Employment of construction and building inspectors is expected to grow 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Concern for public safety and a desire to improve the quality of construction should continue to increase demand for inspectors. Employment growth is expected to be strongest in government and in firms specializing in architectural, engineering, and related services.
Concerns about natural and manmade disasters are increasing the need for qualified inspectors. New niche fields, including green and sustainable design, may require additional inspectors.
Although employment of home inspectors should continue to grow, some states are increasingly limiting entry into the field to those with experience or to those who are certified.
Construction and building inspectors who are certified and can do a variety of inspections should have the best job opportunities. Inspectors with construction-related work experience or training in engineering, architecture, construction technology, or related fields will likely also have better job prospects. In addition, inspectors with thorough knowledge of construction practices and skills, such as reading and evaluating blueprints and plans, should have better job opportunities.
Larger jurisdictions usually hire specialized inspectors with knowledge in a particular area of construction, such as electrical or plumbing. Conversely, for budgetary reasons, smaller jurisdictions typically prefer to hire combination inspectors with broad knowledge of multiple disciplines.
Until recently, inspectors were thought to be less affected by the ups and downs of construction activity. Significant staff cuts in some areas, however, should result in strong competition for available jobs. Those who are self-employed, such as home inspectors, are more likely to be affected by economic downturns or fluctuations in the real estate market.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition