Construction and building inspectors hold about 117,300 jobs. About 43 percent are employed by government agencies, with most working in local government. An additional 14 percent are employed in the engineering services industry. Inspectors employed at the federal level work for such agencies as the Department of Defense or the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and the Interior. Approximately 10 percent of construction and building inspectors are self employed.
People without postsecondary education usually enter the construction industry as a trainee or apprentice. Graduates of technical schools or colleges of construction and engineering can expect to start work as an engineering aide, drafter, estimator, or assistant engineer. Jobs may be found through school career services offices, employment agencies, and unions or by applying directly to contracting company personnel offices. Application may also be made directly to the employment offices of the federal, state, or local governments.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that "larger jurisdictions usually hire specialized inspectors with knowledge in a particular area of construction, such as electrical or plumbing. Conversely, for budgetary reasons, smaller jurisdictions typically prefer to hire combination inspectors with broad knowledge of multiple disciplines."
The federal, state, and large city governments provide formal training programs for their construction inspectors to keep them abreast of new building code developments and to broaden their knowledge of construction materials, practices, and inspection techniques. Inspectors for small agencies can upgrade their skills by attending state-conducted training programs or taking college or online courses. An engineering degree is usually required to become a supervisory inspector. Inspectors may also advance by establishing their own consulting businesses.
Tips for Entry
Obtain experience in the construction industry in order to improve your chances of landing a job as an inspector.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings: http://jobs.iccsafe.org and http://www.iapmo.org/Pages/CareerCenter.aspx.
The National Association of Home Inspectors offers a mentoring program for members who are new to the field and need career guidance. Visit https://www.nachi.org/mentoring for more information.
Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.
Conduct information interviews with construction inspectors and let it be known that you are looking for a job.