How to Become an HVAC Technician in South Carolina

HVAC work can be physically demanding but also rewarding. As an HVAC technician, you’ll be responsible for maintaining, installing and fixing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems(HVAC systems) that keep people comfortable inside their homes and in commercial buildings. [Leer en español]

Search HVACR Certified Technician Programs

Get information on HVACR Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in South Carolina

South Carolina only has statewide requirements for contractors. To become a technician, you can choose from a couple of options: complete an academic program, enroll in and complete an apprenticeship program or do a combination of both. Municipal licensing in South Carolina for journeymen HVAC techs requires two years of training, which can be either two years of an apprenticeship or one year of apprenticeship plus a two-year academic degree.

Topics covered by HVAC technician training programs may include:

  • Industrial air conditioning
  • Residential air conditioning
  • Commercial refrigeration and refrigeration technology
  • Gas heating principles
  • Heating fundamentals
  • Duct fabrication
  • Basic sheet metal

HVAC Schools in South Carolina

HVAC programs at technical or community colleges are accredited by the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and by HVAC Excellence. You do not have to choose an accredited program, but these are guaranteed to provide a quality HVAC education.

  • Central Carolina Technical College, Sumter. Central Carolina, which is accredited by HVAC Excellence, offers two certificate programs in HVAC/R. These include a basic air conditioning and heating certificate for 39 credit hours and an advanced air conditioning and heating certificate for just 22 credit hours. The advanced program is designed to be taken following the basic program for a more complete education.
  • Greenville Technical College, Greenville. Also accredited by HVAC Excellence, Greenville’s program includes several options. Students can earn a diploma, certificate or a two-year Associate of Science degree.
  • Fortis College, Columbia. Fortis has a campus in Columbia that offers a program for future HVAC technicians. The program includes plenty of hands-on laboratory training and prepares students to land entry-level positions in the industry.

Apprenticeship programs in South Carolina can also provide hands-on training, while some also include classroom hours. Check with local unions and non-union professional organizations to get connected with a master HVAC worker or contractor for an apprenticeship position.

HVAC Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Technician in South Carolina

In South Carolina, you do not need to be licensed at the state level to work as an apprentice or HVAC technician. You will only need state licensing if you become a contractor. HVAC contractors in the state are regulated by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Contractor’s Licensing Board. To become a contractor you must pass an exam.

While the state government does not require licensing for journeymen or master HVAC technicians, you can become licensed through the Municipal Association of South Carolina. To become a journeyman, you must have two years of work experience and training, and one of those years can be substituted by a two-year degree. To become licensed as a master HVAC tech, you must first be a journeyman and have a total of four years of work experience. Both levels also require passing an exam. Not all cities require licensing, but if you get a license through the association you will be able to work anywhere in South Carolina

If your job will involve handling refrigerants, and many HVAC jobs do, you will need to become certified at the national level for refrigeration. The Clean Air Act requires that all refrigerant workers achieve Environmental Protection Agency Section 608 certification, which requires passing an exam.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

  • In South Carolina, the average annual salary for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers is $46,490.
    • The bottom 10% earn $30,160 or less.
    • The top 10% earn $63,980 or more.
  • Comparatively, the national average annual salary for this occupation is $51,390.
    • The national bottom 10% earn $36,170 or less.
    • The national top 10% earn $82,630 or more.

Comparison of National vs. Local Salaries

United States Average South Carolina Average
Average Annual Wage $51,390 $46,490
Annual Wage for Bottom 10% $36,170 $30,160
Annual Wage for Top 10% $82,630 $63,980

Salaries and Percentiles by Region in South Carolina

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual QL (25%) Annual Median (50%) Annual QU (75%) Annual High (90%)
South Carolina $30,160 $38,130 $46,490 $59,330

HVAC Trends in South Carolina

  • Current Employment (2020): The number of employees in this occupation in South Carolina is currently 5,480.
  • Projected Employment (2030): It is expected to increase to 5,830 by 2030.
  • Projected Growth (2020-2030): The employment is projected to grow by 6% over this decade, indicating a steady demand for this occupation.
  • Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030): There are expected to be about 570 job openings each year, which includes new positions due to growth and replacements.

For comparison, the national figures show a similar growth rate and a projected increase from 415,800 employees in 2022 to 438,800 by 2032.

Employement Trends

Location Employment (2020) Projected Employment (2030) Projected Growth (2020-2030) Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030)
South Carolina 5,480 5,830 6% 570
United States 415,800 438,800 6% 37,700

Sources of data:

  • For employment trends and projections: Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • For national employment and wage data: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2022-2032 employment projections.

Working as an HVAC Technician in South Carolina

The majority of HVAC techs work for contractors. After a few years of experience as a technician, you may choose to become a contractor and small business owner. With that comes more responsibility but also greater flexibility and income.

For the most job opportunities as you start out in your HVAC career, look in the major population centers of the state: Columbia, Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Rock Hills and Greenville. With good job growth in this industry you should be able to find work anywhere as long as you have trained and gotten a good education.

Search HVACR Certified Technician Programs

Get information on HVACR Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings


How do I become an HVAC technician in South Carolina?

  • 1. Complete a post-secondary HVAC program or an apprenticeship program.
  • 2. With two years of training or classes, earn a journeyman’s certificate through the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
  • 3. With four years of experience, take the exam to be certified as a master HVAC tech.

How much do heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earn in the state of South Carolina?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in the state of South Carolina made an average of $45,160 per year in 2019. Entry-level heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned around $29,980 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $61,950.

College Listings