Home inspector training

A formal college education is not required for a career as a home inspector. However, because of the number of technical elements involved in building codes, electrical and plumbing systems, on top of the liability involved in signing off on the safety conditions of a home, inspectors are required to enroll in specific training and even obtain a certification or license in order to practice.
Regulations for the home inspection sector is governed at the state level. Some states require home inspectors to obtain a professional licenses, while others just require them to be enrolled in continued education courses each year to keep up with changes in the real estate industry and the residential building codes. In order to find out the requirements for the specific state you’d like to practice, visit the American Society of Home Inspectors.1
On another note, without any practical experience, it is difficult for students to break into this field, because the job is very hands-on. As a result, students who are looking to pursue this career path should consider enrolling in a certificate program offered at a local college or with a trade association like the American Society of Home Inspectors. Here are some of the courses which students can expect to see in a home inspection program:
• Interior inspection: Students will learn about insulation and ventilation systems which keep the home warm and air circulated at all times. In addition, they will learn to inspect interior elements of a house/condo such as walls, ceilings, floors, basements, doors, windows, including how to spot irregularities and building code requirements.
• Exterior inspection: These courses cover the outdoor elements of a house/condo including exterior walls, retaining walls, garages, driveways, patios, trims, drainage systems, exterior doors and windows.
• Structure examination: The structural elements are especially crucial to the safety of the home, any damage can potentially cause harm to its inhabitants. Students in these courses will learn about the structural building codes for these elements as well as learn to inspect foundations, weight bearing walls and doorways as well as ceilings and floor joints.
• Roofing: This is an especially important area of a house, as it keeps the inhabitants protected from many of the environmental elements (such as rain, snow, debris, etc.) While roofs generally have a long shelf-life, students will need to learn how to inspect them and advise clients if the property’s roof requires attention or repairs.
• Communications: Home inspectors are required to produce detailed reports to clients on the findings of the properties. They are also required to maintain ethical relationships with clients to ensure proper professional conduct. Students will learn not only how to develop good written and oral communications, they will also learn about industry standards for professional conduct.
• Electrical Circuits: These courses will cover the basics of a residential electrical system and students will learn how to inspect the wiring and circuitry to ensure that the electrical outlets, circuits and wiring are up to building code.
• Heating Systems: Heating is a crucial element in most US cities as the winters can be harsh. Students will learn how to spot old, faulty furnaces as well as instruct clients on how to maintain them in good conditions to avoid flooding of basements and ensure consistent supply of heat in the winter months.
• Plumbing Systems: Plumbing is a major element in most houses and building units as it conveys water and wastes from the municipal system to the individual homes. Any potential leaks or damage can be costly and inconvenience its inhabitants.
• HVAC Systems: Some of the modern homes are equipped with air conditioning units or pumps by the pool. It is important to inspect these elements to make sure there are no damages and that they are installed to code for safety.
A career in home inspection is not only technical but also physically demanding as inspectors are required to review and tests all the elements inside as well as outside of a house. For more information on the licensing requirements and courses, please contact your high school counselor.
1. American Society of Home Inspectors. http://www.ashi.org/

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