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Career Profile: Property Inspector

Why Is Property Inspection a Job of Tomorrow?
As the U.S. population grows and more structures are erected to meet the needs of residents, inspectors will be sought after to ensure these buildings are safe. Whether they are for housing, recreation or business purposes, these buildings must adhere to safety standards established by the government, and inspectors ensure these precautions have been followed. Employment opportunities for property inspectors are expected to increase 18 percent by 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Property inspector salaries vary depending on whether the person works for local or state government. For example, locally employed property inspectors earn an average of $46,040 annually, whereas state-employed property inspectors earn an average of $43,680 annually.

What Does a Property Inspector Do?
Property inspectors are responsible for ensuring that buildings that are being constructed or modified adhere to building codes and regulations as established by local and state government. The rules that must be enforced include zoning regulations, aesthetic requirements such as preserving the common architectural theme of a surrounding community, safety rules such as fire escapes and alarms, and health stipulations such as avoiding lead-based paints and other toxic materials. Property inspectors make several appearances to building sites to make certain that the building is complying with the regulations. Those who work in areas prone to certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, have the added responsibility of making sure that the building is able to withstand such events and protect the occupants inside and outside. For example, buildings in an earthquake-prone location must be constructed in a way that they can withstand most temblors, and if they do collapse, do so in the least catastrophic fashion. Property inspectors can work in several specialty fields. These fields include building inspection, which focuses on the structural quality of the building; plan examination, which looks over the blueprints of the proposed project to check for regulation compliance; electrical inspection, which checks the equipment as well as the building’s electrical systems to ensure that they are within codes; and elevator inspection, which concentrates on the safety of lifts in commercial buildings.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Property Inspector?
Property inspectors must have at least a high school diploma, though more employers are now looking for applicants with at least an associate degree in an engineering-related field. An associate degree takes two years to earn, and students should take courses in building inspection, drafting and mathematics. Most states require property inspectors to be licensed, which typically includes passing a knowledge exam. However, the requirements for licensure vary among states.

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