What Do Transportation Construction Inspectors Do?

Explore the career requirements for transportation construction inspectors. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Transportation Construction Inspector?

Transportation construction inspectors are in charge of evaluating construction projects related to transportation, such as bridges, roads and sidewalks. They make sure that the project is compliant with local, state and federal regulations. In addition, they check to see that the project meets all contractual obligations. Because many of these projects take months or even years to complete, they often visit several times for mid-project evaluations. Based on their findings, they prepare written reports and take photographs for visual evidence.

Find out about licensing and education requirements from this table:

Degree Required Postsecondary certificate; associate's or bachelor's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Civil engineering, building inspection technology, home inspection
Licensure/Certification State- or local-level licensure or certification required
Key Skills Detail oriented, mechanical knowledge, communication, physical stamina
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all construction and building inspectors)*
Average Salary (2015) $60,030 (for all construction and building inspectors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Transportation Construction Inspector?

As a transportation construction inspector, you are responsible for checking projects for compliance with laws, codes and regulations. You may shut down projects that are hazardous or that fail to meet standards. You may make suggestions on what needs to be done to bring projects up to code or conform to regulations.

During an inspection, you may check specific aspects of a project such as soil, foundations, joints and materials. You may look at concrete work, structure construction and drainage. Through hands-on inspections, tests and questions, you get an idea of the safety of the project and can spot any areas that need attention.

Where Can I Find Employment?

Projects you may inspect include bridges, sidewalks and driveways. You may inspect the work of construction companies or private citizens. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2014, inspectors of building and construction projects held 101,200 jobs (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported an expected 8% job growth in the field from 2014-2024, in part due to increased regulations.

How Do I Prepare for This Career?

You may need an associate's or bachelor's degree in civil engineering, construction technology or a related field to pursue a career in transportation construction inspection. Some employers may hire you if you're currently enrolled in one of these college programs. In addition to formal training, employers typically require work experience in the transportation construction field. You may need specific experience in inspections or engineering roles.

According to the BLS, you may be required to become licensed or certified as a construction inspector depending on your regional laws and place of employment. Licensure is often available at the local or state level, but some employers may require certification through a professional organization. Obtaining these credentials typically requires qualifying to sit for examinations and then receiving passing scores.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as a transportation construction inspector, you could get a job inspecting something different. For instance, as an elevator inspector, you would evaluate the mechanical and controls systems of elevators, escalators, amusement park rides and other lifting machines in order to ensure safety and regulatory compliance. Another option is a position as a plumbing inspector, where you would assess water systems in both residential and industrial settings. To get any of these jobs you need to have at least a high school diploma, but certification may be required by some states.

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