How to Become a FEMA Disaster Inspector Part Two: WSP USA Inspection Services

Home inspection training
When you undertake home inspection training, your expectations are generally that your clients will be local home and business owners involved in property transactions.

But if you decide to branch out into FEMA disaster work, you will need specialized home inspection training.

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was created in 1979 and the organization spent many years preparing for disasters that rarely occurred. But the last few years have been busy ones for FEMA. Natural disasters, and especially hurricanes, are on the upswing. Deployments have been made for floods, fires, and hurricanes throughout the U.S. and its territories in the last two years.

FEMA contracts with two private companies that handle hiring inspectors to assess damage to homes: WSP USA Inspection Services (formerly known as PB Disaster Services) and Vanguard EM.

In Part One of this series, we discussed how to become a FEMA inspector for Vanguard, and in this part, we talk about WSP USA Inspection Services.

How to Get Started on Becoming FEMA-Certified

As a home inspector, you are likely used to inspecting homes and businesses that are intact. You look carefully into all the crevices for any signs of damage. But as a FEMA inspector, you concentrate on the big picture. Skills are similar, but not identical, so specialized training is needed.

The first step in the application process, however, is to undergo a background check and get fingerprinted. The process and its results can take weeks or even months, so plan accordingly.

WSP uses a moderate risk background investigation. For an MBI, your friends, neighbors, work references, local law enforcement and others are sent questionnaires about you that they must fill out and return. You also must submit to an interview, and you must answer all the questions truthfully or you may fail the check.

It is possible to pass the check if you have been convicted of a crime, but you will fail if you lie about it. Further, financial problems such as tax debts or defaults on student loans could get you disqualified. Credit checks are part of a background check, so if you are unsure of your credit score, find out before applying.

WSP FEMA Home Inspector Training

Once you get past the background check, you are ready for training, which includes how to use their tablets and software to document damage to properties. This includes taking photographs of the damage as well as inputting written documentation.

Although it is helpful to have home inspector certification when you apply, it is not necessary. For background knowledge, all that’s required is “a basic understanding of residential construction.” You also must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible to apply.

WSP offers online courses as part of its training program, as well as interactive webinars and in-person workshops.

How Are WSP Home Inspectors Paid?

At WSP, disaster inspectors are considered temporary, part-time employees and are paid hourly and not per inspection. The rate, according to Glassdoor, is $26-$29 an hour. WSP says travel and training time is paid in addition to regular working hours. Plus, opportunities are offered in between deployments for further paid continuing education and training hours.

WSP pays for inspectors’ airfares to the disaster site and compensates them with a per diem rate for hotels and meals.

Doing business as PB Disaster Services, WSP gets 3.5 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor, based on 547 reviews.

Inspectors are generally satisfied with pay and training, although one mentioned that having the opportunity to train in the field with a more experienced inspector would be helpful. Some negatives included slow reimbursement rates and a lack of response from higher-ups when inspectors had questions or problems.

On Indeed, the company got 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 15 reviews.

Several of the respondents on this site expressed that they were unable to make ends meet by working only as a disaster inspector, though they felt the pay was good when they got work. The bottom line is that no one can control or predict a natural disaster, so relying on them to pay bills is probably unwise.

Working as a FEMA home inspector is not an easy job, but inspectors report that it is rewarding and most feel fairly compensated. Here are some of their comments:

  • I truly enjoyed my job. Being able to travel and not be in the same place on a day-to-day basis and being able to help people at their worst time was the most rewarding.
  • It was a good part-time job that paid well for hard work.
  • I do manage my time, my schedule and do make important decisions without manager supervision … I get to travel all over the country helping people, that is what l like about this profession.
  • Bringing relief to those in need helps to make the time spent in the field worth the effort.
  • Not for the faint of heart, see a lot of heartbreaking situations on a daily basis.
  • I absolutely loved being able to help others in their times of need. I also enjoyed being able to set my own schedule, while working as an independent contractor.

Becoming a Certified Home Inspector

If you have not yet undergone home inspection training in order to become certified and pass your state exam, check out our website today. Our course covers home inspection essentials such as structural basics, plumbing and heating, plus important business concepts such as marketing and insurance concerns.

You can take our course entirely online, and you can go at whatever pace you are comfortable with. Most people complete training in three to four weeks, but if a family emergency arises or you simply need more time, you can take as much as you like. There are no deadlines to becoming a home inspector.

Get started on your career in home inspection today! Enroll now!

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