Building inspectors perform the important job of examining buildings to assure that the building meets government regulations designed to protect the public. Building inspectors also work in the real estate industry to make certain that buildings meet lender or other requirements. As the demand for building inspectors continues to rise, those with a building inspector certification should find numerous employment opportunities, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Vocational, technical and community colleges often offer certificate programs for building inspectors. These programs generally last about one year, though the length of instruction varies depending on school requirements. These programs teach students to inspect buildings according to local codes which vary depending on local need. For example, in northern states codes require roof structures to handle weight from snow, while in coastal areas codes require buildings to resist hurricane winds. Programs help students prepare for state and local licensing examinations.
A student who obtains a building inspector certification learns a variety of skills. While program requirements vary depending on the specific school offering the certification and the needs of the local area, most programs teach similar basic skills. Some common skills obtained studying for certification includes electrical, mechanical and plumbing inspection, construction practices, energy efficiency, fire safety and zoning. Students also learn about the local legal system as it applies to enforcement of building codes.
Building inspector certification programs offer both those working in the building field and those without experience to learn the skills required to succeed as a building inspector. Even in states without an educational requirement for building inspectors, employers may prefer to hire applicants with certification over those without it. Certification programs are also useful for those with industry experience or past inspection experience to become familiar with new building codes and building practices.
In addition to building inspector certification, many schools also offer two year associate degree programs in building inspection. Some four year colleges that do not offer certificate programs may also offer degrees in building inspection. Many jurisdictions require building inspectors to receive continuing education. While employers may offer these opportunities, many schools also provide classes that meet this requirement. To qualify for more complex inspection positions, employers may require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field.