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Become A Field Inspector

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Working As A Field Inspector

  • Getting Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Make Decisions

  • $61,598

    Average Salary

What Does A Field Inspector Do

Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.

Duties

Construction and building inspectors typically do the following:

  • Review plans to ensure they meet building codes, local ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications
  • Approve building plans that are satisfactory
  • Monitor construction sites periodically to ensure overall compliance
  • Use survey instruments, metering devices, and test equipment to perform inspections
  • Inspect plumbing, electrical, and other systems to ensure that they meet code
  • Verify alignment, level, and elevation of structures to ensure building meets specifications
  • Issue violation notices and stop-work orders until building is compliant
  • Keep daily logs, including photographs taken during inspections
  • Provide written documentation of findings

People want to live and work in safe places, and construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets codified requirements. Construction and building inspectors examine buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures. They also inspect electrical; heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR); and plumbing systems. Although no two inspections are alike, inspectors perform an initial check during the first phase of construction and followup inspections throughout the construction project. When the project is finished, they perform a final, comprehensive inspection and provide written and oral feedback related to their findings.

The following are examples of types of construction and building inspectors:

Building inspectors check the structural quality and general safety of buildings. Some specialize further, inspecting only structural steel or reinforced-concrete structures, for example.

Coating inspectors examine the exterior paint and coating on bridges, pipelines, and large holding tanks. Inspectors perform checks at various stages of the painting process to ensure proper coating.

Electrical inspectors examine the installed electrical systems to ensure they function properly and comply with electrical codes and standards. The inspectors visit worksites to inspect new and existing sound and security systems, wiring, lighting, motors, photovoltaic systems, and generating equipment. They also inspect the installed electrical wiring for HVACR systems and appliances.

Elevator inspectors examine lifting and conveying devices, such as elevators, escalators, moving sidewalks, lifts and hoists, inclined railways, ski lifts, and amusement rides. The inspections include both the mechanical and electrical control systems.

Home inspectors typically inspect newly built or previously owned homes, condominiums, townhomes, and other dwellings. Prospective home buyers often hire home inspectors to check and report on a home’s structure and overall condition. Sometimes, homeowners hire a home inspector to evaluate their home’s condition before placing it on the market.

In addition to examining structural quality, home inspectors examine all home systems and features, including the roof, exterior walls, attached garage or carport, foundation, interior, plumbing, electrical, and HVACR systems. They look for violations of building codes, but home inspectors do not have the power to enforce compliance with the codes.

Mechanical inspectors examine the installation of HVACR systems and equipment to ensure that they are installed and function properly. They may also inspect commercial kitchen equipment, gas-fired appliances, and boilers. Mechanical inspectors should not be confused with quality control inspectors, who inspect goods at manufacturing plants.

Plan examiners determine whether the plans for a building or other structure comply with building codes. They also determine whether the structure is suited to the engineering and environmental demands of the building site.

Plumbing inspectors examine the installation of systems that ensure the safety and health of drinking water, the sanitary disposal of waste, and the safety of industrial piping.

Public works inspectors ensure that the construction of federal, state, and local government water and sewer systems, highways, streets, bridges, and dams conforms to detailed contract specifications. Workers inspect excavation and fill operations, the placement of forms for concrete, concrete mixing and pouring, asphalt paving, and grading operations. Public works inspectors may specialize in highways, structural steel, reinforced concrete, or ditches. Others may specialize in dredging operations required for bridges, dams, or harbors.

Specification inspectors ensure that construction work is performed according to design specifications. Specification inspectors represent the owner’s interests, not those of the general public. Insurance companies and financial institutions also may use their services.

Some building inspectors are concerned with fire prevention safety. Fire inspectors and investigators ensure that buildings meet fire codes.

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How To Become A Field Inspector

Most employers require construction and building inspectors to have at least a high school diploma and considerable knowledge of construction trades. Inspectors typically learn on the job. Many states and local jurisdictions require some type of license or certification.

Education

Most employers require inspectors to have at least a high school diploma, even for workers who have considerable related work experience.

Employers also seek candidates who have studied engineering or architecture or who have a certificate or an associate’s degree that includes courses in building inspection, home inspection, construction technology, and drafting. Many community colleges offer programs in building inspection technology. Courses in blueprint reading, vocational subjects, algebra, geometry, and writing are also useful. Courses in business management are helpful for those who plan to run their own inspection business.

A growing number of construction and building inspectors are entering the occupation with a bachelor’s degree, which can often substitute for related work experience.

Training

Training requirements vary by state, locality, and type of inspector. In general, construction and building inspectors receive much of their training on the job, although they must learn building codes and standards on their own. Working with an experienced inspector, they learn about inspection techniques; codes, ordinances, and regulations; contract specifications; and recordkeeping and reporting duties. Training also may include supervised onsite inspections.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Because inspectors must possess the right mix of technical knowledge, work experience, and education, employers prefer applicants who have both training and experience in a construction trade. For example, many inspectors have experience working as carpenters, electricians, or plumbers. Many home inspectors combine knowledge of multiple specialties, so many of them enter the occupation having a combination of certifications and previous experience in various construction trades.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states and local jurisdictions require construction and building inspectors to have a license or certification. Some states have individual licensing programs for construction and building inspectors. Others may require certification by associations such as the International Code Council, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, and the National Fire Protection Association.

Similarly, most states require home inspectors to follow defined trade practices or obtain a state-issued license or certification. Currently, 36 states have policies regulating the conduct of home inspectors; a few states are considering adding licensure or certification requirements for home inspectors.

Home inspector license or certification requirements vary by state but may require that inspectors do the following:

  • Achieve a specified level of education
  • Possess experience with inspections
  • Maintain liability insurance
  • Pass an exam

The exam is often based on the American Society of Home Inspectors and National Association of Home Inspectors certification exams. Most inspectors must renew their license periodically and take continuing education courses.

