How to Become a Building Inspector

Become a Building Inspector Career Training

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Building and home inspectors provide important functions to residents. They make sure that safety codes are met, and check that all systems are working properly in houses or buildings. If you are interested in this kind of work, you could improve your skills through retraining, such as through online building inspector training courses.

Career Skills of Building Inspectors

There are numerous sub-specialties in the building inspector field, including fire inspector, home inspector, plumbing inspector, mechanical inspector, and public works inspector. Depending on the specialty, building inspectors need to develop a wide array of career skills, the most basic being a good understanding of building inspection codes and responsibilities, such as Federal guidelines established by the International Code Council.

Aspiring building inspectors should have an understanding of construction, an attention to detail, and be task-oriented.

Career Advice: Look to Retrain in Today's Economy

Today, more than four out of every ten building inspectors work for the government, typically at the local level. About 10% of construction and building inspectors are self-employed with the minimal educational requirements for this career varying depending on an individual's career path and goals.

Employers generally prefer that job candidates posses some form of post-secondary education like an associate's degree. A background in engineering and architecture can be useful to a building inspector and online building inspector training courses can help improve your skills in these areas. Courses in construction technology, mathematics, and drafting can also help you stay ahead of the competition.

With a good mix of experience, education, and technical understanding, individuals should have few problems joining this growing career field. If you have a background as an electrician, carpenter, or plumber, you might consider retraining in order to enter the building inspection industry.

Career Outlook for Building Inspectors

  • Percentage of building inspectors employed by local governments: Approximately 43 percent in May 2013
  • Job opportunities for building inspectors: Building inspectors who have experience as construction supervisors, craft-workers, professional certification, and a college education should have the best job prospects
  • The buck stops here: Government building inspectors can institute "stop work" orders on construction sites that fail to correct faults and have problems within a specific time frame
  • Nature of the job: Building and construction inspectors, for the most part, work alone. But for complex assignments, several may be called to work together because of each building inspector's specific area of expertise
  • Typical duties of a building inspector: In addition to inspection, building inspectors review blueprints, schedule inspection times, and communicate with clients
  • Certification needed? Many States require building inspectors to be either certified or licensed.
  • Building Inspector Salary in May 2013: Median salary was $56,430 with top 10% making more than $85,410 annually.
  • Highest Paying States in May 2013:California, Alaska, Nevada, North Dakota, District of Columbia.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Construction and Building Inspectors, May 2013 Wages
American Society of Home Inspectors