DOT Inspector Certification and Training Information

The Department of Transportation (DOT) provides certification for inspectors in several areas. Two popular options are for transportation construction inspectors or vehicle emissions and safety inspectors. Certification classes are offered through various universities and community colleges.

Essential Information

Several types of inspectors are certified through state Departments of Transportation (DOT). Requirements vary by state. Public works inspectors visit construction sites of roads and sewer systems to ensure that standards are being met. Certificate programs that meet certification requirements can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to complete. Emissions inspectors evaluate motor vehicles to make sure the pollution control systems are functioning properly. These students often can be certified after a week of classes.

  • DOT Certificate Program Fields: Public Works Inspector; Emissions Inspector Course
  • Length of Study: A few days to a few weeks for a public works inspector; a week of classes for the emissions inspectors

Public Works Inspector Training

Public works inspectors prevent future infrastructure failures by ensuring that contractors use the proper techniques when working on earthwork and foundation projects, like highways, bridges and sewer systems. They make sure that contractors perform their contractually obligated duties and do not substitute in cheaper materials. They may also be able to specialize in certain types of work, such as dredging operations or reinforced concrete work.

State departments of transportation, university civil engineering departments and third-party centers offer relevant training. Some classes require students to have earned certification, such as nuclear gauge certification, or have gained a certain amount of experience prior to attending class. Accelerated certificates take as little as less than a week to complete, while longer certificate programs take up to five months to complete.

Future public works inspectors study everything from contracts to asphalt paving in order to ensure that contractors build the country's infrastructure up to the previously set standards. Topics of study include:

  • Contract administration
  • Drainage pipes
  • Erosion control
  • Reinforced concrete pipes
  • Traffic lights

Emissions Inspector Course

Emissions inspectors enforce state laws prohibiting cars from giving off excessive air pollution. Continuing education departments of some universities offer courses and administer certification exams. Some classes require students to hold a valid driver's license prior to attending class. Accelerated certificates take less than one week to complete.

Future emissions inspectors study everything from mechanical controls to state laws in order to prevent individual cars from contributing more pollution to the air than the state allows. Coursework includes:

  • Emission controls
  • Exhaust standards
  • Local regulations

Salary Info and Job Outlook

BLS records show that there were 24,350 transportation inspectors employed as of May 2014. The three largest employers of these inspectors were the federal and local levels of government, as well as rail transportation. The federal government and couriers and express delivery services were two of the highest-paying employers for this job title. Transportation inspectors earned a median annual wage of $69,170 as of May 2014.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 88,410 construction and building inspectors employed across various fields as of May 2014. The BLS also states that the field of construction and building inspectors was projected to grow 12% from 2012-2022 ( The median salary in May 2014 was $56,040. Around 44% of all of these inspectors were employed by the local government in May 2012; other major employers were in the architectural and engineering services field, as well as the state government.

Popular Careers

Additional job titles may include:

  • Asphalt engineering technician
  • Certified DOT inspector
  • Construction engineering inspector
  • Contracts inspector
  • Covert quality assessment officer
  • Emissions technician

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