Home Inspection: Certifications, Associate & Online Training Info

About this article
What kind of job can you get with an associate's degree in home inspection? Find out program requirements, online options and info on courses and home inspection training.
View available schools

Studying Home Inspection: Degrees at a Glance

Home inspectors examine homes, townhomes and condominiums for structural soundness and building code violations. Features like plumbing and heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems are checked to determine their working condition. Inspectors need to climb ladders and access items in tight spaces, so physical fitness is important. Homebuyers and homeowners who'd like to establish a selling price often rely on the opinion of a home inspector.

A high school diploma is needed to get started, and some employers provide on-the-job training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that some employers desire candidates with an associate degree in a related field. States vary in their licensing and certification requirements for home inspectors, but 35 states do have regulations. Construction and building inspectors were projected to see an 18% rise in jobs from 2010-2020, but those with construction experience and certification will have the best opportunities, according to the BLS.

Who is this degree for? - Individuals interested in becoming a professional home inspector
- People who'd like to prepare for state-required licensure or certification
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Construction and building inspector ($55,000)*
- Real estate appraiser or assessor ($55,000)*
Time to Completion Approximately 2 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements Co-op/internship with local inspector
Prerequisites High school diploma
Online Availability Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate Degree in Building Inspection Technology

Building inspection programs at this degree level are commonly for individuals with a construction background; however, these programs provide fundamental information on building inspections and building codes for inexperienced individuals to grasp. Some programs cover methods to comply with energy efficiency regulations and ways to spot disability access violations. Some of the general education content emphasizes writing, technical math and interpersonal communication, which are all important components in this career. For inexperienced home inspectors, the associate degree program also addresses topics that could transition graduates into the construction field, such as blueprint reading, management and construction materials.

Pros and Cons


  • Earning an associate degree often meets the minimum education requirement set by employers
  • Construction and building inspection is a growing field (employment growth of 18% projected from 2010-2020)*
  • You'll develop basic and advanced construction knowledge that can transition you into other fields
  • You'll gain computer skills that are applicable to the inspection and construction fields


  • Some inspectors learn on the job, so earning an associate degree may not be necessary
  • Related job experience may be more valuable than a degree
  • Not all degree programs offer field experience, which is essential in this career
  • Building inspection certificate programs may cover the same content as an associate degree program

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

Common Courses and Requirements

The building inspection technology major blends basic inspection information with extensive computer knowledge. There's also a discussion of masonry, construction specifications, building code terminology, disabled access building requirements and structural provisions. Some programs have for-credit work experiences with professional inspectors that show you how to complete inspection paperwork and examine building features. While each program provides a varied set of courses, the following are some common topics:

  • International building code
  • Construction materials
  • Electrical inspection
  • Computer fundamentals
  • Plumbing inspection

Online Degree Options

Online home inspection programs aren't common, but some schools have evening and online options for this degree level. Some community colleges have standalone home inspection courses online resulting in a certificate. Tests are usually taken online and instructional videos may be included in the program materials. The campus and distance learning programs both contain some of the same core coursework needed to take a state-required licensure or certification exam. Unlike traditional degree programs, however, home-based home inspection programs may not have the ability to offer internships or field experiences or could require students to get hands-on training separate from their online studies.

Stand Out with This Degree

Since employers commonly look for inspectors with experience, according to the BLS, one way to stand out as a home inspector is to get hands-on training before joining the workforce. In choosing an education path, you should find a program that offers in-depth field training in addition to coursework so that you can shadow a professional home inspector.

After you earn your degree, you should research your state's licensure or certification regulations. While requirements differ, you may need to meet a minimum age requirement, complete a certain number of education hours, have job experience and pass an approved test. You may also need to complete a background check, obtain general liability insurance and secure sponsorship from a professional inspector. Renewal for licensure or certification may occur every few years after completing continuing education.

The BLS also notes that inspectors with a varied skill set and certification could have the best employment opportunities. To enhance your skill set and stand out among your peers, you can pursue training on emerging technologies in this field. You might take courses on infrared thermography, thermal imaging, green building inspections or energy auditing.

Popular Schools

  • Ventura, CA

    Ventura College

  • Orem, UT

    Utah Valley University

  • South Holland, IL

    South Suburban College

  • Scottsdale, AZ

    Scottsdale Community College

  • San Diego, CA

    San Diego Mesa College

  • San Bernardino, CA

    San Bernardino Valley College

  • Saint Louis, MO

    Saint Louis Community College

  • Mission Viejo, CA

    Saddleback College

  • Portland, OR

    Portland Community College

  • San Marcos, CA

    Palomar College

Featured Schools

Ventura College

Utah Valley University

South Suburban College

Scottsdale Community College

San Diego Mesa College

San Bernardino Valley College

Saint Louis Community College

Saddleback College