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.
Building Inspector Programs in California
Construction inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials in California are required to have adequate training and the appropriate certification to demonstrate knowledge of building codes and construction practices necessary to evaluate compliance safety standards for buildings in this 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.
There are more than 20 schools and private agencies in California that provide training for building code inspector certification, and some training courses are offered as part of a degree or certificate program. Read about ten of these programs and explore the details in the school comparison table.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
School Comparison Table
|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, |
|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, |
|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, |
|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, |
|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, |
|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, |
|Fullerton College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Vocational Certificate in Construction Inspection, |
Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
| $1,138 in-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, |
|Southwestern College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement in Construction Inspection, |
Associate of Science in Construction Inspection
| $1,334 in-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, |
Source: *NCES College Navigator
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