Many schools offer associate's degrees in building inspection, teaching students about construction regulations and preparing them for certification exams. No building inspection program can be offered totally online, due to hands-on training requirements, but many associate's degree programs offer at least some courses through distance learning. Alternatively, students looking to study a program fully online could choose an architecture degree at the bachelor's or master's level.
Associate's degree programs in building inspection technology take around two years to complete. They are usually designed for students with a background in the building industry, and many programs award credits for previous experience. Courses cover construction standards, equipment used in inspections and land use regulations. Internships are usually required. An associate's degree program also calls for general education courses such as English, science and math. Students will also need to have an up-to-date operating system and Internet browser.
Most cities, counties and states require that building inspectors hold licenses or certifications, but requirements differ among jurisdictions. Most require training and passing an examination. Since training requirements vary, students should ensure that any online program they are considering meets the licensing requirements for the area where they wish to work.
Building Inspector Training
Building inspectors perform a number of job duties from examining the overall safety of a building to its structural quality. An online degree program in building inspection teaches students about industry standards, inspection equipment, and inspection guidelines, and provides students with the knowledge they need to identify problems and recommend solutions. Inspectors take exams to become certified in their area of specialization.
An associate's degree program in this field may be completed in a hybrid format, with some or most courses available online. Associate's degree programs generally require two years of study to teach students about construction practices and materials, building codes and safety standards, in addition to providing students with general education courses in other subjects, such as English.
Information and Requirements
Associate of Applied Science in Building Inspection Technology degrees are usually pursued by individuals who already have experience in the building trades. The program will likely include an internship completed locally; many schools will award academic credits for the experience.
Students planning on completing some or all of their courses online will need a computer with an Internet connection and may need to meet technical requirements, such as having Mac OS X or Windows XP, in addition to meeting requirements such as new versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari.
Coursework in an associate's degree program in building inspection technology covers general education courses, such as business communication and college level writing courses, in addition to courses focused on building inspection. Students taking online courses can access and submit coursework through the school's website, which can include lectures and assignments, in addition to communicating with instructors and other students via e-mail, chat and discussion boards.
Fire Safety Systems
Students learning about fire safety systems learn about the National Fire Prevention Guidelines. Additional topics include field inspections and fire suppression system design.
Structural Plan Review
A course in structural plan review teaches students the different techniques used to review building plans, and may place an emphasis on specific building materials. Students also learn different equations used to calculate structural forces.
Students taking a course covering land use learn about different uses and zoning regulations for properties. Additional topics cover municipal ordinances and the proper channels for enforcing them.
Non-Structural Plan Review
A course covering non-structural plan reviewing covers the methods used to review different types of structures. Topics also examine types of construction, fire safety and occupancy classification.
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected job growth of 8% for building inspectors in the public and private sector between 2014 and 2024, with the best opportunities for those who have experience in different areas, such as architecture or construction (www.bls.gov). As of 2016, the median salaries for construction and building inspectors ranged from $36,493 to $96,592, according to Payscale.com.
Online studies in the building inspector field are rarely found online, due to the practical nature of the course and career field. However, students not wishing to undertake a hybrid course could study architecture fully online as an alternative.