Concrete testers, or inspectors, certify that concrete meets industry standards. They monitor and evaluate construction sites to ensure that building materials can withstand the placement of concrete. Concrete testers may perform their work in lab or travel to construction sites. Many testers work full time, regular business hours. However, some may work overtime, weekends and holidays during peak construction periods.
The national average income for concrete testers is $40,968 per year or $19.70 per hour as of 2013, according to Salary Expert, a national salary survey site. Concrete tester average wages for 10 randomly selected areas are featured on the site. These include Missouri at $19.84 per hour; Charlotte, N.C. at $18.73 per hour; Los Angeles at $19.02 per hour; San Diego, $18.98 per hour; Pennsylvania, $18.10 per hour; Dallas, $17.21 per hour; Chicago, $17.48 per hour; Atlanta, $25.26 per hour; Houston, $20.25 per hour; and Bismarck, N.D., $20.21 per hour.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes concrete testers in its construction and building inspector category. The top-paying industry for this job category was waste treatment and disposal at an average of $36.63 per hour as of May 2012. Other top-paying industries were electric power generation, transmission and distribution centers, at $35.41 per hour; and natural gas distribution centers, at $33.36 per hour. Among the states and District of Columbia, D.C ranked first at an average of $35.91 per hour. California was second at $35.24 per hour, followed by Nevada at $34.12, Alaska at $32.55 and Washington at $31.58.
The BLS predicts that employment for construction and building inspectors will increase by 18 percent through 2020, above the14 percent projected growth rate for all occupations. Factors driving demand include concern for public safety and increased desire for quality. Industries with the strongest growth will be the government and architectural and engineering, according to the BLS. Larger jurisdictions tend to hire inspectors with a specialty, such as concrete inspectors, while smaller jurisdictions tend to hire one tester for all areas.
Although the minimum qualification of a concrete tester is a high school diploma, most states also require certification. Typical requirements, according to the BLS, include experience, a high school diploma and passing an examination. Associations offering certification include the International Code Council and the National Fire Protection Association. On-the-job training includes testing techniques, regulations, specifications and record keeping. Personal traits that will benefit you in this occupation include the ability to communicate clearly, attention to detail and mechanical knowledge.