In most places, all you need to break into the home inspection business is some common building knowledge and an ad in the yellow pages. However, if you want to do it right, there are steps you can take to become a building inspector.
Contact the building department of your city or county government, or a certified building inspector near you, to find out about programs in your area.
Enroll in the building inspector program and purchase the required manuals. Tuition for the course and the cost of the manuals varies greatly from place to place, but you can expect to pay several hundred dollars in most cases.
Begin reading through your manuals in preparation for the course. It will help if you already have a basic understanding of construction, electrical, plumbing and even fire safety practices.
Keep in mind that training is conducted largely on-the-job in most cases by a certified building inspector. You may be required to absorb the text on your own in some programs - this will include learning building and safety codes and getting up to speed on current inspection methods.
Augment your building inspector training with courses in blueprint reading, engineering, construction technology and drafting; these courses may be offered at a local career or community college or university.
Pass all training program requirements, a written exam and trial inspection tests, and you will be well on your way to becoming a certified building official (CBO).
Get liability insurance if you intend to be a self-employed building inspector. If you are going to work for a company or building department, liability insurance will usually be provided.
Complete an apprenticeship program, required in most areas, and you may become a certified building inspector.
Contact the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) about certified building inspector programs in your area (see Related Sites). Be prepared to participate in some kind of continuing education each year to stay abreast of technology changes and construction trends.
Physical, as well as mental, fitness is a requirement for inspectors who may be asked to climb over construction sites or examine highly technical blueprints. Staying sharp is a safety must.