how to become a Florida home inspector

How To Become a Florida Home Inspector – Florida Home Inspection License Requirements

Becoming a home Inspector in Florida is not a difficult process as it only requires a few straightforward steps. With a bit of education and training, becoming a home inspector in Florida can be done in as little as a couple of months! This article will cover everything you need to know on how to become a Florida home inspector, including the best tips for success.


Steps to Become a Florida Home Inspector


  1. Be sure you meet the requirements
  2. Take the necessary coursework
  3. Pass the state exam
  4. Obtain liability insurance
  5. Submit your application to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation
  6. Find a mentor or sponsoring team
  7. Stay Involved


Full Guide To Become A Home Inspector in Florida


Step One: Be Sure You Meet the Requirements

Luckily, Florida does not require any extensive requirements to become a home inspector. All you will need is a high school degree or GED equivalent. Otherwise, Florida is lenient in considering those with criminal background cases and other questionable factors.

As such, there are different processes for becoming a licensed home inspector based on your unique background. All under the umbrella of home inspection licensing, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has different requirements for (1):

  • Initial Active Licenses by Examination (we focus in this because most fall under this category)
  • Initial Inactive License by Examination
  • Initial Active License for Out-of-State Applicants
  • Initial Inactive License for Out-of-State Applicants
  • Initial License by Endorsement with 10 Years of Experience
  • Professional Licensure for Military Personnel, Veterans, or Military Spouses

It’s important that you read through each of these to determine which processes are best for your needs. Because the state recognizes that people are coming from different backgrounds, they’ve provided different methods to complete the application, most notably those choosing the education or endorsement route.

For the sake of this guide, we will focus on achieving an active license via education requirements (Initial Active License by Examination), as this is what most people require.

Step Two: Complete State-Required Coursework

ica review Inspection Certification Associates

Once you’ve met the basic requirements to become a home inspector, it’s time to complete the state-mandated training. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation requires that students complete 120 hours of coursework and training before becoming licensed.

There are many licensed schools to choose from. Each school will offer unique benefits like alumni networks and post-licensing continuing education courses. Popular Florida schools include:

Some of which offer multiple options for students, including online and live in-person courses. For example, Inspection Certification Associates (ICA) is a popular option for online training and offers extensive benefits for alumni.

Some institutions that also provide certification opportunities include:

You might also choose to get your training from a Florida Institution of Higher Education. All of the following schools offer home inspector training courses.

  • New College Of Florida – Sarasota
  • University of Central Florida
  • Broward Community College – Fort Lauderdale

The total cost for becoming licensed as an inspector in Florida will vary depending on what type of work someone is going into and which educational program they choose. In general, expect to pay between $250 to more than $700 for well-established schools.

At ICA school, the prices begin at $695 for an entire 120-hour online course and scales up to $895 for the 120-hour course plus wind mitigation and four-point inspection course add-ons.


OUR TOP PICK FOR HOME INSPECTION TRAINING

(Disclosure: We are affiliate partners of ICA. This means, at no cost to you, we may earn a commission if you sign up for their course through our link.)


Step Three: Taking the State Exam

how to become a Florida home inspector

The Florida Building Inspector exam is a state-specific test. It covers all the information that would be necessary for someone to properly inspect residential or commercial buildings in the State of Florida. The Florida Building Inspector exam may cover the following broad topics:

  • The principles and practices of building inspection, including safety systems in residential buildings.
  • Materials used for construction or repair work with special emphasis on how they affect occupancy and sustainability of a structure.
  • Latest building codes

More specifically, the exam will last for two hours with 100 multiple choice questions and is divided into six sections: Florida standards, report writing, inspecting a home, contracts, roofing, structure, interiors and exteriors, plumbing and gas, electrical, and air conditioning and heating.

Regardless of where you choose to study, you will need at least a 70% to pass, so if the exam is 100 questions, you will need to answer 70 correctly (2). Also, the price will vary at the time of the exam, typically ranging between $100-$200.

Departments approved for home inspection examinations can be found on Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Those currently approved include (3):

Step Four: Obtain Insurance

insurance

As a home inspector, things can and will be missed that can result in costly repercussions. As such, it’s not unusual for home inspectors to be sued during their time serving. Because of the risk, this is an important step when arranging to become a Florida home inspector.

The state of Florida requires that applicants have $300,000 in general liability insurance. This is often known as Errors, and Omissions insurance, or E & O insurance in the real estate world. Though an additional cost, Errors and Omissions Insurance can protect all parties, specifically the home inspector themselves, if an error is made.

You’ll want to shop around for the best price, just as you do normal insurance policies. InterNACHI offers a webpage for quotes, though you will need to be a member first (4).

Step Five: Submitting an Application for Licensure

application

Your application for a home inspector license in Florida can either be submitted via an online portal or via a printed application, which can be found online at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation website.

As part of the application process, you will need to submit background information, fingerprints and pay a fee. This process typically takes about two weeks for a decision once all necessary paperwork has been filed.

The application is industry-standard with all necessary information being asked, including your name, mailing address, contact information, and disclosing any licenses you already possess. You will also need to share your background, and this means disclosing any criminal past, including whether you’re still on probation and what the crimes were (5).

There is no firm policy against those with criminal backgrounds practicing as home inspectors in Florida, but it will still be considered holistically with your application. The application will also include your examination results, certificate of course completion, fingerprints, proof of insurance, and payment.

