While there is no standard track for receiving construction inspector training, many employers prefer, if not require, job applicants to possess an associate degree. However, some employers may consider experience or professional certifications in place of a degree. Certificate and associate's degree programs in this specialty are available, so candidates can gain formal education through college programs or learn through hands-on training. Many even choose a combination of college training and experience. Because employers more commonly request associate degree holders; experienced construction workers seeking formal training often pursue certificate programs. Students learn the foundations of construction inspection through participation in labs, lectures, and cooperative work experiences.
Certificate in Construction Inspection
A construction inspector certificate program can typically be completed in a year or less and prepares students to pass the licensing exams that are required by many states. Certificate programs provide instruction in different areas, such as electrical and structural construction, inspection regulations, framing, and plumbing. Some programs may offer specializations, including residential or commercial inspection and updated codes.
Associate of Applied Science in Building Inspection Technology
Students learn to perform inspections on electrical systems, building structures, and plumbing for building code compliance and fire safety. The procedures for writing correction notices and building code reports are taught. Class topics may include construction material composition, blueprint reading, water drainage, and soils. These programs last about two years.
Associate of Applied Science in Construction Technology
Construction technology students learn about building tools, design plans, and materials. Techniques in milling, framing, roofing, and finishing are studied to create masonry, wooden, and concrete constructions. Skills are gained in construction preparation, cost estimating, site surveying, and project management. You can earn this degree in two years.
Some states require construction inspectors to be licensed or certified. Although requirements vary by state, applicants generally need to meet minimum education and experience standards before passing an exam. Additionally, voluntary certifications are often preferred by employers and available from organizations, such as the International Code Council (www.iccsafe.org), which offers credentials for residential building inspectors and certified building officials. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (www.nicet.org) offers three levels of certification in specific construction fields, including construction materials testing and building construction. Voluntary certifications are typically valid for three years, and continuing education is required to maintain certification and state licensure.
Local governments and industry associations often sponsor educational workshops and seminars, which can last for a few hours or a full day. Topics include pre-construction project preparation, final inspection procedures, risk management, and code compliance. Construction-related websites may also host a series of webinars on topics of interest to construction inspectors.
Construction inspectors can also study available printed materials for everyday training. These references may include regulatory reference books, inspector handbooks, and construction magazines. Participation in online message boards is possible, as well as subscribing to construction-related bulletins.
Construction inspector training is available at both certificate and associate's degree levels. Students can learn a variety of skills to prepare for a large number of positions in different construction fields, and by doing so, build the foundation necessary for a multitude of continuing education opportunities.