How to Become a Home Inspector

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5 Steps to Becoming a Home Inspector

Step 1 Examine the licensing requirements for each state where you intend to work.

According to Fitsmall Business, 13 states do not require a license, including California, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, and Georgia. However, some statutes require a high school degree, an apprenticeship, or completion of 128-140 pre-licensing class hours.

Step 2 Look for the jobs and best-paid wages and percentage of new jobs by state.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a recent round-up by states and municipalities. For example, the state with the highest employment of home inspectors is California, with an annual mean wage of $86,660. Texas ranks second with an annual mean wage of $57,820. In New York, there are 7,240 inspectors earing $66,770 on average.

Step 3 Complete your education or training

This vital step depends on the education, training or practical experience in the construction trades. The BLS suggests that job prospects complete an associate degree or a certificate in building inspection technology, drafting, or construction technology. For those who want to open their own inspection firms, consider coursework in business, customer service, and blueprint reading. Some employers require job candidates to learn state building codes and local standards.

Step 4 Get direct work experience

Work in a construction trade fields as an electrician, carpenter, or plumber. You may have a leg up on hiring in states that don’t require a license. Would-be home inspectors may also improve their job chances by training or compiling experience in several specialties, according to the BLS. Some companies hire beginning inspectors that complete internships of volunteer positions in the building trades.

Step 5 Pass certification exams, if required

In some states you may be expected to become certified through non-profit organizations or inspector associations such as The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. In order to become a part of the American Society of Home Inspectors, you will have to pass the National Home Inspectors Exam.

FAQ on Earning Your Home Inspector Degree or Certification

  • Some employers may require continuing education units annually to maintain your credentials. Of course, continuing education courses can bolster your expertise in the profession, qualifying you for advancement. Associations, colleges and societies list specific courses. A good place to begin is at the American Society of Home Inspectors.

  • Some states require only a high school degree, an apprenticeship, or completion of 128-140 pre-licensing class hours. Spectora maintains a listing of states that require education leading to licensing.

  • To find entry-level inspector jobs or an advanced job join an inspector’s association. Many colleges and associations offer employment job boards too. Associations may offer mentoring or apprenticeships that help you build a client base. Don’t forget traditional job board such as Indeed.com that currently posts 4,900 inspection or compliance positions.

  • Among the testing guidelines published by the NHIE, students need to know about grading, drainage, retaining walls, exterior doors and windows, foundations, wiring systems, HVAC, fixtures and faucets, and compiling inspection reports, property data, construction materials, installation techniques and procedures, and locations of main system shut offs.

  • According to Fullview Home Inspector Marketing: An inspector who is great in the profession, may have more difficulty getting work compared to a less-talented inspector who markets their services. Describe your expertise to people involved in the project, including the appraiser, mortgage broker, the insurance salesman, contractors, and attorneys. Join inspection associations to write blogs or informational articles that show your expertise. More than 17,000 jobs were found through a paid membership with interNachi, a professional organization offering 45 types of inspector certifications, a blog and articles at no extra cost.

  • Unlike an appraisal that determines market value, a home inspection provides an item-by-item assessment of the current condition of a home which may involve the cost to repair unsafe or homes with a lack of care. There is no pass/fail itemization. The BLS say an inspection may be ordered by the current homeowner before putting the property on the market.

Home Inspector Salary & Job Growth

The BLS has estimated that jobs for home and construction inspectors will increase by 10 percent during the 2016 to 2026 decade. The increase percentage is larger than the average predicted rise for most professions. The best job prospects will be for applicants with construction-related work experience or specific training in architecture, construction technology, or engineering. While projected job growth is for the combination of roles and Home Inspectors and Building Code inspectors, the roles involve different skill sets and licensing requirements. According to Inspection Certification Associates, some states do require building code inspectors to earn a license and undertake continuing education, however there are no federal or licensing guidelines for commercial building inspectors. Unlike commercial inspectors, most home inspectors are not involved with any government compliance agency.

Employment site Payscale reports that current salaries and commission earnings vary by state, the median annual wage for home inspectors is $46,320. Earnings may be augmented with bonuses up to $17,500, profit sharing up to $3,000, and commissions as high as to $7,000. Longevity in the profession may positively impact wages, according to Payscale. Late-career inspectors can make 23 percent higher salaries than mid-career inspectors that see salary increases of just over eight percent. The BLS reports that most inspectors leave their jobs after 20 years’ experience.

