A high school diploma and on-the-job training or an associate's degree in civil engineering will prepare individuals to be utilities inspectors. Utilities inspectors must be familiar with federal, local and state regulations and ensure that the equipment used to deliver utilities to residences and buildings adhere to those regulations.
Utilities inspectors examine sewer pipes, electric turbines, and other utilities equipment. They verify that systems are running properly and make recommendations to fix faulty components. Some work at large facilities, though they can travel from one substation to the next within a particular district. A high school diploma is required and employers often provide some basic training. Many employers prefer job experience or an associate's degree related to civil engineering.
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent, associate's degree related to civil engineering preferred|
|Licensure/Certification||State licensure sometimes required; voluntary certification available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||8% for construction and building inspectors|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)*||$60,030 for all construction and building inspectors|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Utilities Inspector Job Description
Utilities inspectors check on different systems and products to make sure everything has been built according to local, state, or federal codes and regulations. They examine the machinery and facilities housing utilities and services, such as water, sewer, electricity, and natural gases. Most inspectors participate in routine inspections. For example, water processing equipment must be fully examined periodically to verify water quality.
When a city or company decides to set up new utilities machinery, inspectors provide advice on how to safely install the new equipment. Some inspectors act as consultants during construction to make sure everything meets state and federal standards. Upon each stage of completion, inspectors examine systems, lines and access to make sure the machinery is installed correctly. Inspectors write full inspection reports and are responsible for notifying supervisors about problems.
Many utilities inspectors interact with members of the community. For instance, if a citizen notices a leaking gas main, they would usually report it to the utilities inspector. In such instances, inspectors coordinate with local law enforcement and clean-up crews to fix the problem before it creates a serious health hazard. Inspectors might also hire other, third-party inspectors to objectively examine equipment.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that most inspector positions only require a high school diploma. However, employers seeking utilities inspectors on CareerBuilder.com in May 2011 reported a preference of two to five years' job experience for applicants or an associate's degree related to civil engineering. Coursework in these programs teaches computer-aided design (CAD) software, public works engineering, surveying, and structural analysis.
Other relevant skills necessary for utilities inspectors include computer skills and knowledge of industrial and safety standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Utilities inspectors could also seek employment or advancement with industry-related credentials. Trade organizations provide certification programs, such as the Quality Inspector Certification program offered through the American Society for Quality.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the average annual salary earned by construction and building inspectors, the category under which utilities inspectors fall, was $60,030 in May 2015. The employment of construction and building inspectors is expected to grow by 8% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS, which is about average.
Although postsecondary education is not necessarily required to become a utilities inspector, many employers prefer applicants with an associate's degree or at least two years of work experience in the field. All utilities inspectors need to be trained to follow ISO and OSHA regulations.