Factors that influence the salary of a thermographer include knowledge of electrical application for infrared technology in performing inspections, the characteristics of the structure he specializes in and his level of certification. A job as a thermographer may lead to a career as a building inspector or a plan examiner. Building inspectors and plan examiners earn the highest salaries among those in the construction and building inspection sector, which includes thermographers.
Electrical thermographers occupy the median wage for thermographers at $43,000 while infrared thermographers earn an average salary of $30,000 as of 2011, according to Indeed. The Institute of Infrared Thermography states that electrical inspection is the number-one application for infrared imaging technology around the world. Electrical thermographers use the technology of infrared imaging in identifying problems in electrical systems before they occur.
Structure and Salary
The Building Science Institute states that infrared demographic imaging is non-invasive, fast and safe. While thermographers may use the same infrared thermal imaging technology, the type of structure that each thermographer specializes in makes for a significant salary difference. As of 2011, an infrared thermographer specialized in home inspection earns an average annual salary of $60,000, while an infrared building inspector earns an average annual salary of $34,000, according to Indeed.
Certifications and Salary
Certifications influence thermographer salaries as well. To achieve professional certification, thermographers sit through three levels of courses. Level I is an introductory course that follows a written test procedure. Level I students operate their infrared cameras and software. They identify and assess thermal anomalies based on heat patterns, equipment and experience. The Level II course is about using more than one diagnostic technology to identify the root cause of certain problems and recommending repairs. The Level III course is about writing a thermography program for a company’s maintenance and inspection practices, developing test methods and criteria for determining the severity of problems, identifying equipment inspection requirements and calculating the return on investment of the thermography program. As of 2011, Level II infrared thermographic technicians earn $59,000, while Level III infrared thermographic technicians earn $63,000, according to Indeed.
Advancement and Salary
A thermographer who pursues additional qualifications may earn more. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition,” of those holding jobs similar to that of a thermographer, building inspectors and plan examiners earn the highest salaries, at $78,070, for those in the upper 10th percentile range. Hence, a thermographer with a building inspection license or certificate may reach this upper 10th percentile range. The Bureau further states that jobs in the construction and building inspection sector is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018.