Alabama Mean wage annual: $53,130
Currently Employed: 1,260
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 6.80%
Alaska Mean wage annual: $86,530
Currently Employed: 220
Change in Employment (2016-2026): -1.00%
Arizona Mean wage annual: $57,710
Currently Employed: 1,990
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.80%
Arkansas Mean wage annual: $45,510
Currently Employed: 760
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 12.50%
California Mean wage annual: $86,660
Currently Employed: 10,700
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 10.30%
Colorado Mean wage annual: $62,770
Currently Employed: 2,280
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 20.00%
Connecticut Mean wage annual: $68,440
Currently Employed: 1,130
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 6.70%
Delaware Mean wage annual: $56,630
Currently Employed: 460
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 7.10%
Florida Mean wage annual: $57,570
Currently Employed: 6,980
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 21.30%
Georgia Mean wage annual: $50,020
Currently Employed: 1,770
Change in Employment (2016-2026): 14.30%
view more

According to the BLS, the rise or fall in the job market for home inspectors ultimately rests on the vitality of the home construction industry. Home inspectors are frequently self-employed professionals that are more likely to be affected by the ups and downs in the construction market. The market for millennials homebuyers rose late in 2017 and is expected to keep climbing.

Finding a Home Inspector Program

Finding the right home inspector education can vary by factors including state approval, career assistance, whether the school is bonded, and whether it offers lifetime access without an unreasonable increase in fees. Examine the length of the program, its total cost, and its record with the Better Business Bureau. Another consideration is the convenience and methodology of training: Some schools blend on-site practical experience with online courses. Look to see if prospective schools include membership in helpful organizations such as the National Society of Home Inspectors (NSHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

The following tool can help streamline your search for the right school in using key factors such as school name, state, degree or certification level, and subject expertise:

State
Degree Level
School Type
Environment

Professional Home Inspector Associations & Groups

Membership and active participation with home inspector associations and professional groups can impact your skill set, your networking, and job search. They help identify emerging skills and techniques or changes in requirements for entry or advanced jobs in the industry. Often there are conferences, blogs and continuing education opportunities. Here are several to consider:

  • American Society of Home Inspectors

    Members of the ASHI have web access to how-to videos, marketing tips, a membership directory for networking or posting questions on inspections, and a code of ethics. Includes publications and technical links. The organization offers practice exams

  • International Association of Electrical Inspectors

    The more than 22,000 members of the IAEI gain immediate access to nearly 50 unique specializations, 800 hours of free training in pre-licensing or continuing education topics. Find industry news and over a million posts on the IAEI forum and industry blog. Membership includes access to career-focused, lead-generation websites.

  • National Society of Home Inspectors

    NSHI members receive access to the society’s referral database, free continuing education, resource links and RC/UBC Code Quizzes. Includes subscription to the ASHI Reporter, the publication of the American Society of Home Inspectors, and home inspection virtual tours.

  • Professional Home Inspection Institute

    PHII has trained and certified over 20,000 home inspectors through its programs, offering standards of practice and paid inspector training courses.

  • Spectora

    Founded in 2015, Spectora has offered services in assisting home inspectors use software options for their developing careers, and offers licensing requirements by state. Resources include an inspectors blog, featured articles, a Facebook users group, and templates for creating web-based inspection reports.

Resources for Home Inspectors

Governmental and educational associations can also be a boon to your networking, understanding of codes, professional ethics, client relationships, pay scales, and job openings. These include:

  • Inspector Database

    ID provides a listing of home inspector societies and associations pertinent to professionals and home inspection students. There is a listing of continuing education courses, seminars, webinars available internationally and nationwide. Learn about energy audits and required certifications for mold inspection or remediation, radon measurement, odor removal, weatherization, and infrared inspections.

  • FitSmall Business

    Online resources highlight this building inspector business site. Learn how to develop your “people skills” and how enter the profession even if you lack construction experience. There are also risk-management tips for home inspectors.

  • Fullview Home Inspector Marketing

    A primer on building contact to sell your services. Networking is a good way to share your skills and knowledge. Find industry professionals who may know about firms with openings.

  • InterNachi

    Online international membership association of home inspectors post articles on trade news, success strategies, inspection courses and blogs.

  • International Code Council

    This membership organization provides a career center, instructions on how to get certified, and a discussion section with technical opinions and code opinions.

  • National Home Inspector Examination

    The NHRE’s Study Guide and Inspection Manual covers the knowledge base and individual state regulations to help students and professionals study for the National Home Inspector Examination. Includes exam costs and how to register.