Pursuing a career as a home inspector is as practical as it is rewarding. Discover how you can turn your care for public health and community wellness into a fulfilling career, offering peace of mind and safety to homeowners and exemplary service to real estate agents.
How to Become a Home Inspector in California
Education & Training
The education and training requirements to become a home inspector vary drastically across states and counties. There is no national education requirement to become a home inspector, but that doesn’t mean it’s advised to seek employment without prior training immediately.
How Long Does It Take?
Students starting from scratch may elect to take a certification course in home inspection that addresses information regarding related skilled trades in more depth. Most decent certification courses, such as the ones above take about 12 months, or 200 hours of your time.
Students with a background in the skilled trades, such as HVAC/R maintenance, plumbing, electrical work, and construction, may only need to complete a certification course on home inspection procedures to be sufficiently prepared for the National Home Inspector exam.
California has no mandatory educational requirement to become a home inspector. That means you are not required to fulfill specific educational hours.
Still, all prospective home inspectors must pass the National Home Inspector Exam to work or seek employment, which may require varying levels of prerequisite education depending on your prior knowledge of the skilled trades.
Though California has no formal licensing requirements, the state still approves specific home inspection certification courses. While these courses are not mandatory, potential employers will evaluate your competence based on your level of education since California has no licensing requirement.
How Much Does It Cost?
Home inspector certification programs typically cost $900 to $2,500 for the entire course. No associate’s degree programs are offered for home inspection, though possessing a related certificate or degree in a skilled trade from a vocational college may additionally serve helpful, though it is certainly not required.
What Do You Study?
A typical course geared towards prospective home inspectors will address the following:
- Equipment: what equipment is used when conducting evaluations of properties, along with appropriate safety procedures and methods of use.
- Reports: How to write an inspection report and its components, how to report construction issues or malfunctions in homes, and how to document your work appropriately.
- Procedures: The components and standard procedures of a complete home inspection, including objectives, steps, and guidelines.
- Construction: Construction basics, including commonly-used construction materials and standards, and location-specific environmental hazards, such as earthquake safety procedures.
Benefits of Taking a Course
Prospective home inspectors must pass the National Home Inspector Exam, which requires prerequisite knowledge of inspection protocol and adjacent skilled trades. Furthermore, if you wish to seek employment at a home inspection agency or to be contracted independently by a real estate agent, your employer may still request some prerequisite education to verify your level of competence.
An online certification course in home inspection can prove incredibly helpful to prospective home inspectors aiming to provide top-notch services to home buyers, real estate agents, and home inspection agencies.
Taking an online, self-paced program grants students the flexibility they may need to balance their current careers and busy schedules with their education.
Additionally, online courses are typically more affordable than vocational college degrees and are much shorter due to their flexibility.
A class focusing on training prospective home inspectors will cover the necessities of related skilled trades. You will likely not need additional education which may cost you more time and money.
How Much Can You Make in California?
The national average salary for home inspectors is $61,640 per year, or $29.63 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary for home inspectors in California is $68,264 per year, or $32.28 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter.
Average salaries for the most significant 5 cities in California are as follows:
- Los Angeles: $59,900/year, $29/hour
- San Diego: $59,700/year, $29/hour
- San Jose: $59,600/year, $29/hour
- San Fransisco: $59,600/year, $29/hour
- Fresno: $57,800/year, $28/hour
There are no national educational prerequisites required to become a home inspector. Although different states and firms may require other certifications and educational components, the only federal requirement for home inspectors is completing the National Home Inspector Exam.
State License or Certification
California has no licensing requirements for home inspectors. Though the state may approve specific home inspection courses, there is also no educational requirement. Still, prospective home inspectors in California are recommended to choose a certification course catering to their knowledge level in related skilled trades before taking the National Home Inspectors Exam. Education is recommended since the state has no official licensing procedures, so firms must base their hiring process on home inspectors’ level of education.
Self-employed home inspectors need no additional certifications related to the trade. However, they must abide by California’s business practices, register their business as required, and pay any appropriate fees or taxes due.
Apprenticeships are also not mandatory for becoming a home inspector in California. Still, they can be a beneficial experience, both personally and professionally. An apprenticeship will provide you with relevant on-the-job training that you may only glean in part of an online course. An apprenticeship opens up pathways for employment, potentially giving you an advantage if you apply for a job at your training place after completing your apprenticeship.
Additional certifications acquired through completing educational programs regarding home inspection and adjacent skilled trades may make you a more competitive job applicant. You may pursue a California radon certification or take a course in a more specific aspect of home inspection, such as inspecting commercial properties or residential energy systems. Real estate agents and potential employers may prefer working with individuals with higher-level inspecting certifications.