Building Inspector Training Programs and Requirements

Building inspectors are responsible for examining residential and commercial buildings. They inspect plumbing, electrical, mechanical and structural systems and ensure buildings meet strict codes and safety regulations. Building inspectors typically have a postsecondary education and several years of inspection or construction experience. In many states, they are required to be licensed or certified.

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Building Inspector Training Requirements

Although applicants with a high school diploma may be hired, most employers prefer individuals who possess a degree or who have completed classes in building inspection, home inspection or construction science, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS (www.bls.gov). Some entry-level positions offer on-the-job training and most building inspectors are required to have inspection experience prior to employment.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS reported that construction and building inspectors are projected to experience average job growth from 2010-2020, at a rate of about 18% during that period. Additionally, these workers' median salary was $53,450, as of May 2012.

Education Requirements

Educational requirements for building inspectors vary by employer. Some do not require an education beyond high school, but college-level courses give students valuable technical knowledge about building codes, construction safety and proper building inspection. There are certificate and degree programs available for individuals who want to train to become a building inspector.

Building Inspection Certificate

A building inspection certificate program provides students with a basic foundation of inspection knowledge. Most programs require one or two semesters of study, during which students learn how to effectively analyze building and record code violations. These programs allow students to participate in simulated building inspections to gain real-world experience. Typical courses include field, mechanical and electrical inspections, energy conservation in construction and study of international building codes. Other courses may include inspection of masonry or concrete and construction materials.

Associate of Science in Building Inspection Technology

Students looking for a more comprehensive educational program may enroll in an associate's degree program in building inspection technology. These programs introduce students to advanced inspection strategies for commercial and residential buildings, electrical systems and fire safety equipment. Individuals gain a greater understanding of building structures and mechanical operations, while they also become proficient in building inspection techniques. Program coursework typically includes fire and life safety standards, soil studies, wastewater control and building plan review.

Licenses and Certifications

Many states require building inspectors to be licensed or certified. Many employers prefer building inspectors to be certified by the International Code Council (ICC), which offers certifications for residential, commercial and combination building inspectors. Each certification requires inspectors to pass a comprehensive inspection exam.

Building inspectors may become certified building officials, certified commercial inspectors, certified residential inspectors and certified specialty inspectors. Certification is also available in code enforcement, fire safety and building plans examination.

Building inspectors must be licensed by the state where they are employed. Some states require that building inspectors become registered inspectors by completion of a state-sponsored fire code and safety program.

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