California Building Inspector Certification Program Overviews

There are more than 20 schools within California that have building inspector certification programs. Read an overview of the 10 largest schools' programs, requirements, and tuition information and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

Several schools and private agencies in California provide training that prepares students to pursue building code inspector certification. Some training courses are offered as part of associate's degree or certificate programs at 2-year colleges. These program titles include:

  • Building Inspection Technology
  • Building Inspection and Construction Codes
  • Building Safety and Code Administration
  • Vocational Certificate in Construction Inspection

Career Requirements

Construction inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials in California are required to have adequate training and the appropriate certification necessary to demonstrate knowledge of building codes and construction practices so that they can evaluate compliance safety standards for buildings in the state. Many employers require certification through an agency, such as the International Code Council.

According to the California health and safety code, building inspectors may apply for certification from local agencies within one year of completing a year of relevant experience. Additionally, 45 hours of continuing education for every 3-year period of employment in this field is required, with at least eight of those hours devoted to updating knowledge of disability access requirements. Below, you can examine information about ten schools that offer preparatory programs. Also, explore the details of the school comparison table.


Butte College

Butte College is located in the rural town of Oroville, and it offers a variety of choices in its building inspection technology program. There is one associate degree offering in this field as well as five certificate programs in subjects including building inspection, sustainable architectural studies, and sustainable construction planning.

The 60-unit Associate of Science and 52-unit certificate of achievement in building inspection technology both require a series of classes in international building codes, electrical codes, soils, concrete and masonry, disability access, and building permits. This program is designed to provide graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge for jobs and certification as building inspectors.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Building Inspection Technology,
    Associate of Science in Building Inspection Technology
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,334 in-state,
    $6,134 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; rural

Cabrillo College

Aptos, a midsize suburb of Santa Cruz, is home to Cabrillo College. This school offers building inspection certificate and associate degree programs. The Associate of Science in Building Inspection and Construction Codes is a 60-unit program that covers subjects like construction fundamentals, blueprint reading, fundamentals of the uniform plumbing code, and electric code and materials. Associate degree students also take general education requirements like English and math, but for students who seek a shorter, more focused program there is a 37-unit certificate of achievement in this field of study as well. Both programs aim to prepare students to interpret building plans and drawings and to inspect and analyze buildings for adherence to current building codes and sustainability sciences.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Building Inspection and Construction Codes,
    Associate of Science in Building Inspection and Construction Codes
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,153 in-state,
    $5,662 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize suburb

Coastline Community College

Coastline Community College is located in Fountain Valley, a small city southeast of Long Beach. Students who aspire to work as building inspectors may be able to apply previous work experience to the certificate of achievement or A.S. degree in building codes technology. Both programs offer five concentrations that allow students to train for jobs like code professional, permit technician, or building inspector. Coursework from the 27-unit certificate may also be applied to the Associate of Science offered at Coastline; however, the A.S. program requires additional general education coursework and may take two years to complete. These programs qualify graduates to take the ICC (International Code Council) certification exams.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Building Codes Technology,
    Associate of Science in Building Codes Technology
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,136 in-state,
    $5,168 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

Cosumnes River College

Cosumnes River College in Sacramento offers an Associate of Science and a certificate of achievement in building inspection technology. These programs are designed to prepare graduates for success on one of the certification exams required by employers in this field. Students in this program are offered opportunities for field trips to construction sites and have access to instructors who are current building inspectors and city officials. There are also eight separate programs in related areas for students who want to expand their understanding of code enforcement to areas such as masonry, steel, or concrete inspection.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Building Inspector Technology,
    Associate of Science in Building Inspector Technology
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,104 in-state,
    $7,200 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

Diablo Valley College

Diablo Valley College is located northeast of Oakland in Pleasant Hill. The Associate of Science and certificate of achievement in construction both can be completed with a specialization in building inspection. This specialization is designed to provide the needed training for certification and careers in this field. In both programs, students take up to 33 units of coursework in various types of building codes and construction specifications. Students learn about blueprint reading, building code interpretation, and electrical codes. Those who seek an associate degree must complete general education classes as well, for a total of 60 units.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Construction and Building Inspection,
    Associate of Science in Construction and Building Inspection
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,298 in-state,
    $6,758 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Fresno City College

This college in Fresno offers a 29-unit certificate of achievement and an associate degree in building safety and code administration. Both programs contain required coursework in building codes, plans examining, California disabled access regulations, architectural practice, and industrial mathematics. Students also choose from elective courses in national electrical code, plumbing code and inspection, and statics and strength of materials. To earn the associate degree, candidates must complete an additional 31 units of general education coursework.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Building Safety and Code Administration,
    Associate of Applied Science in Building Safety and Code Administration
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,140 in-state,
    $6,780 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

Fullerton College

Located southeast of Los Angeles in Fullerton, Fullerton College offers an Associate of Science and a vocational certificate in construction inspection, both of which are designed to prepare graduates for certification exams and entry-level employment. Required coursework for both programs addresses various types of plumbing, electrical, and mechanical codes. Students also receive training in residential and commercial building codes and blueprint reading. Students in the certificate program complete additional electives, choosing from courses in concrete and masonry, industrial safety, and other areas.

