What is an Electrical Inspector?

Careers in construction and building inspection are currently growing faster than average job growth, at a rate of 10 percent. Thousands of qualified inspectors, including electrical inspectors, will be needed in the coming years. An electrical inspector is a professional who goes over wiring, electrical systems and electrical components in buildings to be sure they meet the National Electric Code and that they are safe and functioning.

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What Electrical Inspectors Do

Electrical inspectors are professionals who work in the construction industry, examining electrical systems and components. They work in new construction, ensuring newly installed wiring is up to code and safely functioning. They also work in older buildings, inspecting the electrical systems when people buy new homes or are doing renovation work. Some duties of electrical inspectors are:

  • Reviewing plans for new wiring systems to make sure they meet code and will be safe
  • Approving plans for new construction, renovations and additions
  • Monitoring and inspecting wiring on ongoing construction sites
  • Making sure that wiring and electrical components meet the regulations of the National Electrical Code
  • Stopping work if necessary when issues are discovered with wiring
  • Keeping logs and records of inspections and writing reports and documentation
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Electrical inspectors are responsible for inspecting all kinds of components and equipment in buildings that use electricity, including HVAC systems, sound systems, security and fire systems, lighting, motors and appliances.

The Work Environment

The work environment for an electrical inspector is usually less physically demanding than for an electrician. They may have to climb ladders and fit into tight spaces, though. Inspectors usually work regular hours, most often 40 hours per week. Electrical inspectors may work for local government agencies, engineering or construction companies, electrical contracting companies, or for themselves as self-employed inspectors or small business owners.

Training and Licensing for Electrical Inspectors

Most states and even local areas and cities require that electrical inspectors be licensed. The requirements generally include being a licensed or journeyman electrician with some minimum number of hours of experience on the job already. This is a career that many electricians turn to after years on the job, because it provides more regular work hours and is less physically difficult and often safer.

The International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) offers a certification program that includes two levels: residential and master certified electrical inspector. Both options require that you have already become a licensed electrician, either through an apprenticeship or some combination of education and on-the-job training. To be certified
as a master you need to have at least 8,000 hours as an electrician or 4,000 hours of experience as an inspector. Certification through the IAEI may or may not be required depending on where you want to work in electrical inspection.

Salary and Outlook for Jobs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers for all types of building and construction inspectors are growing. You can expect to have good job security, as these professionals are needed for new construction and existing buildings. Ensuring that wiring and electrical usage is safe is always going to be needed.

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You can also expect to earn a good living in this career. The median salary for building inspectors in 2017 was $59,090, and the top earners in the field were making more than $95,000 per year. Electrical inspectors may command a greater salary than other inspectors, because they have more specialized knowledge and skills.

A career as an electrical inspector is one that will ensure your skills will continue to be in demand for years to come. This is a great job for anyone looking to start out as an electrician and transition to inspection work after a few years of on-the-job experience.

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