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Working as a Plans Examiner

The job of the plans examiner is to review construction plans to make sure that proper legal codes are followed. This individual is responsible for ensuring that new construction meets the criteria laid out by public safety and health standards.

Plans examiners look at blueprints for both residential and commercial properties. Their specific duties and responsibilities are to evaluate zoning compliance, work with architects, builders, and homeowners to obtain compliance, make recommendations for whether or not to issue permits, and sometimes supervise individuals who research codes and zoning ordinances. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is required to start a career as a plans examiner. Moreover, certifications from certain institutions, such as the ICC and OIC, may be required.

The average hourly salary for the position is $28.14, which equates to $58,523 annually. The career is expected to grow substantially in the near future and create new opportunities across the United States. As long as new buildings are being constructed, the job of a plans examiner will stay relevant.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a plans examiner. For example, did you know that they make an average of $28.14 an hour? That's $58,523 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 7% and produce 7,700 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Plans Examiner Do

There are certain skills that many plans examiners have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, craft experience and mechanical knowledge.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a plans examiner, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.7% of plans examiners included ensure compliance, while 10.3% of resumes included customer service, and 9.5% of resumes included construction projects. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the plans examiner job title. But what industry to start with? Most plans examiners actually find jobs in the government and hospitality industries.

How To Become a Plans Examiner

If you're interested in becoming a plans examiner, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 50.7% of plans examiners have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.9% of plans examiners have master's degrees. Even though most plans examiners have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a plans examiner. When we researched the most common majors for a plans examiner, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on plans examiner resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a plans examiner. In fact, many plans examiner jobs require experience in a role such as building inspector. Meanwhile, many plans examiners also have previous career experience in roles such as project manager or internship.

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Average Salary$58,523
Job Growth Rate7%

Plans Examiner Career Paths

Top Careers Before Plans Examiner

Top Careers After Plans Examiner

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Average Salary for a Plans Examiner

Plans Examiners in America make an average salary of $58,523 per year or $28 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $86,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $39,000 per year.
Average Salary
$58,523

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Pleasanton, CA
Salary Range79k - 138k$105k$105,165
Bellevue, WA
Salary Range70k - 117k$91k$90,659
Salt Lake City, UT
Salary Range61k - 105k$80k$80,214
Las Vegas, NV
Salary Range59k - 102k$78k$78,350
New York, NY
Salary Range52k - 97k$71k$71,222
Springfield, OR
Salary Range54k - 92k$71k$70,955
$39k
$138k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Plans Examiner/Building Inspector
Plans Examiner/Building Inspector
City of Maricopa
City of Maricopa
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$44,90701/28/2021
$44,907
Senior Plans Examiner
Senior Plans Examiner
County of El Paso Tx
County of El Paso Tx
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$44,48001/28/2021
$44,480
Building Plans Examiner
Building Plans Examiner
City of Aurora, Co
City of Aurora, Co
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$53,53801/27/2021
$53,538
Building & Fire Plans Examiner (Plans Examiner Specialist)
Building & Fire Plans Examiner (Plans Examiner Specialist)
New Hanover County Manager
New Hanover County Manager
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$46,89101/27/2021
$46,891
Building Plans Examiner
Building Plans Examiner
City of Aurora
City of Aurora
01/26/2021
01/26/2021
$53,53801/26/2021
$53,538
See More Recent Salaries

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Plans Examiner Demographics

Gender

male

69.4 %

female

25.1 %

unknown

5.5 %

Ethnicity

White

74.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

12.2 %

Black or African American

7.7 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.5 %

Italian

25.0 %

Dakota

12.5 %
See More Demographics

Plans Examiner Education

Majors

Business
16.3 %

Degrees

Bachelors

50.7 %

Associate

20.9 %

Masters

11.9 %

Top Colleges for Plans Examiners

1. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

6. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

8. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

9. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

10. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Public

In-State Tuition
$17,653
Enrollment
16,405
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Plans Examiner

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.7% of plans examiners listed ensure compliance on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and craft experience are important as well.

  • Ensure Compliance, 10.7%
  • Customer Service, 10.3%
  • Construction Projects, 9.5%
  • General Public, 7.9%
  • Life Safety, 5.7%
  • Other Skills, 55.9%
  • See All Plans Examiner Skills

Best States For a Plans Examiner

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a plans examiner. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, California, Washington, and Utah. Plans examiners make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $100,466. Whereas in California and Washington, they would average $95,757 and $89,435, respectively. While plans examiners would only make an average of $80,726 in Utah, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Plans Examiner Jobs:
12
Highest 10% Earn:
$145,000
Location Quotient:
1.45
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Plans Examiner Jobs:
49
Highest 10% Earn:
$159,000
Location Quotient:
1.34
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Nevada

Total Plans Examiner Jobs:
4
Highest 10% Earn:
$131,000
Location Quotient:
1.98
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Plans Examiner Employers

1. Clark County
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$51,005
Plans Examiners Hired: 
10+
2. Environmental health
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$61,607
Plans Examiners Hired: 
8+
3. State of Florida
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$45,516
Plans Examiners Hired: 
6+
4. Fort Worth
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$69,752
Plans Examiners Hired: 
5+
5. Arlington County
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$49,292
Plans Examiners Hired: 
5+
6. City of Corpus Christi
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$48,210
Plans Examiners Hired: 
5+
Updated October 2, 2020