  • Programs Offered: Vocational Certificate in Construction Inspection,
    Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,138 in-state,
    $6,010 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize city

Pasadena City College

The engineering and technology department at this community college in Pasadena offers a certificate of achievement in construction inspection composed of 30-31 units. Coursework covers building codes, plans reading, and building materials and aims to prepare students for work as building inspectors. Students seeking a degree in this field may also pursue an Associate of Science: this requires completion of the coursework for the certificate of achievement, along with general education courses, for a total of 60 units.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Construction Inspection,
    Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,152 in-state,
    $6,504 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize city

Southwestern College

The construction inspection program at Southwestern College in Chula Vista offers two choices for prospective building inspectors: a certificate of achievement and an associate degree in construction inspection. Both include courses in building codes, construction materials, electrical inspection, soils engineering, and blueprint reading. The degree program requires additional general education coursework.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Construction Inspection,
    Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,334 in-state,
    $6,654 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Ventura College

This college, located north of Los Angeles in Ventura, offers a certificate and an associate degree program in construction technology with an emphasis in building inspection, both of which aim to prepare students for appropriate certification in the field. Students in both programs take required courses in blueprint reading and various codes, after which they choose from electives in topics such as structural masonry construction, green building, and building accessibility regulations. The program is unique in that it's the only one of its size and type between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate of Achievement in Construction Technology: Building Inspection,
    Associate of Science in Construction Technology: Building Inspection
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $1,338 in-state,
    $7,050 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Building Inspector Certification Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
Butte College 2-year, public; rural Certificate of Achievement in Building Inspection Technology,
Associate of Science in Building Inspection Technology
$1,334 in-state,
$6,134 out-of-state*
Cabrillo College 2-year, public; midsize suburb Certificate of Achievement in Building Inspection and Construction Codes,
Associate of Science in Building Inspection and Construction Codes
$1,153 in-state,
$5,662 out-of-state*
Coastline Community College 2-year, public; small city Certificate of Achievement in Building Codes Technology,
Associate of Science in Building Codes Technology
$1,136 in-state,
$5,168 out-of-state*
Cosumnes River College 2-year, public; large city Certificate of Achievement in Building Inspector Technology,
Associate of Science in Building Inspector Technology
$1,104 in-state,
$7,200 out-of-state*
Diablo Valley College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Construction and Building Inspection,
Associate of Science in Construction and Building Inspection
$1,298 in-state,
$6,758 out-of-state*
Fresno City College 2-year, public; large city Certificate of Achievement in Building Safety and Code Administration,
Associate of Applied Science in Building Safety and Code Administration
$1,140 in-state,
$6,780 out-of-state*
Fullerton College 2-year, public; midsize city Vocational Certificate in Construction Inspection,
Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
$1,138 in-state,
$6,010 out-of-state*
Pasadena City College 2-year, public; midsize city Certificate of Achievement in Construction Inspection,
Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
$1,152 in-state,
$6,504 out-of-state*
Southwestern College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Construction Inspection,
Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
$1,334 in-state,
$6,654 out-of-state*
Ventura College 2-year, public; midsize city Certificate of Achievement in Construction Technology: Building Inspection,
Associate of Science in Construction Technology: Building Inspection
$1,338 in-state,
$7,050 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
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    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor in Construction Management
    • Associate
        • Associate in Construction Technology

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 17 years of age or older
    School locations:
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Chula Vista
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Construction Management and Trades
        • Building Inspection
        • Construction Site Management
      • Electrical Repair and Maintenance
      • Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
  • School locations:
    • Juneau
    Areas of study you may find at University of Alaska include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Construction Management and Trades
        • Building Inspection
        • Carpentry
        • Electrical and Power Transmission Installers
      • Precision Metal Working
      • Vehicle Repair and Maintenance
  • School locations:
    • Stanford
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Cambridge
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Providence
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Durham
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
      • Botany
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Zoology

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