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Construction Inspector: Job & Career Info

A construction inspector visits a variety of building sites to confirm that building codes and other regulations are being met. Read further to learn about the duties, training, skills, salary and employment outlook, to decide if this is the right profession for you.

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Career Definition for a Construction Inspector

A construction inspector may specialize in inspecting residential buildings, highway construction or large-scale civil projects such as dams or bridges. They may further concentrate their skills on inspecting electrical, mechanical or other specific elements of construction. Generally, the responsibilities of a construction inspector include maintaining a work log with photos and updated reports, using trade-related software to monitor inspections and reviewing contracts for safety specifications.

Required Education A 2-year degree or certification program in construction inspection is preferred by employers
Job Duties Include maintaining a work log with photos and updated reports and reviewing contracts for safety specifications
Median Salary (2015)* $57,340 (all construction and building inspectors)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 8% growth (all construction and building inspectors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

A 2-year degree is preferred by most employers. Many community colleges and vocational schools now offer certification programs in construction inspection. Coursework for this degree will include such topics as blueprint reading, geometry, construction methods and communications. Apprenticeship programs are also available through employers or union-approved agencies and usually require previous work experience in the general field of construction to qualify.

Skills Required

A construction inspector must have knowledge of the methods and materials used to build structures, including a high level of comfort with using survey instruments and basic measuring devices. The ability to gather information, identify problems and make informed decisions is also valuable.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) projects employment in the construction and building inspecting industry to increase 8% from 2014-2024 and notes that the best opportunities should be for those with experience in several types of inspections. Additionally, the BLS placed the median annual salary for construction inspectors at $57,340 in 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Here are some examples of alternative career options:

Surveyor

Normally needing a bachelor's degree, in addition to licensing to provide public services, surveyors measure land to find the boundaries of properties; they also provide information used for mapmaking, engineering and various types of construction. An average decrease in available jobs of 2% was expected by the BLS from 2014-2024. In May 2015, surveyors earned an annual median wage of $56,230, according to the BLS.

Cartographer and Photogrammetrist

These professionals, who collect and measure geographic information for maps and charts, usually need a bachelor's degree and are required in some states to also seek licensing. A much faster than average employment growth of 29% was anticipated by the BLS, during the 2014-2024 decade. An annual median salary of $61,880 was reported for these workers in 2015.

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