What would a profile of an average American home inspector look like? Would they be a certain age, gender, race, income bracket or part of a particular socioeconomic status?
At one time, such a classification may have been possible, but no more. Today, anyone who puts in the time and effort can become a home inspector.
What Kind of Background Is Necessary to Become a Home Inspector?
No particular type of background is necessary for home inspection training. The field may once have been dominated by men, but many women are now entering the fray.
While it is true that many home inspectors are former building contractors, plumbers, roofers, electricians, or HVAC technicians, this type of technical training is not necessary to fulfill the requirements of being a home inspector.
In fact, having experience in these professions can sometimes act as a hindrance to performing the duties of home inspection. How can this be possible?
Having a lot of knowledge in one area and little in others can create an imbalance. This phenomenon can be insidious, affecting the veracity and thoroughness of home inspection reports in sometimes imperceptible ways.
For example, an HVAC tech might pay more attention to the furnace and heating vents in a home than the roof, simply because this is a realm in which he or she is more familiar and comfortable. The roof may get more cursory attention, and the result could be potentially serious defects that remain undiscovered.
Therefore, sometimes the most thorough, well-rounded home inspectors are those who start from zero, learning all the home systems from A to Z through books, classes, videos, and independent study.
Must Home Inspectors Be Certified?
In about half of U.S. states, home inspectors must pass a test and be certified to conduct inspections.
At ICA, we offer online classes that can teach you what you need to know to become certified in your state. We have an interactive map on our site that allows you to click on each state to see what its requirements are for home inspection certification.
When you enroll in a course at ICA, once you learn all the material and pass the test, we send you your home inspection certificate. Some states require that you also pass a separate state licensing exam, which you must register for and complete separately.
If your state has no requirements, it is still useful to take the ICA course and receive your home inspection training certificate, because this demonstrates that you went above and beyond the requirements of your local governing body in order to better serve the public.
You can advertise your achievement when you start your new business, and potential customers will see that you have undergone rigorous training. They will have more confidence in you as a home inspector.
Do Home Inspectors Need to Complete Continuing Education Classes?
Some states require continuing education for home inspectors and some do not. You can use the ICA interactive map to learn this information as well. When you click on your state, you get an FAQ about certification and home inspection specific to that area.
ICA’s sister company, Quality Education Group, provides training to fulfill continuing education requirements, but these classes are appropriate even if your state has no such regulations. Taking continuing education classes is a form of affirmation to potential customers. Doing the work demonstrates that you are striving to advance your knowledge, even when there is no mandate to do so.
This helps with marketing, but it also helps you to be a better home inspector. Home systems are constantly changing and evolving, with new parts, procedures, installation techniques, and more. It’s critical to stay abreast of these changes.
What makes home inspection a challenge sometimes is the fact that many homes contain systems and equipment that may date back decades. These types of inspections are real challenges, because these systems may be unfamiliar to you, and their age alone could make them unsafe. The more knowledge you gain, the more valuable your home inspection will be.
How Can You Learn to be a Home Inspector with Online Classes?
Online classes are extremely convenient because you can complete the coursework on your own time. You never have to worry about missing a class or a lecture or a discussion; all the information is available to you whenever you need it.
You may wonder how you can learn to do hands-on work online. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to learn to become a home inspector. Being in a classroom with an instructor has its advantages, but online learning incorporates videos, so you can watch an actual home inspection close up. Click here to watch an ICA demonstration of a home inspection.
Videos have long been reliable sources of all types of demonstrations, from hair styling to household repairs to learning computer programs. It’s an easy way to see how to perform a skill firsthand. And you can watch it as many times as you want!
It can be awkward to ask a teacher to repeat a lesson or skill in a classroom with others, especially if you need them to do it more than once.
Another great benefit of online learning is the availability of help with classes. If there is any aspect of a course you don’t understand or need help with, you can call our support line for assistance. Our trained professionals are there for you.
Moreover, all the videos and printed materials are online, at your disposal whenever you need to refer back to them, even if it’s after you have passed your exams and achieved certification!
Every home is different, so every home inspection is different. You may encounter a situation you have never seen before. Home inspection reports are completed after the on-site work is done, so this allows you extra time to research anything you think you might not know inside and out.
Is Home Inspecting a Full-Time or Part-Time Job?
You can be a home inspector for as many or as few hours per week as you want. That is the beauty of becoming a home inspector in your spare time or as a second career. You are under no obligation to work on any particular day and time; you can even work just one day a week if you choose!
If you do envision a serious career as a home inspector, the field affords a level of security that isn’t possible with other ventures. For instance, once you are ready to launch your business, you don’t have to worry about a lot of startup costs like leases and equipment and employees.
You will likely start out slowly, perhaps with just a few appointments. But you can schedule them at your convenience, so there is no need to give up your day job right away. In fact, you don’t ever need to give up your day job if you don’t want to.
A regular, full-time job that offers insurance, vacation, 401(k) and other benefits can be reassuring, especially if other members of your family depend on these as well.
But what if you have embarked on a home inspector career in order to escape the monotony of your current job? Then home inspection training is just the right outlet for you!
You can move as quickly as you want into a full-time career inspecting houses. It will take time to build your business. A year is a rough estimate, but it depends on your area and the amount of time and resources you invest. In the meantime, you can plan your move in stages so you can avoid any sudden and drastic changes.
If owning your own business is too much risk or trouble for your taste, you can always opt to work for an established home inspection firm. If you put in enough hours, you may also get benefits in such a position.
Either of these options works well for a career change later in life, or as a post-retirement profession. If you have no dependents and your spouse has a full-time job that provides insurance and a reliable source of income, this can make the transition easier. Likewise, if you are retired and receiving a pension or Social Security and have Medicare, this also gives you some flexibility and more freedom.
Glassdoor puts home inspector salaries at about $41,000, although this can vary quite a bit depending on the number of hours you work, your location and the market in your area.
If you are considering home inspector training, check out our website, where you can learn more about training and licensing, compare courses, watch a demo, read testimonials, and even enroll in classes. Also see our offer for home inspection report software — a great mobile app you can use on your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone — that you can download for free as a graduate of our program.
Home inspection training is a rewarding and fulfilling career, and whether you plan to use your new certification to supplement your current income or start your own business, ICA can help you get there.