What does a plumbing inspector do?
Plumbing inspectors examine plumbing systems and appliances on new and existing construction projects to ensure they are installed safely, legally, and properly. They inspect piping systems to check the chemical processes for industrial uses, the health and safety of the drinking water system, and the sanitary waste disposal. They typically complete at least three inspections including the layout of the piping, setting of fixtures, backflow protection, and venting. Plumbing inspectors also examine lines, faucets, fixtures, and traps. They write reports on their findings and present them to builders. Some plumbing inspectors specialize in residential or commercial plumbing and others perform inspections of both types.
What kind of training does a plumbing inspector need?
Plumbing inspectors must have at least a high school diploma and a thorough knowledge of plumbing systems. Many aspiring plumbing inspectors complete formal apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction and on the job training. Many plumbing inspectors begin their careers as plumbers and advance to inspector positions as they acquire the necessary skills and experience. Most employers provide on the job training to enable new inspectors to learn the necessary policies, procedures, and building codes and standards. Some states require plumbing inspectors to be licensed. Requirements vary, but often include minimum education, previous experience, and passing a written examination. Some states require certification by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. Plumbing inspectors must complete regular continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast with advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a plumbing inspector?
Employment of plumbing inspectors is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 17% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased concern for safe and high quality construction will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be good especially for plumbing instructors with advanced training and extensive experience. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace plumbing inspectors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do plumbing inspectors make?
As of February 2010, the average annual salary for plumbing inspectors is $45,000; average annual plumbing inspector salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a plumbing inspector is a great choice with a strong interest in construction and inspecting a variety of plumbing systems. Plumbing inspectors must have a solid understanding of many different types of plumbing systems and the necessary inspection procedures. Technical knowledge, physical stamina, manual dexterity, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Plumbing inspectors must have good communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of other construction professionals.