Can a Felon Become a Home Inspector?

There are resources available for recently-released felons as many employers have found that felons make good employees even though they may have to learn new skills or start a different career. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a home inspector.

  • What Is a Home Inspector?
  • What Education/Training Does a Home Inspector Need?
  • How Much Does a Home Inspector Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action

What Is a Home Inspector?

A person licensed as a home inspector is responsible for performing a visual inspection of the accessible systems of a home and reporting on the general condition of those components at the time of the inspection.

These include:

  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Exterior
  • Heating system
  • Air-conditioning system
  • Structure
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical system

The inspection must include looking for fire and safety hazards as defined by the state’s inspection board. A home inspector is similar to a real-estate appraiser. A home inspector determines the condition of a structure, while an appraiser determines the value of a property.

Many essential skills are required to be successful as a home inspector, including:

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills to convey information to individuals
  • Listening to others
  • Presenting information
  • Time management
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Knowledge of building structures
  • Knowledge of their state’s home inspection regulations
  • Knowledge of math and mechanical principles

What Education/Training Does a Home Inspector Need?

The minimum education requirement to become a home inspector is a high school diploma or a GED, though many home inspectors have some college education. Currently, 35 states require a home inspector to become certified or licensed by passing an exam through the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors. Entry into this field requires knowledge of electrical systems, building codes, and testing equipment

Companies do tend to seek candidates who have an engineering background, or who have acquired certificates or degrees in building-inspection technology or home inspection. These programs may be offered in community colleges.

An associate degree program’s curriculum would cover topics such as:

  • Mechanical inspection
  • Plumbing codes
  • Field inspection
  • Concrete and soil technology
  • Wood-frame construction
  • Steel-construction principles

How Much Does a Home Inspector Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 105,000 home and building inspectors in the United States. The median annual wage for home inspectors was $58,480 in 2016. The median salary is the salary at which half of the home inspectors earned more than that amount and half earned less.

This occupation is expected to show an 8% growth by 2026.  Their earnings will depend on factors such as amount of experience and region of the country. A home inspector working on the East or West coast tends to have a higher income than in other regions of the country.

An Opportunity for Felons?

While the requirements for felons to become a home inspector differ somewhat depending on the state, typically, there are several important regulations that are the same across the board. These will be considered as to whether a crime relates the occupation of a home inspector.

These criteria include:

  • Nature and seriousness of the crime
  • Relationship of the crime to the purposes of home inspections
  • Extent to which a home inspection license might offer for further criminal activity
  • Relationship of the crime to the duties and responsibilities of a licensed home inspector
  • Extent and nature of past criminal activity
  • Age when the felony was committed
  • Amount of time since last criminal activity
  • Amount of time since release from prison
  • Conduct and work history before and after the conviction
  • Evidence of rehabilitation
  • Other evidence of fitness, including letters of recommendation from law enforcement officials and employers.

It’s important to be honest when applying for a job as a home inspector. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as a home inspector it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a home inspector. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to become a home inspector. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding in this career path.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a home inspector with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.


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