Home Inspector Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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A home inspector's average salary is around $58,430. Is it worth the education, training and licensure requirements? See real job duties and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a home inspector is right for you.
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Home Inspector: Pros and Cons

Home inspectors help determine the condition of a home and if anything needs to be repaired or changed about it to conform to state housing and safety codes. You can read additional ups and downs to being a home inspector below to help you decide if this career is right for you.

Home Inspector: PROS
Self-employment opportunities via contract work*
Good employee benefits if working for the government*
Employment growth is expected to keep pace with all other occupations (due to worries of manmade and natural disasters and growth in niche areas like sustainable and green design)*
Minimal education requirements (you can enter this field with only a high school diploma, though many home inspectors have some college education)

Home Inspector: CONS
Accidents can occur while on the job*
Crawling into tight spaces and climbing ladders is necessary in some home inspections*
Evening and weekend hours are sometimes required*
Licensure is required to work in some states*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

Recently built or previously owned homes, town homes and condominiums are examined by a home inspector. A home inspector might be hired by a homeowner to come up with a fair evaluation of the condition of the home prior to selling it. Potential homebuyers might hire you to come in and determine if there are any problems or issues with the home they're interested in purchasing. One of the main things you're looking for when you're inspecting the home is the quality of the structure and its internal systems. You'll examine exterior and interior walls, plumbing and electrical systems, roofing and the garage. As part of your inspection, you'll report any building code violations you come across.

Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2014 that construction and building inspectors, which home inspectors are included under, earned $28.09 an hour on average, which amounts to yearly earnings of roughly $58,430 (www.bls.gov). For construction and building inspectors, on average, Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, Nevada and Washington were the top paying states. Home inspectors that were in the top ten percent of wage estimates had yearly salaries of $88,830 or more.

Vocational Requirements

Training and Education

As a new home inspector, you'll need to receive some on-the-job training. The exact training requirements are dependent upon your local and state jurisdictions. Typically, you'll need to learn building standards and codes so you know what to look for when inspecting a home. Before you complete your training, you'll learn more advanced work duties like record keeping and inspection methods regarding regulations, codes and ordinances.

The minimum education most employers want to see in home inspectors is a GED or a high school diploma. If you acquire post-secondary education in architecture or engineering normally have better employment opportunities. For example, many associate degree and certificate programs in those majors offer classes in drafting, building inspection, construction technology and home inspection. Some schools have building inspection technology programs available to students.

State License

Many states currently have regulations that home inspectors have to follow in order to work. You might have to acquire a certification or a license to work as a home inspector in your state. You'll need to check your state's requirements for home inspectors and meet those qualifications prior to employment. Normally, the prerequisites to being a home inspector include possessing liability insurance, having inspection experience, holding the necessary education and passing an examination. You could be required to renew this license through periodic continuing education classes.

What Are Employers Looking for?

Many employers want to make sure a home inspector has a driver's license. This is crucial because the home inspector has to visit many different sites in the same day. Communication skills are also highly sought out amongst home inspectors since employers want people capable of conveying the violations and other issues a house has to the homeowner. Finally, employers want to make sure you possess the necessary eye for detail to do your job and find mistakes during your inspections. The information below was taken from several job postings from real employers in April 2012.

  • A home inspection company in California has an opening for a home inspector. This employer is looking for a candidate with work experience and professional certifications. The ad also calls for someone with knowledge of infrared thermal imaging and preferably a college degree.
  • In Arizona, there is a home inspector job that requires candidates to have a state license and work experience. This employer prefers applicants with a termite license.
  • A Florida insurance company is looking for a home inspector that is preferably bilingual and has experience in underwriting and insurance. Candidates need to have a valid Florida driver's license, state certification and work experience.

How to Stand Out as a Home Inspector

Home inspectors who choose to acquire a professional designation or certification stand out from others who don't possess such qualifications. Organizations like the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) offer options like these to you. To qualify for the Certified Real Estate Inspector program, you need to have completed 250 home inspections. From there, you'll have to pass the CRI examination. Every year, you are required to complete a review of your home inspection skills. Additionally, continuing education credits are necessary if you want to maintain your designation.

Alternative Occupational Choices

Construction Manager

If you would like to oversee the construction of homes instead of inspecting homes, you might want to look into being a construction manager. After negotiations are completed, you'll figure out the construction strategies and techniques you want to use to accomplish what your employer wants in a building. You normally work via contracts, and it is important to meet all the requirements of your contract, like budgets and time management. You'll oversee your construction team and assign work duties. In May 2011, construction managers were reported to earn roughly $94,000 on average yearly, according to the BLS.

Architect

If you're interested in designing buildings instead of inspecting them; consider becoming an architect. After seeking out clients, you'll consult with them to figure out what they are interested in having built. You'll estimate certain aspects of the building process, like time, costs, materials, labor and equipment. From there, you'll create blueprints of your intended designs and present one to your client in order to seek final approval on the project. Architects, excluding landscape and naval architects, earned an average annual income of about $79,000, as reported by the BLS in May 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Home Remodeling and Repair
      • Career Diploma - Home Remodeling and Repair
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Fortis College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Construction Management
      • Construction Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
      • High School with Concentration in Building Technology - Electrical
      • High School with Concentration in Building Technology - Carpentry
  • Campus Locations:
    4. CDI College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Diploma in Construction Electrician Foundation
  • Juneau, AK

    University of Alaska

  • Rock Hill, SC

    York Technical College

  • Victorville, CA

    Victor Valley College

  • Ventura, CA

    Ventura College

  • Chula Vista, CA

    Southwestern College

  • Orem, UT

    Utah Valley University

Featured Schools

Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Home Remodeling and Repair

What is your highest level of education?

Fortis College

  • Construction Management

Year of High School Graduation or GED completion:

Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma
  • High School with Concentration in Building Technology - Electrical

What is your age?

CDI College

  • Diploma in Construction Electrician Foundation

What year did you graduate high school?

York Technical College

Victor Valley College

Ventura College