Building inspectors ensure that the construction and quality of buildings meet codes and standards. They inspect projects that require building permits, such as new home construction, building additions and solar equipment installation. To enter the profession, you must have at least a high school diploma and construction experience, and some states require certification or licensing.
Gain the Knowledge
Employers of building inspectors typically hire high school graduates and train them on the job. Obtain a post-secondary credential -- such as an associate degree in construction technology or construction science -- to stand out from the pack. These programs enhance your knowledge of construction materials, blueprint reading, residential construction and safety standards.
Develop Essential Skills
To excel as a building inspector, you must have superb practical, analytical and communication skills. The job involves reviewing construction blueprints and building plans, a role that requires a keen eye for detail to detect minor code violations. You need practical skills to handle inspection equipment and other work tools. Because building inspectors often work in confined spaces, a high level of manual dexterity can make the work easier.
Get Licensed or Certified
Before looking for a job, you must check with your state’s regulatory body to determine licensing requirements. Although many states require building inspectors to obtain a license or certificate, others -- such as California -- only license inspectors of acute care and skilled nursing facilities. If your state issues a license, you generally must have a high school diploma, liability insurance and some work experience, and pass an examination to earn it. The International Code Council and the National Institute of Building Inspectors offers voluntary certification programs, which you can complete to improve your employment prospects.
Find a Job
As a qualified and licensed or certified building inspector, you can hunt for a job in a local, state or federal government departments, architectural and engineering firms and technical consulting companies (Ref 5). After gaining more experience, you can earn additional certifications and an advanced degree to become a senior inspector or supervisor. You could also earn bachelor’s degree in construction management to find employment as a construction manager. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be about 12,500 new jobs for construction and building inspectors between 2012 and 2022. This represent a 12 percent employment growth -- greater than the 11 percent average for all jobs.