Are you considering a career in home inspection? You’re not alone. Each year, countless Americans decide to take the plunge and make home inspection their career of choice. It’s not hard to see why – the field is incredibly rewarding and lucrative. Many begin their journeys with a simple question: How long does it take to become a home inspector, anyway?
The answer may surprise you! Many professionals can learn the ropes and begin working in the field in a matter of a few weeks. Of course, this timeline depends largely on your experience and location. Still, home inspection’s relatively low barrier to entry makes it an exciting field for anyone hoping to make a career change.
Education and Training Requirements
Each state has its own education and training requirements for home inspectors. Some require in-person classroom training and ride-along hours with a certified professional, while others task aspiring home inspectors with independent learning and a lengthy exam upon completion of the training course. Some states, like California, do not have any formal education or licensure requirements. Given the vast differences in certification standards from one state to the next, it’s important to do your due diligence before training to become a home inspector.
The home inspector trade can be very rewarding for anyone willing to put in the work. Aspiring inspectors who are eager to learn the latest industry techniques and best practices will build a solid foundation of skills in no time. Like most things in life, you get out of the training experience what you put into it. Even the greenest home inspectors can become experts in their field with enough training and dedication!
State Licensing and Certification
State licensing and certification requirements vary from state to state. Generally speaking, though, professional home inspectors are expected to receive some form of training – by the customer if not by the state. In some states, the training can be completed online from the comfort of your living room. In others, classroom training is considered standard. Many states require aspiring home inspectors to pass a home inspection exam before being granted their official licenses. When researching how long it takes to become a home inspector, be sure to look into your area’s requirements for the profession.
Believe it or not, home inspections aren’t legally required in every state. In fact, many states leave the decision to have a home inspected up to the buyers. In such states, there aren’t many specific rules or regulations surrounding home inspector licensing or certification. Still, clients will typically only work with a home inspector who can prove they have the education, training, and experience to do the job. Without these qualifications, you may find it challenging to launch your own home inspection business.
Building Experience and Expertise
To become a highly skilled and experienced home inspector, you’ll need more than just book smarts. It’s one thing to learn things in the classroom; it’s another thing entirely to learn practical skills on the job. When considering how long it takes to be a home inspector, keep in mind that you may need several hours of ride-along home inspection experience with a certified professional. ICA School can help you connect with an experienced home inspector in your area, or you can network and find a mentor through professional organizations like InterNACHI.
For many new home inspectors, the best way to accumulate practical experience is to find a position within an existing home inspection business. While some prize the independence that comes with starting their own business, others value the opportunity to learn from more senior home inspection professionals. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks, but in either case, practical experience will prove an invaluable asset to have before striking out on your own.
Factors That May Affect the Timeline
What does it take to become a home inspector? Every professional home inspector will have a different answer to this question, but dedication is perhaps most important when starting out. Many home inspection training courses are self-guided, so a highly motivated person focused on learning as quickly as possible can work through the lessons fairly quickly. For those working full-time during the day and only dedicating a few hours each evening to studying, the process may take a bit longer than anticipated. While you may be eager to learn new skills as fast as you can, there are still benefits to taking your time. Everyone absorbs new information at their own pace, so knowing what kind of learner you are will be very helpful when undertaking home inspector training.
Your state’s specific requirements for licensure may also impact your timeline. Some locations require extensive ride-along experience with a certified home inspector before you can become licensed. In Illinois, for instance, prospective home inspectors must complete five ride-along inspections before getting certified. Contrast that with the Massachusetts requirements of 25 ride-along inspections, and it’s understandable that an aspiring home inspector in Boston may take longer to earn their certification than someone training in Chicago!
Tips for Successfully Becoming a Home Inspector
Training to become a home inspector is the beginning of a career full of learning and skill development. While classroom learning and online modules can teach you a lot about the profession, practical experience is paramount. In addition to the ride-along home inspections you may be required to perform, it’s a good idea to network with established professionals in your community. They can provide additional opportunities to roll up your sleeves and exercise your new skills in the real world. A quality mentor can do wonders to help you carve out your niche in the field.
Joining industry organizations can also help you become a better home inspector. Professional groups like InterNACHI connect home inspectors with their peers and are excellent resources for staying up to date on the latest techniques and tools. ICA School graduates enjoy a free month of InterNACHI membership – just one of the many benefits of our comprehensive home inspector training.
Becoming a home inspector begins with enrolling at ICA School. Click here to get started today.