How to Get Licensed as an HVAC Contractor
In order to become a licensed residential HVAC contractor in the state, you should comply with the requirements, complete the application process, and pass the exam. You should keep in mind that this license is limited to residential systems and covers ductwork, heat pump equipment, AC units, fuel oil appliances, LP & natural gas, and piping.
Here are the requirements you need:
- At least one year of experience under a master or licensed HVAC contractor’s supervision
- A completed application form which should be submitted to the Board
- A copy of your social security card and current driver’s license which should be submitted to the Residential Builders Commission
- A letter from your employer to verify your experience
- A $100 application fee which should be sent to the LLR-Residential Builders Association along with the copies of aforementioned documents
- A passing grade from an exam proctored by PSI. You are exempted from the examination if you already have an HVAC mechanical contractor or master heating and air license.
- A license fee plus a bond for any project above $5,000
To start the application process, simply follow these steps:
- Submit your initial application. You can find the form here.
- Create your financial statement. If you’re a new contractor who handles larger jobs, you should prepare financials according to your requirements.
- After your application has been approved, you should then register for the trade exam and Business Management & Law Exam with PSI. You will then receive an Eligibility Letter if you met all eligibility criteria.
- Schedule an examination at any testing center.
The Examination Process
To schedule your exam, simply contact PSI at 1-800-733-9267. Once you receive an eligibility letter, you should then start preparing for the exam. Here are some information you should know:
- You should get a passing score of 65% or more to pass
- You are given 4 hours to answer 80 questions
- There’s a $100 examination fee
- Topics include insulation, AC and heat pump equipment, chimneys, ventilation, piping, furnaces and heaters, vibration and seismic control, testing, adjusting and balancing, hangers and supports, ducts, LP gas, fuel oil, combustion air, refrigerants, load calculations, safety, heating and cooling principles, fuel gas, and controls.
Once you pass the exam, submit these documents to the Contractor’s Licensing Board in South Carolina:
- Financial statement
- Exam score sheets for trade exam and Business Management & Law exam
- Completed application (Doc #165)
- A $160 license fee if you’ve obtained your license more than a year before the next renewal date. However, if it’s less than a year, you only need to pay $80.
- A $10,000 surety bond with your signature and a power of attorney included. If you take on projects above $5,000 including the cost for labor and materials, the bond should be issued in your name and not in the company you’re working under.
- Copy of the certificate for your partnership or registered corporation, if any
If you want to retain your license, you should renew it every 2 years before the 30th of June in every odd-numbered year.
EPA Certification Requirements
If you handle refrigerants, you are required by federal law to obtain an EPA certification. This is outlined under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act which states that HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants and any refrigerant-related equipment are required to get the certification, considering that this type of work can release toxic and hazardous chemicals into the surroundings.
To obtain your EPA certification, these are what you should do:
- Choose your preferred certification type (there are 3 types explained below)
- Pay a $24.95 certification fee
- Schedule your examination which can be done either on-site or online
- Get a passing score to receive your EPA certification
As mentioned, there are 3 types of EPA certifications which are as follows:
- Type I – this certification allows you to handle small units and appliances which contain refrigerants not exceeding five pounds.
- Type II – a Type II certification lets you handle high and very high-pressure appliances along with split systems and non-automative systems.
- Type III – this allows you to deal with low-pressure appliances
You can also choose the Universal certification if you want to handle any appliances from all previous certifications.
It is highly recommended to use the 12-page manual when preparing for the exam. The examination for Type I certification is open book. However, you should get a passing score of 84% or more. Also, the core questions should be repeated in a proctored environment if you want to obtain other certification types. It’s advised to look for a nearby testing center then take a proctored exam for your first examination.
In the event you failed on your first try, you can retake as soon as you like. However, you will have to pay $5.95 for each attempt. The core questions include the following topics:
- Clean air act
- Recovery techniques
- Ozone depletion
- Dehydration evacuation
- Substitute refrigerants
- 608 regulations
By obtaining a South Carolina HVAC certification and license, you can start working in the HVAC field in the state. Additionally, it allows you to tap into a vast career possibility in the field, which in turn can result in higher salaries and job opportunities.
The entire process only requires minimal fees, a quick application, and easy examinations. So if you want to follow the HVAC career path, you should give it a try. Also, with the continuous growth and demand for HVAC professionals in the market, you can expect this position to be a really lucrative in the future.
Check out near by state requirements whilst you are looking, you never know if you will get offered work there if you live near the border: