Most plumbing work in South Carolina requires you to have a license. Even if you hold a license issued by another state or have experience as a plumber in another state, you will be required to obtain a plumbing license issued by South Carolina in order to perform plumbing work in the state. There are two types of licenses required in South Carolina. For most work, the Residential Contractor Plumbing license is required. However, for jobs amounting to $5,000 or more, a Commercial Contractor license is required.
The steps to becoming a licensed plumber in South Carolina are relatively straightforward. The first step in the process is ensuring that you have all of the required experience and forms that allow you to apply for a license. Once your eligibility for a license is confirmed, you will receive a letter of eligibility to take the exam. This letter gives you up to one year to take the exams for your license. The first exam you must take is the Business and Law exam, and the second exam you need to take is the Residential Plumbing exam. After you pass your exams, you will need to pay the licensing fees, and then you will be issued your license.
Obtaining a plumbing license in South Carolina
Obtaining a plumbing license, regardless of the type of license, in South Carolina is virtually the same process. The first step is filling out the application, followed by taking the examinations. The only thing you need to be eligible to apply for a license is one year of practical experience working under a licensed plumbing contractor doing plumbing work.
If you already hold a license in another state, you still need to obtain a license issued by South Carolina. This means you need to take and pass the exams, but you are exempt from the prerequisite of having a year of work experience.
How to apply for a plumbing license in South Carolina
When you apply for a license, what you’re really applying for is the eligibility to take the exams. The application form needs to be submitted, after which you will receive a letter of eligibility to take the exams. Along with the application, there are other forms and some fees that you must include at the time you apply. The following materials are also required with your application submission:
- Certified Check or Money Order for the $100 application fee made payable to SCRBC.
- Copy of your driver’s license or other secure and verifiable document.
- Copy of social security card.
- Notarized Affidavit (Signature Affidavit)
- This is a document used to verify your one year of work experience required in order to be eligible for a license.
- Completed and notarized Verification of Lawful Presence Form.
- Copies of W2’s and/or 1099’s from employer who will be filling out your affidavit of experience.
- Certifications, transcripts, resume’s and any other supporting documentation of work experience in the trade
- applied for.
- Copies of licenses from other states and Verification of Licensure from the states in which you hold a plumbing license
- Include written explanation(s) for any “Yes” answer(s) for questions in the “General Information” section of the application and include any supporting documentation.
- If you answer “Yes” to any question(s) pertaining to an arrest and/or conviction, you must remit a Statewide Background Check from the state where the incident occurred in a sealed envelope from the state agency along with your written explanation.
After you submit this application, you will need to wait for your Letter of Exam Eligibility before you can schedule your exams.
Scheduling and Taking Your Plumbing Exams
The exams for the contractor plumbing license in South Carolina are administered and issued by PSI Examinations. In order to receive a license to be a plumber in South Carolina you must pass two exams.
The first portion of the exam is the SC Residential Business Management and Law exam, which takes about 120 minutes to complete. This exam pertains to information regarding the management and law surrounding plumbing work across the state. The topics of each question include but are not limited to:
- Business Management
- Estimating and Bidding
- Contracts and Agreements
- Project Management
- Insurance and Bonding
- Safety Recordkeeping and Reporting
- Labor Laws and Employment Regulations
- Financial Management
- Tax Laws
- Environmental Laws and Regulations
The second portion of the exam is the SC Residential Plumbing exam. This exam takes 180 minutes and pertains the trade specific knowledge required for plumbing work in South Carolina. The questions from this exam include, but are not limited to, the topics of:
- ADA Accessibility
- General Plumbing Knowledge
- General Plumbing Regulations
- Hangers and Supports
- Joints and Connections
- Fixtures and Equipment
- Water Heaters
- Water Supply and Distribution
- Backflow Prevention
- Sanitary Drainage Systems
- Indirect and Special Waste
- Sanitary Venting
- Traps and Interceptors
- Storm Piping Systems
- Plumbing – Developed Length
- DWV Isometric Analysis (Isometric Based)
- Water Supply Isometric Analysis
- Roof Drain Isometric Analysis
- Pipe Assembly
- General Fuel Knowledge
- Natural Gas
- LP – Gas
To take just one portion of the exam, the fee is $75. If you want to take both portions of the exam, the fee is $90. If you already hold a license as a SC Mechanical Contractor with plumbing classification OR you have taken the Master Plumbing exam with the South Carolina Municipal Association (MASC), you are exempt from needing to take and pass the SC residential plumbing exam. You will, however, still need to take and pass the SC Residential Business Management and Law exam.
All exams are open book exams, meaning you can have your code books and other materials present for the exam.
Once you pass your exams, you must mail in your license fee along with your exam score report. The license fees are $160 if the license is issued on or between July 1 in an odd-numbered year to June 30 on an even-numbered year, or $80 if the license is issued on or between July 1 in an even-numbered year to June 30 in an odd-numbered year.
If the work that you are performing will be $5,000 or more, you will also need to submit a typed surety bond in the amount of $10,000. You insurance provider can head the the following link for a form for such a bond: https://www.llr.sc.gov/POL/ResidentialBuilders/PDF/LICENSE%20BOND.pdf
All licenses must be renewed on July 31st of odd numbered years.
Residential Contractor Plumbing License Application: https://llr.sc.gov/res/PDF/Residential_Specialty_Plumbing_App.pdf
Rsidential Contractor Plumbing License application instructions: https://llr.sc.gov/res/PDF/Plumbing_Online_App_Inst_(package).pdf
PSI plumbing examination information: https://candidate.psiexams.com/catalog/fti_agency_license_details.jsp?fromwhere=findtest&testid=629
Residential Plumber FAQ: https://llr.sc.gov/res/PDF/FAQ/RBP%20FAQ.pdf