Real estate contracts give home buyers the right to a home inspection before finalizing the purchase of a home. Home inspectors evaluate everything from a home's structural integrity to the quality of the bathtub caulking. Some, but not all, states regulate the home inspection profession and require you to complete a home inspection course of study, complete an apprenticeship and pass a licensing examination to become a home inspector. The courses you must take, the sequence of educational and internship requirements and the fees for becoming a home inspector vary by state.
Read your state's requirements for becoming a home inspector. Places to find such information could include, but are not limited to, your real estate board, the contractor licensing board or the department that regulates licensed occupations at the state level. The laws of your state, known as the state code or statutes, also contain information on regulated professions, including home inspectors. Access them on your state government website. The American Society of Home Inspectors, or ASHI, also maintains a list of the requirements for becoming a home inspector organized by state.
Enroll in home inspector classes. Some states require prospective home inspectors to enroll in the course of study offered by ASHI. ASHI's home inspector courses cost between $3,292 and $4,295 as of July 2011, depending on whether your state requires the 120-hour or the 160-hour home inspector course of study. If your state does not regulate where you take home inspector classes, you can enroll in such classes at community colleges, real estate boards, private home inspection schools and online.
Pass your state's required home inspector licensing exam. Whether your state requires ASHI's National Home Inspection Examination or requires its own exam, you must pass the exam for licensing eligibility. You can use your course materials to study for the exam or purchase home inspection study materials at bookstores and online. Exam fees vary by state.
Complete a home inspection internship. You must find an internship with a licensed home inspector or home inspection company in good standing, if your state requires an internship. As a new home inspector, you can network with home inspectors you know or real estate agents to find an inspector willing to provide you with an internship opportunity that adheres with state regulations. Your state determines the number of internship hours you must complete to be eligible for licensure.
Apply for a home inspection license to operate your business legally in your jurisdiction. Consult the website of the agency that regulates the profession in your state to find out which forms and fees you must submit to obtain your license. You can also apply for a tax identification number on the website of the Internal Revenue Service and a business license from your local jurisdiction, if required. A tax ID number and a business license allow you to open banking and credit accounts and thus, keep your finances separate, which could prove useful when filing your annual tax returns.