How Long Does Building Inspection School Take?

Building inspectors play a vital role in ensuring that hospitals, classrooms and other structures are safe. They see to it that the building plans meet building codes and other ordinances and regulations. If this is the kind of work that you see yourself doing for the rest of your life, you are no doubt thinking about going to building inspection school.

Before proceeding to answer this question, it’s important to understand that some employers do hire individuals who only possess a high school diploma or its equivalent for as long as they have related work experience. More and more employers prefer those who have obtained some form of postsecondary education related to building inspection, architecture and engineering. These programs typically include coursework on building codes and ordinances, construction materials, drafting, building and home inspections and electrical inspection.

There are various programs that aspiring building inspectors can enroll in. Certificate programs in building inspection technology generally take a year to complete while associate degree programs in building/home/construction inspection take two years to finish. There are also bachelor’s degree programs in building/construction finishing, management and inspection offered in some colleges and universities. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years to finish for fulltime students.

Engineering or architecture would also serve as good educational preparation for a career as a building inspector. A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering would take four years to complete while a bachelor’s degree in architecture generally takes five years.

The good thing about obtaining a bachelor’s degree before you apply for building inspector positions is that employers generally won’t require related work experience. The higher educational degree can serve as a substitute for related work experience. If you prefer not to get any further training than high school but still want to become a building inspector, you will greatly increase your chances of getting hired if you have work experience as a plumber, electrician or carpenter.

When you get a job as a building inspector, you will usually be assigned to work with a more experienced inspector who will further train you to fulfill the demands of the role. You will be given additional training on the techniques for inspection, contract specifications and recordkeeping. You will have to be very familiar with the building codes and standards to be able to do your work well and in many cases, you will need to learn these yourself. To prepare you to do the work independently, you will be conducting real inspections under the supervision of an experienced inspector.

In many states, building inspectors must get a license or certification before they can practice the profession. This is typically given after the building inspector has completed the minimum educational requirements, obtained the necessary work experience and has passed an exam.

The employment prospect for building inspectors is set to be positive in the next few years as various states now emphasize the safety of the public and improved construction quality in buildings and other structures. The competition for jobs remain intense and those who have the educational training or work experience in the fields of construction or engineering having the best employment prospects.

Career Spotlight: Building Inspector

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