Education and Training: Certification or License (requirements vary by state)
Average Salary: $50,180 per year
Job Outlook: Very good
Part of the construction and building inspection industry, home inspection is a relatively young and steadily growing profession. Home inspectors are generally hired by home buyers, real estate agents, or mortgage brokers to inspect and evaluate the home that is being purchased. Home inspectors are expected to thoroughly examine integral aspects of the home’s interior and exterior. Some areas of inspection include the home’s foundation, the plumbing systems, the electrical system, roofing, and equipment. The home inspector’s report helps buyers verify the home’s condition so that they can make an informed decision. In recent years, the vast majority of homes are inspected before they are purchased. In other cases, home inspectors are hired by homeowners who are planning and preparing to sell their homes.
Education and Training Requirements
More than half of the states require home inspectors to obtain a license issued by the state or other formal certification. Specific requirements for a license or certification vary by state, but generally include minimum education requirements, a specific amount of experience, liability insurance requirements, and an examination. Most licenses must be renewed every few years. There are numerous organizations for home inspectors, and many of them offer courses and programs that help prospective home inspectors get started. In fact, some companies even require their employees to be active members of a professional association. Distance learning programs are also available, and some organizations even offer a wealth of advice about other relevant topics such as how to start a home inspection business. In general, home inspectors learn the bulk of the information they will need through on the job training. All home inspectors should be prepared to pursue continuing education to keep up with changes and developments in the industry.
Getting the Job
While a significant number of home inspectors choose to start their own business, prospective inspectors may want to seek employment in order to gain experience. There are employment websites and job boards that feature listings for home inspectors. Membership in one of the numerous professional organizations for home inspectors can also provide access to employment opportunities.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development
The job outlook for home inspectors is very good. Close to 80 percent of homes purchased are evaluated by a home inspector. As state regulation of the field increases, the number of home inspectors will be limited to only qualified inspectors. The majority of home inspectors eventually establish their own inspection companies.
Working Conditions and Environment
Working conditions for home inspectors tend to be challenging. Many inspections are done outside of normal business hours in order to accommodate clients’ schedules. Thus, home inspectors should be prepared to work nights and weekends. However, home inspectors who have their own businesses may be able to set their own schedules although they will still need to take clients’ schedules into account. It is also a physically challenging profession, as the inspectors are generally expected to inspect the roof and test electrical currents, etc.
Salary and Benefits
The average annual salary for home inspectors is $50,180. Annual salaries can start below $31,270 and go as high as $78,070 or more. The middle 50% of home inspectors earn between $34,629 and $51,613. Home inspectors may also choose to supplement their incomes by diversifying their services and offering other types of consultations.
Where to Go for More Information:
American Society of Home Inspectors
932 Lee St., Ste.101
Des Plaines, Illinois, 60016
International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
1750 30th St.
Boulder, CO 80301
National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers
PO Box 860
Shelter Island, NY 11964
National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.
4248 Park Glen Rd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416