How to Become a Mechanical Inspector

Mechanical inspection is an important part of the construction field that involves the examination of many different systems to ensure they are properly installed and functioning efficiently. Mechanical inspectors are trained workers that inspect a variety of systems.


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What does a mechanical inspector do?

Mechanical inspectors examine the installation of many different residential and commercial systems such as heating, air-conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration systems. They also inspect plumbing and electrical systems and appliances, boilers, and commercial kitchen equipment. They make sure the systems are running properly and meeting the necessary safety standards. To determine the quality of systems, they often run a variety of tests using specialized tools and computer coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). Mechanical inspectors also analyze a variety of problems and examine code violation reports.

What kind of training does a mechanical inspector need?

Mechanical inspectors must have at least a high school diploma, but many employers prefer candidates with an associate or bachelor degree in engineering or architecture and related work experience. Prospective mechanical inspectors typically complete courses in general construction, HVAC technology, computer science, blueprint reading, and exhaust, duct, and fuel supply systems. Most employers provide on the job training to enable new mechanical inspectors to learn the necessary procedures and building codes. Many states require mechanical inspectors to be licensed. Requirements vary, but typically include minimum education and experience and passing a written examination. Some mechanical inspectors gain professional certification from the American Society for Quality such as the Residential Mechanical Inspectors or Commercial Mechanical Inspector designations. Mechanical inspectors must typically complete 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 mechanical inspector?

Employment of mechanical inspectors is projects to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 17% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased concern for public safety and good quality construction will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for mechanical inspectors with advanced training and extensive experience. Some job openings will result from the need to replace mechanical inspectors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do mechanical inspectors make?

As of February 2010, the average annual salary for mechanical inspectors is $44,000; average annual mechanical inspector salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a mechanical inspector is a great choice for people with a strong interest in construction and the inspection of a variety of systems. Mechanical inspectors must have a solid understanding of a variety of systems and building codes. Detail orientation, physical stamina, constant alertness, mechanical aptitude, critical thinking, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Mechanical inspectors must be able to read and analyze a variety of blueprints and manuals. They must also always follow the required safety precautions to minimize injury and hazards.

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