Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

What will I do on the job?

student working on a model

The associate’s degree, ICC certification and State certification qualify you to work as:

  • a commercial building/mechanical inspector
  • commercial plans examiner
  • residential building/mechanical inspector
  • residential plans examiner.

A one-year Certificate, construction experience, ICC certification and State certification qualify you to work as:

  • a commercial building/mechanical inspector or
  • residential building/mechanical inspector and residential plans examiner

Plans examiners review new and remodel construction drawings submitted for building code compliance before a permit can be issued. Building inspectors check building construction for compliance to the permitted plans and applicable codes and standards. As an inspector and/or plans examiner you will:

  • identify, interpret and administer state and local codes
  • effectively communicate and interact with the public and design professionals
  • conduct plan reviews and inspections to protect the safety of the public

What skills will I use on the job?

Excellent "people skills" are needed to work with the public on a daily basis. Reading and writing skills are used for inspection, research and plan review. Knowledge of construction materials, structural concepts, and good math skills are needed to understand, compute and review structural systems. Computer skills are required for both building inspectors and plans examiners. Courses focused on these skills are provided in all programs.

How much can I earn?

Starting annual salaries in the Portland area begin at approximately $42,000; those with inspection and/or plan review experience may earn $60,000 or more. Earnings depend on experience, number of certifications held, and individual jurisdiction salary ranges.

Who will hire me?

Employment opportunities exist in the Northwest and throughout the U.S. Most building inspectors and plans examiners work for city, county or state code agencies and other public agencies such as the Port Authority, Housing Authority and Federal Agencies. Others work for private inspections companies, construction companies or larger corporations with numerous buildings and different locations.