As per the records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are approximately 5,540 people engaged in the plumbing, pipe-fitting and steam-fitting industry in South Carolina. South Carolina is situated in the South – Eastern region of the United States of America. With a population of 5.1 million people, it’s the 23rd-most populous state of the USA. In 2019, South Carolina had a Gross Domestic Product of $249.9 billion, making it the 26th largest GDP in the nation. many large corporations have moved to South Carolina, generating greater employment opportunities for the citizens of this state. Most of South Carolina’s fresh water is stored underground which must be put to use efficiently.  In this context, this article will explore the career prospects of a plumber and provide a guide on how to become a plumber in South Carolina.

A guide on plumbing in South Carolina


As mentioned above, there are about 5,540 plumbers in South Carolina. 2.63 persons people out of every 1000 people are employed in this sector. The average annual salary of a plumber in South Carolina is $46,870. The range of wages extends from $27,849 to approximately $79,679. On an average, apprentice plumbers earn around $15.17 per hour. Wages keep increasing as and when plumbers gain more education and experience. Plumbers enjoy an average hourly wage of $21.90. Journeyman plumbers enjoy a wage of $22.87 per hour. Master plumbers can earn up to $22.93. The cities of Columbia, Charleston and Florence pay the highest wages to plumbers in this state.  With the constantly growing population in South Carolina, the demand for plumbing services is also expected to rise in the coming years. Plumbers will also have a huge task at hand to make the groundwater sufficiently available to all citizens. The plumbing industry is therefore expected to grow in the near future.

Job outlook


It is recommended that all plumbers consider getting themselves insurance. Purchasing insurance policies protects them from unnecessary expenditures arising out of unforeseen circumstances. There could be several risks faced by plumbers. Having an insurance covers these costs and ensures the smooth conduct of their business. If one works for a business, their insurance is covered by their employers. Individual plumbers or those wishing to start their own firms could contact an insurance agency and enquire about the different types of policies available. 

All employers working with four or more regular or part-time employees must have worker’s compensation insurance to cover the medical expenditures of workers who get injured on the job site.

Another very important type of insurance is the General Liability Insurance that covers costs of bodily injuries as well as any type of damage to the client’s property. The general liability policy from certain agencies also covers the costs when a problem arises in the products installed by the plumber.

There could also be certain vaccines that plumbers could look into to protect their health from potential risks.


  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • High School or GED Certificate
  • College Degree or Vocational Courses
  • Complete an apprenticeship
  • Pass the Licensing Tests

Provided here is a step by step guide on how to become a plumber in South Carolina.

It takes 4 years of schooling in plumbing trade before one can secure an apprenticeship and go on to become a licensed plumber in the state of South Carolina. Plumbing schools in this state offer great quality education and the curriculum includes teachings on repairs, installations etc. courses re available online as well as in person.


Apprentice plumbers in this state do not need a license to perform their work. one could secure an apprenticeship at a local plumbing company or by searching for job listings. Unions also offer educational and employment opportunities. The hours of the apprenticeship depend on one’s on-the-job training program.

Apprentice plumber


The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations issues plumbing licenses in this state. Most kinds of plumbing work can only be performed if one has a license. Without a license, plumbers are restricted to small kinds of repair work and unclogging pipes.

There are three kinds of plumbing licenses in South Carolina:

  • Residential Plumbing License Contractor
  • Master Plumber License
  • Mechanical Contractor

To perform commercial plumbing work, one must have a Commercial Plumbing License.

These licenses allow plumbers to perform all sorts of tasks from repairs to installations. Many counties have different licensing requirements. A thorough criminal background check of most candidates is conducted. There are two exams that a candidate has to pass in order to obtain their plumbing license.

Licensing exam

  • A trade exam to test their knowledge of plumbing.
  • A residential business and law exam to test their knowledge of South Carolina laws regarding permits and regulations.

A plumbing license in the state of South Carolina has to be renewed every two years.


It is mandatory to attend four years of training in a plumbing trade school in order to acquire a plumbing license in this state. Vocational trade schools are therefore in huge demand in South Carolina. Most of these schools also offer great educational and on-the-job training that prepares students for employment in the plumbing industry. This section will look into some of the best plumbing schools in South Carolina that interested students could look into.

Vocational training school

  • York Technical College, Rock Hill – offers a course in HVAC and plumbing. Students learn about the usage of tools as well as work on hands-on projects. By the end of this program, students are well-equipped to work on installation and troubleshooting of residential as well as commercial systems.
  • Midlands Technical College – offers courses in welding and HVAC technology that could be immensely beneficial for those wishing to start a career in the plumbing industry.
  • Horry – Georgetown Technical College – offers two courses. One of these courses offers training for becoming a residential HVAC technician. The course helps students to prepare for their licensing procedure for plumbing.
  • Technical College of LowCountry, Beaufort – offers a certification program in plumbing. The program takes two semester for completion, during the course of which, students learn about basic residential plumbing, water distribution and sewer systems.
  • All Clear Plumbing, Piedmont – offers an apprenticeship program in plumbing. It is a 4-year program that provides classroom instruction as well as on-the-job training.

There are also a number of other schools that students could explore, as per their requirements.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, almost all companies in South Carolina had to shut their offices. Plumbing was however, declared as an “essential service”. Plumbers have therefore been offering their services to the clients. As the plumbing systems are being fully utilised by families staying at home, the need for plumbing services has increased manifold. Plumbers have in fact been reported saying that the pandemic has made them busier than ever. The PHCC Education Foundation has also stated that almost 100,000 mew plumbing technicians will be required to fill up the void created by the retiring plumbers. Therefore, the industry demands a lot of young brains to take up the tasks and devise more innovative plumbing strategies. The delivery of services is now being accompanied by extra safety and maintaining the health of citizens will always remain the first priority of all plumbers in the state. The upcoming picture for the plumbing industry in South Carolina looks very bright.

Employment prospects

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