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Construction Inspector Job Description, Career as a Construction Inspector, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College degree and certification

Salary Median: $52,160 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Construction inspectors examine buildings, sewer and water systems, bridges, dams, and other structures. Under supervision of building inspectors, they ensure that any repair or alteration complies with zoning regulations, building codes and ordinances, and contract specifications. Construction inspectors maintain a work log, act on inspection findings, file reports, and take photographs. Construction inspectors must have knowledge of materials and tools that are involved in repair or construction of buildings, houses, and other features, like highways and roads.

Construction inspectors may specialize in more than one field and find work as electrical inspectors, building inspectors, mechanical inspectors, elevator inspectors, home inspectors, or public works inspectors.

Education and Training Requirements

Candidates who wish to work as construction inspectors must have a high school diploma and a two-year apprenticeship or an associate’s degree. That usually is considered sufficient for employment. Employers often look for workers who have studied architecture or engineering, or who have obtained a junior college degree in building inspection, construction technology, home inspection, mathematics, or drafting. Courses in algebra, reading blueprints, English, and geometry are also helpful.

Most construction inspectors receive training while on the job. They must have in-depth knowledge of construction practices. Supervised on-site inspections form an important part of their training process. Course materials are usually available online or through classroom courses.

Getting the Job

Architectural firms, landscaping services, county building departments, engineering firms, and residential remodeling companies recruit a large number of construction inspectors. Information regarding job openings is readily available through online job sites, journals, newspapers, and various government employee unions. Names of private firms are available in the phone book under categories such as Building Code Inspectors, Home Inspectors, and Construction Consultants. Job seekers can also apply directly to employers. State governments and other service industries can help construction inspectors find suitable employment.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Certification can enhance a construction inspector’s advancement opportunities. To become certified, an inspector must pass exams on topics such as standards of practice, construction techniques and materials, codes of ethics, and code requirements. In some cases, no experience or additional education is required—an inspector just must pass an exam online or at a test site that serves the region.

Between the period of 2006 and 2016, employment opportunities in the field of construction inspection are expected to increase by 18 percent. Inspectors having engineering or architectural training and a postsecondary degree will have better job opportunities. Those with a thorough understanding of construction skills and previous experience in construction are likely to have better prospects. Firms specializing in engineering, architecture, and related services are expected to employ a large number of construction inspectors.

Working Conditions

Construction inspectors generally work alone and spend most of their time outdoors. The majority of inspectors may be assigned complex projects because of their specialization in diverse areas of construction. They usually have regular schedules but may need to put in additional hours in cases of emergency.

Some construction sites are soiled with debris and scattered with tools. Inspectors may need to climb ladders or crawl through compact spaces. Although the work of construction inspectors is not too hazardous, the work location often is, and inspectors wear hard hats while at construction sites.

Where to Go for More Information

Association of Construction Inspectors (ACI)
810 N. Farrell Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262

International Code Council
500 New Jersey Ave. NW, Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20001-2070

Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc.
4051 W. Flossmoor Rd.
Country Club Hills, IL 60478

International Conference of Building Officials
5360 Workman Mill Rd.
Whittier, CA 90601-2298

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

As of 2008, the mean annual salary of construction instructors in the United States is $52,160. Salaries in metropolitan areas are higher than those in rural, less-populated areas.

Construction inspectors working for private firms and the government receive numerous benefits, including health insurance, paid holidays, and pension programs.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesConstruction & Skilled Trades