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Vocational Training for HVAC or Plumbing Careers in South Carolina


Living in South Carolina, you’re familiar with our hot, humid summers. It’s no secret how much we rely on our air conditioners. And no home would be functional without a working plumbing system. There’s always a demand for AC, heating, and plumbing professionals in our state (fueling job security and growth). Being an HVAC technician or plumber can be rewarding, but you’ll need vocational training to break into these fields.

Did you know how robust the job market is for HVAC and plumbing careers? Nationwide, the demand for heating and air conditioning jobs is expected to grow 5% from 2021-2031 (more than 394,000 South Carolinians were working in the field in 2021).¹ For plumbers, a growth rate of about 2% is expected, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and (in 2021) 469,000 South Carolinians were employed in the field.²

What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

An HVAC technician has a broad range of daily responsibilities. Before you start a career in this field, knowing the scope of the profession will help guide you in learning the trade. Here’s what you may be required to do on any given service call:

  • Test and calibrate heating and cooling equipment
  • Install an AC, furnace, ductwork, or other HVAC components
  • Ensure all work complies with applicable laws and standards
  • Diagnose and repair HVAC equipment
  • Respond after hours to emergency calls
  • Handle permitting and other paperwork
  • Maintain records of all work performed
  • Communicate with customers about repairs or equipment use

What Does a Plumbing Technician Do?

A plumber must be efficient and a strong problem solver. You must be ready to apply your technical skills independently and be calm when a customer is facing a difficult situation. But you can always assure them you can address their needs with responsibilities such as:

  • Repair piping, plumbing fixtures, and connections
  • Install and repair water-using appliances
  • Cut, weld, and assemble pipes, fittings, and fixtures
  • Inspect and test plumbing systems
  • Troubleshoot and solve problems such as leaks, low water pressure, clogs, etc.
  • Read and draft blueprints to plan plumbing jobs
  • Provide repairs while adhering to safety standards
  • Comply with all applicable building regulations

What Is Vocational Training?

Vocational training is an alternative to a university education that can qualify you for a lucrative and fulfilling career. The courses and programs offered by a vocational school, also known as a trade school, provide career-specific hands-on training. Vocational training can prepare students for various careers, including HVAC and plumbing.

There are many ways to receive vocational training. These include high school classes, tech prep programs, and post-secondary education such as community college programs, standalone courses, diploma/certificate programs, and associate-level programs. 

An apprenticeship is another option. It lets you learn under the supervision of a seasoned professional, so you receive on-the-job training. It also gives you a head start on your career. You even get paid for the work!

SC Training Requirements

In South Carolina, HVAC technicians must be licensed by the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission. Those who work with refrigerants must also be certified under EPA Section 608. It includes four sub-categories of certification, including Type 1 (small appliances), Type 2 (high-pressure appliances), Type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and Type 4 (universal). Skill-specific certifications can be obtained through the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association, North American Technician Excellence, and other organizations.

Plumbers must complete training programs in drafting, mathematics, science, pipefitting, sprinkler installation, and reading blueprints. As an apprentice, you can install or repair plumbing systems under the supervision of a licensed plumber. You can work without supervision once you receive your journeyman license. However, contractor certification requires passing the Residential Business and Law exam and the practical exam. Plumbing licenses are managed by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

How Waldrop’s Program Is Different

Waldrop University is a 16-week program that gets you started in your career. Students are guaranteed a job after graduation. Once you have a high school diploma or GED certificate and complete your apprenticeship, you can advance your career as a maintenance technician, service professional, and then a leader such as a director, manager, field supervisor, or trainer.

Waldrop’s vocational training program is ideal for anyone who:

  • Is a passionate problem-solver
  • Enjoys finding solutions to fixing what’s broken
  • Loves to provide service to others in the community
  • Wants to be challenged by unique problems and new situations every day
  • Has a passion for working with their hands

Start Your HVAC or Plumbing Vocational Training with Waldrop

We offer informational sessions and career training at our Waldrop Campus. At Waldrop University, you can learn all the skills needed to succeed in a home service industry career. You’ll learn under the direction of experienced leaders and problem solvers. Continue browsing to learn about our vocational training opportunities or call (864) 536-0887 if you need air conditioning, heating, or plumbing services.


  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm
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Greenville, SC

Five stars

Waldrop has taken care of our HVAC since our house was built (2006). We get maintenance twice a year – spring and fall. This year, Kevin suggested the Phenomenal Aire unit. It cleans the air

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Marietta, SC

Five stars

Had the best experience with Waldrop, we will forever be in their debt. Not only the most professional group of men but the most honest, stand by your word company! I would recommend Waldrop to

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Five stars

A friend recommended Waldrop after he had a visit last week. Our A/C was not cooling as well as it should, and the Split “Smart” thermostat was doing crazy things on the first and 2nd


24/7 Monitoring of Your AC, Heating & Plumbing Systems

The Smart Wally Membership ensures home heating, cooling, and plumbing systems are constantly monitored. The program allows us to detect issues early, which is when they’re easier and more affordable to fix.