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Mechanical Inspectors: Job Description & Requirements

Mechanical inspectors are crucial public safety workers who inspect the installation or replacement of electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and related systems in new and existing buildings and sites. Read on to learn the requirements and benefits of this occupation.

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Career Definition for a Mechanical Inspector

Mechanical inspectors closely inspect electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and other systems for commercial and residential sites, like appliances, boilers, elevators, gas and oil lines, and HVAC systems. They evaluate and approve or disapprove of the work done in accordance with local regulations. Mechanical inspectors may also investigate reports of code violations.

Mechanical inspectors record their findings and write reports as needed. It's on their say that permits or violation notices are issued. Mechanical inspectors usually work for state or local government, although they can also work for architectural and engineering companies.

Education High school diploma and work experience required; associate and bachelor's degrees in architecture or engineering recommended
Job Skills Detail-orientated, physical fitness, safety awareness
Median Salary (2015)* $57,340 for construction and building inspectors
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for construction and building inspectors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Mechanical inspectors are usually required to have a high school diploma and relevant work experience. Some municipalities are beginning to require an associate or bachelor's degree in architecture or engineering plus relevant work experience. Mechanical inspectors have usually studied HVAC technologies, exhaust, duct and fuel supply systems, general construction and project management, computers, and blueprint reading. Mechanical inspectors also complete on-the-job training, like learning relevant building codes and procedural steps.

State and local licensing requirements for mechanical inspectors vary, as do continuing education requirements. Qualified mechanical inspectors may earn national Residential Mechanical Inspector or Commercial Mechanical Inspector credentials through the International Code Council.

Skills Required

Mechanical inspectors need to be detail-oriented to make sure that installed systems meet specific code requirements exactly. They also need to be physically fit and mentally aware, since some investigations will mean heading into active construction sites, which could be physically hazardous.

Career and Economic Outlook

Mechanical inspectors are part of the construction and building inspection field, one that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports as having average job growth of 8% from 2014-2024, with better-paying jobs in high-population areas. The BLS published the median annual salary earned by construction and building inspectors as $57,340 in May 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Here are some alternatives for careers in building inspection:

Surveyor

Surveyors normally earn a bachelor's degree designed for aspiring licensed surveyors or complete a degree in a similar field, like forestry or civil engineering. These professionals measure to find the boundaries of properties and provide information for construction and engineering projects, or for mapmaking. As of May 2015, they earned an annual median salary of $58,020, the BLS said, and could expect employment decline of 2% from 2014-2024.

Construction Manager

Often needing a bachelor's degree in a field related to construction, along with construction experience, these managers supervise construction projects from beginning to end. They communicate with engineers and architects, make sure that all legal requirements are met and prepare budgets and cost estimates. Average job growth of 5% was expected for this profession during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS. The annual median wage among construction managers, as of 2015, was $87,400.

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