A Career as a Plumber in South Carolina

If you’ve been considering a career as a plumber, you might wish to know more about the profession and the opportunities it might present. As one of society’s most crucial infrastructures, plumbing can be found nearly everywhere, meaning plumbers can find work almost anywhere. With so many possibilities for employment, this career could easily be a lasting and lucrative choice.

In order to design, install, maintain and repair piping systems, plumbers will need to become experts in reading blueprints, diagnosing problems and choosing the right materials for each job. Extensive knowledge of local building codes will be essential, as will the ability to recognize faulty materials and decide which parts and materials need replacing. Plumbers often need to work in tight spaces while using the various tools of the trade. Welding is usually a requirement, as is measuring, cutting and drilling.

Search Plumber Programs

Get information on Plumber programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

Plumbers will need to have excellent communication skills as they are often tasked with communicating with clients and other contractors. Preparing estimates and bidding for jobs will be common, so it will be essential to know how to estimate the cost of a project accurately. Those who wish to work independently or run a business will also need basic business and marketing skills.

Plumbing programs may cover some of the following topics:

  • Sanitary drainage systems
  • Storm piping systems
  • Solar water heating
  • Natural gas
  • Water supply isometric analysis and related water supply systems
  • How to repair, maintain, and install various plumbing systems
  • Roof drain isometric analysis
  • Indirect and special waste
  • Water conditioning equipment
  • General plumbing regulations
  • General fuel knowledge

Licensing Requirements for South Carolina Plumbers

Plumbers in South Carolina will need to obtain a license through the Contractor’s Licensing Board. There are two types of licenses for which qualified individuals can apply, a Residential Specialty Contractor Plumbing License and a Commercial Contractor License. Applicants will need to be able to pass an examination in order to complete the process.

Plumbing Schools in South Carolina

Plumbers receive training through participation in a training course, an apprenticeship or a combination of both. In either case, a high school diploma or equivalent is a required prerequisite. For a list of open apprenticeships in your area, this website will be useful.

A few of the training courses in South Carolina include:

  • York Technical College in Rock Hill offers courses in Building and Construction Trades. Students can choose a diploma in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration Mechanics or one of several certificates as an HVAC Installer, HVAC Service Technician, HVAC Systems Design and Residential/Commercial Plumbing.
  • Greenville Technical College in Greenville offers a Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration course. Classes are available on either days or evenings to accommodate working students.

South Carolina Plumbing Apprenticeship Opportunities

If you are considering a career as a plumber, you will need to decide how to acquire the proper training. There is more than one path to learning the trade, including attending a training program through a local trade school or community college or entering directly into an apprenticeship program through a union or non-union trade organization. Regardless of which path you choose, you will need to participate in an apprenticeship to master the day-to-day tasks of a professional plumber. 

Apprenticeships place you in the position to work on a professional job site, assisting a master or journey-level plumber in their daily tasks. In the process, you will begin to perform increasingly tricky procedures under the supervision of a qualified plumber. This real-world experience is the hallmark of apprentice training, and allows those who undergo such training to become competent in all aspects of the trade. As an additional advantage to the apprentice, these positions are paid, allowing those who are training to earn a viable living wage. 

Apprenticeships can be completed through a union or with any qualified non-union plumber. The main difference between the two is union membership. Union apprentices will need to join and pay dues to the union, while non-union apprentices have no such requirement.

In South Carolina, there are several options for apprenticeships. These opportunities include non-union apprenticeship programs through All Clear Plumbing in Piedmont and Corely in Greenville, and a union apprenticeship through Local 421 in North Charleston.

Career Certifications

The list of possible certifications plumbers can apply for is long and highly variable. Obtaining a certification can help move your career in a new direction or create a niche for your business. A few possible certifications include Commercial Plumbing Inspector, Certified Plumbing Design Technician and UPC Residential and Commercial Inspector.

Salaries and Potential for Growth

The wage data for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters in South Carolina indicates a lower average annual wage compared to the national figures. Workers in this field in South Carolina earn an average of $48,000 annually, below the national average of $60,090. The lowest 10% of earners in South Carolina make $34,790 or less, while the highest 10% can earn up to $69,570.

National vs. South Carolina Salary Comparison

Location Annual Low (10%) Annual Median (50%) Annual High (90%)
United States $37,250 $60,090 $101,190
South Carolina $34,790 $48,000 $69,570

Salaries by Regions in South Carolina

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual Median (50%) Annual High (90%)
Charleston-North Charleston, SC $36,690 $50,310 $69,670
Columbia, SC $30,600 $45,670 $66,050
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC $36,490 $50,200 $71,270

Plumbing Trends in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the employment trends for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters show positive growth. As of 2020, the state employed approximately 5,900 workers in these professions. By 2030, this number is projected to rise to 6,290, representing a 7% growth rate. Annually, from 2020 to 2030, South Carolina is expected to have about 660 job openings due to growth and replacements.

This growth rate is higher than the national average, which is projected at 2% from 2022 to 2032, with the number of employees increasing from 482,700 to 493,600, and an average of 42,600 projected annual job openings.


Region Employment (Start Year) Projected Employment (End Year) Projected Growth (%) Annual Job Openings
South Carolina 5,900 (2020) 6,290 (2030) 7% 660
United States 482,700 (2022) 493,600 (2032) 2% 42,600

Sources of data:

  1. State Data: The projections for this State from 2020 to 2030 are provided by Projections Central, which offers long-term projections for occupational employment.
  2. United States Data: The nationwide employment projections from 2022 to 2032 are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which regularly publishes detailed employment projections for a wide range of occupations across the United States.