According to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, there are exam fee waivers available for select groups, including:

  • Florida Military Veterans
  • Florida National Guard
  • Military Personnel, Veterans, and Military Spouses
  • Low-Income

If you are already licensed in another state, you may be able to circumvent some of the Florida state requirements during the application process. This is known as licensure by endorsement. Though, it will require a different application process than the traditional home inspection one.

This guide focuses on becoming a home inspector without previous experience. However, if you require a Florida home inspector license and already hold one in another state, be sure to check the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s application center for more information.

Step Six: Finding a Mentor or Representing Firm

Finding an experienced home inspecting firm to guide you in the field and/or an apprenticeship program could be helpful and is generally recommended. While you can be a self-employed home inspector, joining a team is a great introductory way to learn new skills and become accustomed to job demands.

FABI offers a job page where Florida inspector firms can post vacant positions. At the time of writing this, many reputable brands are looking for great inspectors, including HomeTeam Inspection Service of SW Florida, BPG Inspections, and Honor Services.

Each has a unique set of requirements and benefits, so be sure to spend time researching what you’re looking for in a company (6).

Step Seven: Getting Involved

In order to continue developing your craft, you must stay involved in the inspector community. There are great Florida organizations that offer membership with great benefits to stay informed, and there are frequent conferences.

Similar to many other professions, home inspecting is not something you learn once and never brush up on again. Home inspection is a constantly evolving career path, and there are always new things to learn and new ways to improve. Being a part of an organization is a built-in way to stay up-to-date on everything happening!

FABI, the Florida Association of Building Inspectors, and InterNACHI are great organizations to join with membership benefits like joining a database for easily searchable inspectors, exclusive discounts, and more (7).

This step is not mandatory, but it will elevate your career and make you a better all-around professional.


Florida Home Inspector FAQ


How much does a home inspector make in Florida?

The amount of money you make as a home inspector will depend on how many projects you are able to obtain. Your salary will also depend on whether you’re an independent contractor or if you’re working with a firm that may charge an overhead fee.

In general, the median salary for a home inspector in Florida is $47,000, and the best home inspectors will make $60,000 or more annually. The median salary for a home inspector in Florida is $47,000. The average annual income in Florida is $21,430, which makes home inspections a great career path.

In fact, many people become Florida home inspectors because of the promise of good introductory pay and ways to work upward.

How many years of experience do I need to become an experienced Home Inspector?

Everyone will have the same entry path into home inspection regardless of their previous experience unless they hold an active license in another state. Even if another candidate has a real estate or home background, they will still need to take the same required coursework and exams to become a home inspector as someone with zero experience.

When it comes to how long it will take to become a licensed home inspector, the process can be completed in less than a year. The bulk amount of time will be spent on your coursework, and from there, you will want to succinctly arrange for your application to be submitted, including background check details.

There are few other inspection tiers in Florida that require different timelines. These include:

Inspection Technician Associate (ITA) – One to two years’ experience and one intermediate level training certificate or examination pass.

Certified Residential Building Infrastructure Inspector (CRBI) – Four years’ combined professional inspection work experience and successful completion of all applicable exams/certification requirements.

How hard is the Florida home inspector exam?

The Florida home inspector exam is not overly complicated or too difficult. With a quality education, paired with solo study sessions, there is a great chance you will pass on your first try!

How long does it take to become a licensed home inspector in Florida?

The time it takes to become a Florida home inspector depends on how many hours of training you have completed and whether or not you are a licensed home inspector in another state. If the pre-licensing coursework is treated like a full-time 40 hour work week, the courses could be completed in as little as three weeks.

Pairing the three weeks of education with the exam and application process, both of which can take a couple of weeks, you could become a home inspector in as little as 5-6 weeks!

From there, it may take more time to begin practicing successfully, though you will have all of the certifications to do so.

Are home inspectors in demand in Florida?

Yes, the need for home inspectors in Florida is steadily increasing. Because the state is growing in population and constantly building new developments and repurposing old ones, building inspectors are in demand as ever.

How many hours a week does a home inspector work in Florida?

The hours vary depending on the needs of the employer and how many inspections they work. On average, a Florida home inspector will work between 40 and 50 hours per week.

How much does it cost to start a home inspection business in Florida?

The cost of starting a home inspection business in Florida will depend on the equipment that you need, how many hours of training it takes to become licensed, and the level of certification you are seeking.

The average home inspection course in Florida costs $200-$800, and there will also be costs for your continuing education as required by state law. But starting a franchise can cost as much as $50,000! That’s because you will need additional insurance, business materials like logos and cards, as well as a business plan and more (8)!

Is there a shortage of home inspectors in Florida?

The need for home inspections in Florida is steadily increasing as many new homes are being built in Florida.

Florida is the third-most populous state, and homes are being built all over. The need for qualified home inspectors is steadily increasing, and Florida currently does not have enough.

There are currently about 900 home inspectors and over 200 apprentices in Florida, but for millions of residents, the demand is rising.


References:

(1) Florida DBPR Licensing Portal
(2) fabi.org
(3) Florida DBPR Home Inspector Examinations
(4) InterNACHI
(5) Florida DBPR Application
(6) FABI Home Inspector Jobs
(7) FABI and InterNACHI Parternership
(8) How To Starte An LLC (Home Inspection Business)