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My son is headed for college this fall. He has helped me in the past on home inspections and feels like it may be a career he may like, but wants to try college first. I got into this biz about 10 years ago and feel it is going to change substantially in the next 5-10 years. Us "old geezers" may not be able to keep up. I think it is going to become much more technical, much more like an engineering field as it should. I want to advise him on what sort of courses to take. Consruction? Engineering? If you could go back and do it all again, what would you study?

Personally, I have a wildlife biology degree. Home inspection was learned "by the seat of my pants" with a little help from my wallet. I am feeling those days are over (and should be).

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Engineering would be nice for linear thinking & problem solving, but it has very little application performing home inspections. Helpful, but not really that much.

Building science would have much more application, as the principles learned could be applied across the field.

Personally, I still think OJT & mentoring, w/regular classwork & study, is the best training for this strange thing that we do.

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"Home inspection was learned 'by the seat of my pants'..."

And so it was for all senior inspectors. These are the mentors to seek to share their knowledge that was gained through trial and error. I wouldn't think there would be any courses offered in the near future that would compare to the training you could get from these pioneers.

"If you could go back and do it all again, what would you study?"

Nothing different, except I would start college after a few years of work experience.

My son says he wants to be a home inspector. My wife is wondering where we went wrong.

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I don't know, Mark... I've got a very respected Structural/Geological engineer friend and I don't think he makes any more money for the effort than we do. If you're charging properly and keep your complaints low, this is an absolutely remarkable and consistantly profitable profession. It comes hard earned, but the great reward comes in many fashions. I've never been happier or felt more fulfilled in my entire career. I'll be doing this until I can't walk or I've lost too many marbles!

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Fritz,

I would suggest two classes; Writing - every class I could get my hands on. The second would be Spanish, not just conversational but a real course of study.

If you can think - I can teach you how to be an inspector. If you can write and communicate - I can almost guarantee your success.

I recommend spanish because of the required thought process, not to cater to Hispanic community.

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Look into becoming a registered Architect. Residential houses you can charge amazing fees, be 100% wrong all the time and not be held accountable. It's a great gig. There's a title block on nearly every print I see. "XYZ Architects assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of this print."

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I received a BBA in Industrial Management in 1964. I'm not recommending the degree, but I have long maintained the most useful course in that degree program was Business Letter Writing. I'll second the nod toward writing courses.

Texas A&M has a Building Construction department that produces some useful courses. That Department has been the source of some good continuing education courses approved for inspectors in Texas.

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His declared major at this point is business management. I guess thats a good start. I have never taken any college construction courses and don't know if they are worthwhile. I have to say, kids these days aren't like we were. I was always building something, treehouses, whatever. You learn more than you realize messing with wood, cars, tools, motorcycles, taking apart anything you can get your hands on. Kids these days don't seem interrested in finding out how things work.

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Originally posted by homnspector

My son is headed for college this fall. . .

Tell him to study girls.

And partying.

Tell him to learn to dance

And try out for a play

Take a semester off to study Aikido – in Japan

Learn how to paint & sketch

Get his scuba certificate

Go spelunking

Have an affair with an older woman

Learn to cook

Ride a unicycle

Spend one night in jail in Mississippi

Get his pilot license

Learn to play a musical instrument

Fall in love

Read literature - real literature.

If I were 18 again, I wouldn't be studying friggin' home inspection stuff. He'll have plenty of time for that later.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Curiously enough, I had a long discussion with my general manager this morning about this exact thing. His kid is starting 2nd year and working at our plant for the summer.

I'm probably a bit younger than some of you, but what I'm seeing post graduation is that a business degree appears absolutely worthless. Sure, you might get hired on at an entry level position and find a way to work your ass off and up to middle management in 7-10 years, defaulting on your school loans all along the way. Or you can wait tables or bartend. I know no less than 10 people w/ MBAs doing that presently.

The upper level positions are a white buffalo and usually filled by a guy in the same position from another company. And as we all know, the real world seems to operate on much different principles than the University.

Same goes with Building Construction. If he wants to make the best use of a course like that, get on at a jobsite while in school. Things make much more sense.

There seems to be a huge movement in environmental testing and air quality. Migh be a good niche to specialize in.

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Originally posted by jseddy

I'm probably a bit younger than some of you, but what I'm seeing post graduation is that a business degree appears absolutely worthless. Sure, you might get hired on at an entry level position and find a way to work your ass off and up to middle management in 7-10 years, defaulting on your school loans all along the way. Or you can wait tables or bartend. I know no less than 10 people w/ MBAs doing that presently.

I agree. My BBA degree helped me get a job, but the only useful course was Business Letter Writing. I did learn something useful there.

The one intangible thing college does for you, if your lucky, is teach you to think. I matured a lot in college and learned about life.

