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Okay, so you you found the perfect house: white picket fence, big backyard, Charleston-style front porch, and priced right to boot! You’re in love. But just prior to making the purchase you go through a fairly common practice in the U.S., a Home Inspection. This is usually done after signing a contract including an inspection clause dependent on the outcome of said inspection.

You meet up with a friendly woman on-site; she’s got some tools and tells you to hang around for the next few hours while she examines the house and prepares for you a report of her findings.

No big deal right? I mean this house is beautifully decorated and neat as a button, surely the owners would be aware of something wrong. So when the nice inspector gets through and tells you this house needs a re-wiring of the complete electrical system, new garage door, and oh, that little gap in the hardwood floor is really a major foundation crack beyond the subfloor, it’s not such a sweet deal anymore. Well, sometimes homeowners just have no idea what’s going on beneath the surface of their lovely homes.

Home Inspectors can save a prospective house buyer so much grief. They provide comprehensive inspections and feedback based on their expertise in evaluating residential homes. You think you might want to pursue this field? We’ll tell you how!

Education

First, you have to have a High School diploma at the very least. Most employers seek to hire workers with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A lot of community colleges offer programs in building inspection, construction technology, drafting and home inspection. The four-year degree program may be focused more on subjects such as engineering or architecture. Helpful coursework in any post-secondary program is as follows:

  • writing
  • geometry
  • algebra
  • blueprint reading
  • shop classes

Certification/Licensing

Certification differs state to state, but may include the following in order to obtain:

hands-on-training or experience with inspections
have and maintain liability insurance
pass an exam
a minimum level of education

The two organizations that issue exams for certification are the American Society of Home Inspectors and the National Association of Home Inspectors. Most Inspectors must keep actively involved with current regulations by attending continuing education courses annually.

Job Expectation

The standard inspection report will include the current condition of the home. Your job as Inspector will be to visually examine the following:

  • heating and cooling system
  • interior plumbing
  • electrical systems
  • roof
  • attic and visible insulation
  • walls/ceilings/floors/windows/doors
  • the foundation
  • basement
  • structural components
  • condition of outbuildings/garages

After the report, the prospective home buyer will know all the repairs that are needed and may negotiate with the seller or walk away from the deal.

Outlook

Most Inspectors work full time and the median wage according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was just over $52k in May of 2012. BLS also states growth is projected at 12% from 2012 to 2022. Public Safety is a big deal, and that just increases the demand for this field.