Inspectors must have a valid driver’s license because they must travel to inspection sites.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Inspectors must have good communication skills in order to explain any problems they find and to help people understand what is needed to fix the problems. In addition, they need to provide a written report of their findings.

Craft experience. Inspectors perform checks and inspections throughout the construction project. Experience in a related construction occupation provides inspectors with the necessary background to become certified.

Detail oriented. Inspectors must thoroughly examine many different construction activities, often at the same time. Therefore, they must pay close attention to detail so as to not overlook any items that need to be checked.

Mechanical knowledge. Inspectors use a variety of testing equipment as they check complex systems. In order to perform tests properly, they also must have detailed knowledge of how the systems operate.

Physical stamina. Inspectors are constantly on their feet and often must crawl through attics and other tight spaces. As a result, they should be somewhat physically fit.

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Field Inspector Jobs

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Field Inspector Demographics

Gender

Male

73.1%

Female

24.4%

Unknown

2.5%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

17.5%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.0%

French

6.5%

Polish

5.2%

German

3.9%

Mandarin

2.6%

Turkish

2.6%

Russian

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Portuguese

1.3%

Serbian

1.3%

Dutch

1.3%

Romanian

1.3%

Cantonese

1.3%

Bosnian

1.3%

Hmong

1.3%

Croatian

1.3%

Korean

1.3%

Italian

1.3%
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Field Inspector Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.2%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

9.2%

Iowa State University

9.2%

Drexel University

6.3%

The Academy

4.9%

Western Illinois University

4.2%

Lawrence Technological University

4.2%

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology

3.5%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.5%

Illinois State University

3.5%

Texas Tech University

3.5%

University of Northern Iowa

3.5%

University of Montana

3.5%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

Metropolitan State University of Denver

3.5%

American InterContinental University

3.5%

North Dakota State University -

3.5%

Bergen Community College

3.5%

California State University - Chico

3.5%

Columbia Southern University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

25.5%

Civil Engineering

12.9%

Criminal Justice

8.9%

Accounting

5.0%

General Studies

4.0%

Management

4.0%

Environmental Science

3.7%

Electrical Engineering

3.6%

Biology

3.4%

Construction Management

3.4%

Real Estate

3.0%

Communication

3.0%

Political Science

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Psychology

2.5%

Mechanical Engineering

2.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.3%

Marketing

2.3%

Drafting And Design

2.2%

Economics

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.7%

Other

29.4%

Associate

12.1%

Masters

8.0%

Certificate

5.6%

Diploma

1.6%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Real Field Inspector Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Petroleum Field Inspector Amspec, LLC Avenel, NJ Sep 15, 2015 $75,000
Ipo/Boe Field Inspector Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Pueblo, CO Sep 19, 2016 $70,572 -
$112,915
Field Inspector/Instructor, Bureau of Explosives Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Pueblo, CO Dec 28, 2015 $70,572 -
$112,915
Field Inspector Twin Peaks Inc. Islandia, NY Nov 19, 2015 $62,546
Field Inspector Distinct Engineering Solutions Inc. New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $54,000
Senior Field Inspector SGS North America, Inc. NJ Jun 04, 2010 $53,385
Geotechnical Field Inspector K & S Engineers, Inc. Beech Grove, IN May 09, 2016 $52,467
Field Inspector S. Desimone Engineers L.L.C. New York, NY Sep 01, 2013 $52,000
Field Inspector Camin Cargo Control Linden, NJ Feb 08, 2013 $45,000
Field Inspector Camin Cargo Control Linden, NJ Feb 08, 2010 $45,000

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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Field Inspector?

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Top Skills for A Field Inspector

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  1. Safety
  2. Occupancy Status
  3. Insurance Companies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Consult with field engineering personnel and operations personnel concerning advisability of work as it pertains to safety.
  • Conduct direct visual observations to determine the overall physical condition and occupancy status of foreclosed properties.
  • Conducted monthly residential property inspections for insurance companies.
  • Photographed and documented damage assessments and occupancy status of residential properties for various mortgage companies and banks.
  • Interviewed residents of inhabited properties and assisted them in contacting Bank of America customer service representatives.

What is it like to work as a Field Inspector

4.0

Life of a Field Inspector

April 22, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Field Inspector.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Field Inspector?

I recommend this job as one of the best in America! You can often schedule around things in your life, and create an awesome Work/Life balance. One of the things not mentioned in the review above is the windshield time. Some days I spend more time behind the wheel of my car than I do doing the work. So you have to love travel/driving. You also need to be able to communicate in writing your findings in a way that can be understood by anyone reading your reports. So about a 10th grade reading/writing level is what I expect from my subordinates. Knowledge comes with training, time and experience. Most companies I have had an opportunity to evaluate do a poor job of training their field inspectors... Show More

What do you NOT like?

The most difficult part of the job if finding the time to write out coherent reports in a timely manner. I try to get mine completed in less than 2 weeks from the visit. But some visits may have reports that can take 4-6 hours to complete accurately. I work with large and small employers and everything in between. Even after decades of working I sometimes run into things I have never seen before, so I often find myself researching and reaching out to colleagues for insight. ( for instance, I was once set to do a Worker's Comp evaluation on employees working on a monkey farm. So a lot of research on live stock and specific hazards that go along with working with that specific type of animal.) It has never gotten old or boring, that's for sure... Show More

How Would You Rate Working As a Field Inspector?

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Top 10 Best States for Field Inspectors

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Nevada
  5. Oregon
  6. Washington
  7. North Dakota
  8. Connecticut
  9. Minnesota
  10. Iowa
  • (7 jobs)
  • (433 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)

Top Field Inspector Employers

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