The process to become a property inspector varies by jurisdiction; the type or types of property that you want to inspect; as well as whether you want to work for yourself, a private business, or a governmental agency. Educational requirements to become a property inspector depend on licensing laws and employer requirements. In some cases, you’ll be expected to complete a training program or even an academic degree, or you can learn the trade on the job. In some places, you’ll be required to hold a license or professional certification prior to working as an inspector.
The work of a property inspector varies. If you become a home inspector, you’ll perform visual inspections of residential properties and then develop a report for a homeowner, or potential homeowner, that describes the condition of the home and how well its systems are functioning. On the other hand, you may become a property inspector for a government agency, evaluating buildings and homes to ensure that they are safe and meet established building codes. In many cases, having some work background in construction or a building trade is often helpful in finding work and getting started in the profession.
You may be able to become a property inspector after going through a program of on-the-job training or apprenticing with an experienced inspector. An employer or the laws in your jurisdiction may prescribe a certain number of hours that you must spend actively inspecting homes under the supervision of a fully credentialed inspector. During this training process, your supervisor will assign you specific tasks in the properties that you inspect and, over time, you may assume responsibility for completing inspection reports. This experience alone may qualify you for licensure or certification as a property inspector, though you may also be required to complete formal coursework as well.
Training programs for property inspectors are available in both online and classroom formats and may be a required by some employers or licensing boards. Home inspector courses are taught through community colleges and vocational schools. The length and curriculum of these courses varies by jurisdictional law. Some professional associations for property inspectors may also require that members complete an approved training course and complete continuing education hours to keep their membership or certification in good standing. Laws in some jurisdictions may allow licensed professional engineers and architects, who typically must hold at least an undergraduate degree, to perform home inspections without having to be licensed as a home inspector.