Many homeowners owe special thanks to housing inspectors who ensure that the structures, electrical wiring, plumbing, foundations and exterior walls of homes meet government standards. Without these inspectors' diligence and comprehensive property examinations, people might have expensive repairs to make on new or existing homes. If you are interested in becoming a housing inspector, you need at least a high school degree and a license or certification, depending on your state's requirements. In return, you can earn a decent income.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes housing inspectors under "Construction and Building Inspectors," and reported that they earned average annual incomes of $54,970 as of May 2011. Your income can vary according to your experience, geographical location and employer. Eleven percent of housing inspectors owned their own businesses working as independent contractors. If independent contracting appeals to you, your earnings will be contingent on the number of houses you inspect.
Average Income by Industry
Housing inspectors who worked in the waste, treatment and disposal industry earned the highest average annual incomes, according to the BLS -- $83,550. You can also make an income above the national average for housing inspectors -- $54,970 annually -- in the electric power or natural gas industries at $71,900 or $67,420 per year, respectively. The federal executive branch of government paid their housing inspectors an average of $65,440 annually in 2011, while those working for the local government earned $55,250 per year.
Average Income by Metropolitan Area
A housing inspector's salary can also vary significantly by metropolitan area, which pertains to major cities and surrounding areas. Those in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, metropolitan area earned the highest average incomes of $84,190 per year, according to the BLS. If you worked in either the Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, California, or Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada, areas, you would make an average of $78,700 or $73,140 per year, respectively. But expect to earn lower average incomes in the Chicago-Joliet-Napierville, Illinois, or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, metropolitan areas -- $55,280 and $49,330 per year, respectively.
The BLS reports that jobs for housing inspectors will increase 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is just above the 14-percent growth rate for all jobs. Expect many of your opportunities in this field to be spurred by increases in construction because of an improved economy. Government agencies continue to stress the public's health and safety in the construction industry, which will also positively impact demand for your services. You can also increase available jobs by learning how to inspect homes that use various renewable energy sources: solar, wind and hydropower.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Construction and Building Inspectors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Construction and Building Inspectors
- Nationalatlas.gov: Renewable Energy Sources in the United States
- MyPlan.com: Construction and Building Inspectors
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images