How to Become a Building Inspector
Building Inspector Careers & Degrees

Building Inspectors are experienced professionals who confirm that the construction of homes, residences, living facilities or other structures have been built according to government code and regulations.

These professionals follow local or federal codes mandated by the government to ensure that the quality of a building is safe for residential or public use.

To ensure the quality of a construction, Building Inspectors will also use zoning regulations, contract specifications and national or local ordinances.

Individuals who want to become a Building Inspector will already have an interest in construction as well understand the importance of safety codes and have the capacity to identify construction areas not up to code.

Education Requirements to Become a Building Inspector

Individuals who want to become a Building Inspector need a minimum of a high school degree in order to enter this profession.

Many individuals learn this craft on the job and gain experience to work as a Building Inspector.

In addition, some states or local governments require individuals to acquire a license or certification in order to become a Building Inspector.

Many employers seek individuals that have a minimum of a high school degree in order to work in this profession.

These professionals have several years of experience under their belt within the same industry.

In addition, individuals who want to become a Building Inspector also have the option of attending an accredited bachelor’s program to enter this profession.

A recent trend of employers seeking individuals with a bachelor’s degree or a community college degree has recently begun.

Associate’s degrees can focus on building inspection technology while some bachelor’s programs that can be useful include Architecture or Engineering.

A typical program may include the following courses:

  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building inspection and building inspection technology
  • Construction technology
  • Home inspection
  • Drafting
  • Blueprint reading
  • Algebra
  • Geometry

Whatever the choice of study or experience level an individual chooses, seeking a licensure or certification in the field may also be required.

Certification or licensure will depend on the state an individual works in.

Individuals will need to contact their local state office to determine whether certification is needed and if so, how to secure certification or licensure.

Individuals taking a certification or licensure exam will need to assure they meet minimum qualifications.

Qualifications needed to take a licensing exam will include: a minimum amount of schooling, for example, a high school diploma; having a number of years of experience in the profession; and testing and passing a state level exam.

Building Inspector Job Description

Building Inspectors may work for a private or government agency; in addition, approximately 11 percent of construction and building inspectors are self-employed.

Many inspectors work a full time shift during the week and regular business hours.

There might be some extended hours during peak construction times to keep up with demand.

Individuals will earn extra income for working overtime hours.

A Building Inspector is primarily responsible for assuring the construction of a building was completed to meet local and national building codes.

Building Inspectors may observe and take notes of every nook and cranny of a building including: the plumbing, electrical circuits are working properly.

The foundation is up to code and built correctly; take photographs of any observations or areas that need repair.

Inspect sewer and water lines, check for any fire hazards and provide a written statement of their observations and feedback.

Building Inspector Salary and Career Path

According to figures from 2012, individuals who are in the Construction or Building Inspection profession can expect to earn an annual median wage of approximately $53,450.

The top 10 percent of workers in this field can earn up to $83,760 per year.

Exact wages will depend on whether an individual is self-employed or works for a private or government agency.

Job projections for construction and building inspectors are expected to grow by 12 percent through the year 2022.

This growth is considered average growth compared to other professions.

Exact growth will depend on the industry and location.

Some locations are impacted by limiting government budgets while some are impacted by growth.

Building Inspectors are individuals who have a great eye for determining any flaws or construction problems that a building may have.

Building Inspectors can rely on this profession being a long term career as their services are needed in assuring that high quality structures are the only types of buildings being created.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$64,390
$36K
$47K
$64K
$78K
$98K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$56,580
Alaska$84,040
Arizona$58,230
Arkansas$47,310
California$88,860
Colorado$68,750
Connecticut$71,920
Delaware$60,490
District of Columbia$84,350
Florida$57,790
Georgia$50,010
Hawaii$68,590
Idaho$56,090
Illinois$72,690
Indiana$48,020
Iowa$67,480
Kansas$52,170
Kentucky$53,050
Louisiana$53,760
Maine$54,950
Maryland$62,260
Massachusetts$72,810
Michigan$53,880
Minnesota$72,360
Mississippi$47,470
Missouri$51,880
Montana$54,300
Nebraska$54,310
Nevada$76,580
New Hampshire$59,540
New Jersey$68,160
New Mexico$59,170
New York$68,310
North Carolina$56,680
North Dakota$61,720
Ohio$61,380
Oklahoma$63,730
Oregon$73,400
Pennsylvania$59,270
Rhode Island$66,280
South Carolina$48,020
South Dakota$52,000
Tennessee$54,850
Texas$62,540
Utah$57,870
Vermont$64,390
Virginia$60,110
Washington$76,260
West Virginia$57,590
Wisconsin$60,310
Wyoming$60,070
Puerto Rico$28,550

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $88,860.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $88,860
District of Columbia - $84,350
Alaska - $84,040
Nevada - $76,580
Washington - $76,260
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Construction and Building Inspectors, OCC Code 47-4011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a building inspector?

A building inspector is a person qualified to determine if a construction meets building code requirements.

Building inspectors are usually hired by a city, township or county.

They examine buildings to ensure that people live and work in safe places.

Their responsibilities include reviewing plans to see if building codes are met and approving building plans.

Building inspectors also monitor construction sites periodically during the construction period and perform a comprehensive inspection after the project is finished.

Some inspectors choose to qualify in a specific type of building, such as steel or reinforced-concrete structures.

QuestionHow much does a building inspector make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for construction and building inspectors was $59,700 as of May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary depending on the region and the inspector’s level of experience.

Some building inspectors make less than $35,000 while others earn more than $95,000 a year.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a building inspector?

Building inspectors need at least a high school diploma and some related construction experience and they learn through on-the-job training.

Many states also require construction inspectors to possess a license or certification.

Some employers may prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in architecture or construction engineering or an associate’s degree in home inspection, building inspection, construction management or a related field.

Tuition costs vary widely depending on the school you choose and the program’s duration.

An associate’s degree in construction management can cost you, on average around $6,000-$8,000 a year.

A 4-year bachelor’s degree program in construction engineering will cost you around $150,000-$160,000 in total.

QuestionWhat is the demand for building inspectors?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for building inspectors is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028.

As people are more interested in improving the safety and the quality of constructions the demand for building inspectors is expected to grow.

Building inspectors will continue to be hired by architectural and engineering firms but also by local governments.

However, employment opportunities for home and building inspectors are sensitive to fluctuations in the construction industry and real estate market.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a building inspector?

Building inspectors typically need at least a high school diploma, some relevant work experience, and a state license or certification.

However, some employers prefer candidates who have also completed a 4-year bachelor’s degree or a 2-year associate’s degree program in construction or another relevant field.

Some states have individual licensing programs for construction inspectors while others require construction inspectors to be certified by an association such as International Code Council, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors or the National Fire Protection Association.

Many states require construction inspectors to have work experience in the field, to complete a training program and pass an exam that is based on the American Society of Home Inspectors certification examination.

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