All the things Katen mentioned are useful too.[:-wiltel]

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Hi,

Some of what Jim says makes sense. Why stick a young person in an environment where he'll come away in debt up to his/her eyeballs in student loans to pay off and won't have any real work experience to speak of?

My favorite school on the planet is Central Queensland University in Australia because they've actually got two degree-earning programs for home inspectors that are completely distance learning, so an inspector can be working in the field while taking the courses part-time.

One is the Bachelor of Building Surveying. This is a 6-year course and students who complete the course are qualified as Building Surveyors - a profession that is sort of halfway between home inspectors and professional engineers in the UK and Australia.

http://handbook.cqu.edu.au/Handbook/pro ... &code=CA33

The other is their Associate Degree of Building Surveying (This used to be called the Advanced Diploma of Building Inspection). This is a 4-year course and students who complete it are qualified to work as private or municipal home or building inspectors.

http://handbook.cqu.edu.au/Handbook/pro ... &code=CA34

Both courses seem to be well thought out. What's missing though are the courses critical to running one's own company. Most American home inspectors are self-employed, so to emulate these courses one would also want to add such topics as:

  • The fundamentals of running a business (or the equiv.)
  • Basic bookkeeping and taxes
  • Time Management
  • One or two creative writing courses
  • Other basic business management courses as necessary
The same courses are offered by other Australian schools as residence courses that are completed in 4 years or 2 years. Wish they'd had those when I was 19. It was my dream back them to go to Australia and I never got around to it. If I'd known about these way back when I might have followed through.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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This is another interesting one. I've always felt that an understanding of Building Science is far more valuable to a home inspector than almost anything else. I really don't understand why other countries teach Building Science in undergraduate courses and seem to understand the need for it and we here in the U.S. teach it almost exclusively in a post-graduate environment. Makes no sense to me.

http://www.bcit.ca/study/programs/591cdiplt

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Tell him to study girls.

And partying.

Tell him to learn to dance

And try out for a play

Take a semester off to study Aikido – in Japan

Learn how to paint & sketch

Get his scuba certificate

Go spelunking

Have an affair with an older woman

Learn to cook

Ride a unicycle

Spend one night in jail in Mississippi

Get his pilot license

Learn to play a musical instrument

Fall in love

Read literature - real literature.

You're such a romantic. [:-hspin]

There's certainly some truth in that too. The time for such things is all too short to start with, and personally I'd rather see one of my kids do it at 18 than 28, 38, or 48.

I'd also add a few more creative items to the list.

Learn to play one musical instrument

Do at least one painting

Come up with one invention (silly or serious)

Add one left-brain item.

Use nothing but a motorcycle for transportation for one full year.

I'd trade the unicycle for a kayak.

If I were actually gonna study I'd probably go for the structural first, only because I can already write, and then get some building science.

Brian G.

Ah Youth...A Blessing and a Curse [;)]

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Originally posted by jseddy

Look into becoming a registered Architect. Residential houses you can charge amazing fees, be 100% wrong all the time and not be held accountable. It's a great gig. There's a title block on nearly every print I see. "XYZ Architects assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of this print."

It takes five years of school and a three year internship to become NCARB Certified. There are a lot of other careers that you can do with less education and training, and make a lot more money. You have to really want to be an architect. My first job after five years of architecture school paid me $11/Hr. After your three year internship you have to take and pass a 17 part exam that takes about four days to get your license.

On the other hand, nothing beats the feeling of designing a building for someone and getting the satisfaction of seeing your ideas built. It feels even better when your clients tells you they are happy with your work.

As far as not being responsible for your architecture work, please let me know where this occurs. My insurance premiums are high and everyone around here expects everything to be perfect or wants you to pay for your mistakes.

The disclaimers are meaningless unless someone deviates from your drawings.

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Hi Steven,

Don't take it personal, it's just that home inspector folklore mill churning stuff out at its usual pace.

$11. an hour? Wow, that's a huge difference from the $100 an hour the home inspection correspondence courses tell folks they can make in this business with part-time work to earn full-time pay! [:-bigmout

Homenspector,

The College of San Mateo has a certificate course for home/building inspectors. Students who complete the course, plus complete their general education requirements, can earn an Associate Degree. Have your son check it out. It's only one state over but it's not close enough that you'll want to visit every weekend and make him feel like he's got kooties. Doug Hansen used to teach the electrical portion of that course. If he still does, your son will be learning from the best.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Steven,

Don't take it personal, it's just that home inspector folklore mill churning stuff out at its usual pace.

$11. an hour? Wow, that's a huge difference from the $100 an hour the home inspection correspondence courses tell folks they can make in this business with part-time work to earn full-time pay! [:-bigmout

...

Nothing taken personal-thanks for the encouragement. Many people have no idea about what it takes to become an architect. I try to pipe in when I see the opportunity. For the first five years of practicing architecture I was lucky to have a home inspection business or I could not have afforded to live.

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