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An electrical inspector is responsible for enforcing local electrical codes and regulations and works under the supervision of the designer or chief building inspector. The electrical inspector verifies that wiring, lighting, motors and other electrical devices within a building are safe and adhere to regulations. Electrical inspectors also examine heating and air-conditioning systems, appliances and other components. Becoming an electrical inspector requires some electrical background, education or both.
Obtain a thorough knowledge of electricity, electronics and codes in the area you want to work. Most inspectors have some college experience, and around a quarter of them have bachelor’s degrees, according to the Education Portal website. Common fields of study include electronics, architecture and others. Two-year degrees or considerable work experience in the field as an electrician may also be acceptable.
Pass any required licensure or certification courses required in your area. The International Association of Electrical inspectors (IAEI) offers licenses and certification.
Get accustomed to the idea of working alone—much of an inspector’s job requires solo work. While much of your time will be spent examining job sites, just as much or more of your time will be spent in a field office looking at blueprints, fielding phone calls, writing reports and scheduling inspections.
Learn the true nature of the job and make sure it's for you. You'll need to be in shape and coordinated, as you'll be spending a lot of time climbing around and working in tight spaces and will be required to often operate on hard-hat sites. Construction sites are dirty and cluttered, but the work is typically safe assuming you're qualified.
Your schedule will primarily be during typical business hours, with the exception of special projects or exceptionally busy building periods. However, if accidents occur, you'll be required to arrive at the site as soon as possible, and you may not be able to leave until a report is filed.
Check with your local codes departments and express your interest in becoming an electrical inspector; talk to the people responsible for hiring this type of position. Networking with people in the field can help you land a job, and it can help you gain knowledge about openings locally or elsewhere once you have all the required experience and education.
Consider working as an independent and self-employed electrical inspector. Many inspectors not employed by local government agencies work for themselves.
Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.