Field of Study: Construction Inspection
Programs in construction inspection prepare people to plan, direct, and monitor the completion of construction projects. Students learn how to inspect each phase of construction. They study building codes and laws. They also learn to maintain and repair buildings.
Imagine if you were building a house, and a bunch of carpenters attempted to put up a roof before you finished putting up the walls. It seems unlikely, doesn't it? After all, everybody knows you can't put up a roof without walls on which to prop it, right?
This may be so, but there are plenty of other details that carpenters and other construction workers can overlook when building a house or any other structure. As is the case with any other large-scale project, construction can be complicated. Because of this, it requires a lot of planning and supervision. From the creation of plans to the ordering of materials to the development of a work force, construction managers oversee the building process.
As a construction inspector, you have to be able to understand the details of contracts and building plans. You have to know how to manage a construction assignment following the requirements of both your clients and building codes and regulations. In order to do these things, you learn project planning and management skills. You also learn to work and communicate effectively with all sorts of people, including the workers you manage and your clients.
Now, if you think that construction inspectors get to sit around and give orders, think again. People in these programs of study need to know as much about construction, if not more, as the people who are actually putting up the buildings. You need to learn not just about innovative techniques such as building in an environmentally friendly way; you also learn about construction and labor law and business management. As an inspector, you also need to learn codes and regulations, contract specifications, recordkeeping, and reporting practices.
About 117 colleges and universities offer four-year bachelor's degree programs in construction management, which is also sometimes known as construction technology management. About 20 of these schools also offer master's degree programs, which take one to two years to complete after a bachelor's degree.
A handful of two-year colleges offer one- and two-year certificate and associate degree programs that provide adequate training in cost estimating and inspection. However, many jobs require at least a bachelor's degree.