How to Become a

Building Inspector

The complete career guide to be a Building Inspector: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $60,030
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 7.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Investigative
    Career Attribute

Building inspectors are responsible for ensuring new structures meet all applicable safety codes and regulations. They review and approve construction plans, monitor construction to ensure continued adherence to codes, and perform a final inspection after completion before issuing written approval.

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What is a Building Inspector?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in building inspector roles:

  • Review blueprints for new structure construction to ensure plans meet applicable building codes
  • Make incremental trips to construction sites to monitor adherence to plans and codes
  • Perform an in-depth, final review of completed construction projects, and issue written approval for adherence to safety codes
  • Issue violations and/or halt construction when lack of adherence to codes presents dangerous conditions
  • Take photographs of construction sites and thoroughly document findings for record-keeping purposes

A Day in the Life

Construction companies are required to adhere to strict building codes when building new structures. These codes ensure that construction projects produce structures that are safe for the individuals who use them once construction is complete. These codes govern many aspects of structure development. They may ensure low risk of fire, ensure that structures will withstand elemental damage or natural disasters, and ensure that fire escape routes are present. Building inspectors are responsible for enforcing these codes by performing inspections of construction projects.

Before a construction project begins, a building inspector must review and sign off on the project blueprints. This ensures that initial plans meet codes and will result in safe structures. One blueprints are approved, construction can begin. During construction projects, building inspectors perform regular visits to the construction site to monitor progress and ensure continued adherence to codes and standards. They document progress by taking photographs and recording their findings.

Once construction is complete, the building inspector conducts a final, thorough inspection. If everything looks up to code, he/she will issue verbal and written approvals. If the completed structure is not up to code, the building inspector can halt usage of the structure until issues are resolved. They evaluate the soundness of the building structure, ensure a reasonable amount of accessible fire exits are present, and determine if materials used in construction are capable of withstanding weather conditions and natural disasters that are common in the area.

Typical Work Schedule

Most building inspectors work full-time schedules during normal business hours. Overtime may be required on occasion to meet deadlines or to respond to emergencies if incidents occur at construction sites.

Projected Job Growth

A focus on public safety when beginning new construction projects is expected to increase demand for talented building inspectors over the coming decade.

Typical Employers

Most building inspectors are employed by local government agencies. However, some may also work for construction, architectural, of engineering firms that specialize in building and designing large structures and residential homes.

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How To Become a Building Inspector

Aspiring building inspectors may be able to find work with only a high school diploma and relevant professional experience, but most employers prefer that building inspectors have some form of postsecondary education. This education can be earned by pursuing a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in a related field. Some community and technical colleges offer certificate programs in building inspection technology, and these programs usually last less than a year.

However, many employers have begun demanding higher levels of education for newly hired building inspectors, so an associate’s or bachelor’s degree may be a prerequisite for desirable roles in this career field. The type of degree earned isn’t really as important as the completion of relevant coursework. Courses in architecture, geometry, and algebra are important because they teach the basic components of a structurally sound building. Courses in building codes and computer courses are also beneficial.

The other benefit of having a bachelor’s degree is that it enables aspiring building inspectors to find entry-level work in the career without previous experience. For individuals with a certificate or associate’s degree, previous construction or architecture experience may be required. Additionally, most states and localities require building inspectors to be licensed to perform inspections. Licensure usually requires completion of a certain level of education—determined by the state/locality—and passing a written test.

Building Inspector Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Building Inspector salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Building Inspector's can make an average annual salary of $60,030, or $29 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $44,490 or $21 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #270 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Building Inspector. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Building Inspectors

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 4.7%   Masters
  • 21%   Bachelors
  • 12.3%   Associates
  • 32.2%   College
  • 26%   High School
  • 3.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Building Inspector job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 8,000 jobs for a total of 109,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 7.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #282 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Building Inspectors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 40,000 2,200 2%
Engineering services 15,900 1,900 2%
Self-employed workers 9,300 400 1%

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