Home Inspector: Career Definition, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become a home inspector. Learn about job duties, education requirements, job outlook, and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Home Inspection degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Home Inspector?

Home inspectors assess the electrical, heating, plumbing and structural systems in houses. Often times these inspections require the use of survey instruments, metering devices and test equipment. Inspectors keep daily logs, provide written documentation of findings and take photographs of inspections, which they keep with their logs. In the event of a violation during construction, home inspectors issue notices and stop-work orders until the building is compliant. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree RequiredHigh school diploma or the equivalent
Training Required On the job training with an experienced inspector
Key Responsibilities Inspects residential dwellings; checks and reports on a home's structure and overall condition; inspects roofing, exterior walls, foundation, plumbing, and interior; reports violations of building codes
Licensure/CertificationMany states require licensure and/or certification. In order to obtain a license or certification you will have to pass an exam. Certification from associations such as the International Code Council may be required.
Job Growth (2014-2024)8% for construction and building inspectors*
Median Salary (May 2015)$57,340 for construction and building inspectors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is the Career Definition of a Home Inspector?

Many home inspectors are self-employed contractors. Homeowners or potential homebuyers who wish to confirm the structural soundness of a house and the functionality of its utility systems hire home inspectors. When you become a home inspector, you'll be responsible for examining a home's foundation, exterior, roofing and interior, as well as the water, heating and electrical systems. You will also look for and report building code violations to the homeowners although you will not enforce these codes. You might work regular but flexible hours in order to accommodate your clients' schedules.

What Is the Employment Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for all building and construction inspectors, which includes home inspectors, were expected to grow by 8% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of 2015, the average annual income for building and construction inspectors was $60,030.

What Education Requirements Must I Fulfill?

You don't need to fulfill any minimum educational requirements beyond high school to become a home inspector. However, hiring companies tend to seek candidates who have an engineering background, or who have acquired certificates or associate's degrees in building inspection technology, home inspection or a similar field. You will find these programs offered in community colleges around the nation. This formal training can sometimes take the place of work prior experience.

If you opt for an associate's degree program in building inspection technology, your curriculum could cover topics such as mechanical inspection, plumbing codes, field inspection, concrete and soil technology, wood frame construction and steel construction principles. Although educational requirements for home inspectors aren't set, some states may require that you become licensed or certified.

Licensing prerequisites vary by state, but you may need relevant formal education, a passing score on an examination and a certain amount of inspection experience. You should check with your state's licensing agency for exact requirements for licensure. Before becoming a full-time inspector, you'll need good working knowledge of utility systems and carpentry. To become proficient, you might spend years working in one or more of the standard construction specialty trades such as electrical or heating and cooling systems.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Similar to home inspectors, appraisers and assessors of real estate estimate the value of a home. Many of the things home inspectors look for are things architects, electricians and plumbers have to be aware of and incorporate when they are designing homes and home systems. Lastly, many of the tools used by inspectors are also used by surveyors when determining property boundaries.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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