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Transportation Inspector: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for a transportation inspector. Get the facts about salary, education requirements and job duties to determine if this is the right career for you.

What is a Transportation Inspector?

Transportation inspectors often inspect and review vehicles and other equipment for evidence of maleficence. They will check equipment to determine compliance with rules and regulations and may also run diagnostic tests and other efficiency tests on machinery. Additionally, based upon inspection results, transportation inspectors will complete accident or incident reports and may recommend changes or corrective actions. In general a transportation inspector examines equipment found in transportation vehicles for safety and quality assurance purposes.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Requirements No formal education required; associate's degree may be beneficial
Education Field of StudyAutomotive technology, aviation maintenance technology
Training Required On-the-job, accompanied by classroom instruction
Key Responsibilities Analyze vehicle instrumentation to detect malfunctions; ensure vehicles meet safety requirements
Job Growth (2018-2028) 4%
Median Salary (2018) $73,780*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Salary Could I Earn as a Transportation Inspector?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation inspectors earned annual median wages of $73,780 in 2018. A 4% growth was expected in the decade ranging from 2018 to 2028.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), transportation inspectors don't have formal educational requirements. Instead, the most important training for this position is prior experience in a similar job (www.bls.gov).

On-the-job training and classroom instruction are generally offered to new hires. Training programs might last for about six months. Industry knowledge is gained through actual work experience. However, it may be beneficial to acquire a degree in an area that relates to the vehicles you inspect.

For example, you could study aviation maintenance technology if you want to inspect aircraft, or enroll in an automotive technology program if you'd like to inspect automobiles. Such programs can be found in many community colleges and technical schools. High school courses such as computer applications and auto mechanics and repair would also be helpful in preparing you for a career as a transportation inspector.

An associate's degree program in automotive technology might offer courses in topics such as:

  • Engine performance
  • Electrical and fuel systems
  • Automotive transmission and engine repair
  • Steering and brakes
  • Automotive emissions
  • Advanced automotive electronics
  • Automotive driveline laboratory
  • Diesel engine theory

If you'd prefer to study aviation maintenance technology, an associate's degree curriculum might include the following courses:

  • Airframe maintenance
  • Airframe structures
  • Aircraft engines
  • Powerplant systems and maintenance
  • Advanced aircraft maintenance

What Job Duties Would I Have?

Your duties as a transportation inspector would involve analyzing the gauges, meters and instrumentation of vehicles or aircraft in order to detect damaged or malfunctioning components, and checking engines and systems for signs of wear. Additionally, you'd be responsible for ensuring that transport vehicles are in compliance with safety standards and performing investigations in case of possible safety violations.

If repairs were made to vehicles, you'd examine the equipment to ascertain that the repairs were done satisfactorily. It would be necessary to maintain documentation of your findings, recommend any necessary corrective courses of action and issue certificates of compliance. Sometimes, you might be required to testify in court or make police reports as to safety violations.

What are some Related Alternative Careers?

For those interested in transportation inspector careers, hand laborers and material movers, material moving machine operators and water and transportation workers might be additional career options. A water transportation worker maintains and operates vessels used for shipping and passage over waterways. The vessels travel from foreign and domestic ports, maintain accurate records, and understand custom regulations. Hand laborers and material movers will manually move freight, stock or other materials using specialized equipment. Other duties may include material removal from machines, machine maintenance or appropriate packing of materials. Material moving machine operators use machinery to transport objects. Depending on the employment setting, objects can be moved from various locations and sites. All these professions, like transportation inspectors, do not require formal education (although advised) but do require training and experience.