Salaries for Senior Road Inspectors

by Rick Suttle

Engineering companies and local, state and federal government agencies depend on senior road -- or senior public works -- inspectors to keep roads and highways safe for vehicle travel. Senior road inspectors inspect roads using various testing techniques, ensure they meet quality standards and determine the necessary repairs. They also report any hazardous conditions to their immediate supervisors. Senior road inspectors earn salaries averaging above $60,000 annually.

Salary and Qualifications

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies road inspectors as "Public Works Inspectors," which falls within the broader category of "Construction and Building Inspectors." Senior road -- or senior public works -- inspectors earned average annual salaries of $63,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. The minimum requirements for this job are typically a high school diploma and one or more years of experience in public works inspection. Some employers may prefer hiring inspectors with associate or bachelor's degrees in construction technology and those certified by the American Concrete Institute or a similar industry association. Training takes place mainly on the job, where these inspectors learn about materials used in concrete construction, testing techniques and highway construction codes. Other essential requirements are attention to detail, mechanical knowledge and communication skills.

Salary by Region

In 2013, average salaries for senior road inspectors varied the most in the West, according to Indeed, where they earned the highest salaries of $69,000 in California and the lowest of $42,000 in Hawaii. Those in the Northeast made $54,000 to $77,000 per year in Maine and New York, respectively. These inspectors earned $54,000 to $75,000 in Louisiana and Washington, D.C., the lowest and highest incomes in the South. In the Midwest, they earned the least in South Dakota and the most in Illinois, at $47,000 and $69,000, respectively.

Contributing Factors

A senior road inspector may earn more in certain industries. For example, construction and building inspectors, including public works or road inspectors, earned relatively high salaries of $66,180 working for the federal government as of May 2012, according to the BLS. This is nearly $11,000 more than the national average of $55,230 for all construction and building inspectors. Senior road inspectors may also earn more working for the federal government, as they often work with these road inspectors. A senior road inspector who works for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be a federal government employee. Senior road inspectors also earn more in New York and California, because it costs more to live in those states. A person earning $65,000 in Kalamazoo, Mich., would need to make $162,909 in New York City to enjoy the same living standard. In Washington, D.C., he'd have to earn $106,695 -- or approximately 64 percent more.

Job Outlook

The BLS predicts an 18-percent increase in jobs for construction and building inspectors, including senior road inspectors, through 2020, statistically about average. Concern for quality road and highway construction and public safety should increase jobs for senior road inspectors. These inspectors may find more job opportunities working for companies that specialize in engineering or architectural services. Those with associate or bachelor's degrees -- and certifications through associations such as the American Concrete Institute -- likely have the best chance of finding jobs.

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