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How to Become A Home Inspector in California – Your Complete 2023 Guide

Last updated on August 22, 2023

How to Become A Home Inspector in California

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So you want to become a home inspector in California…

Good news!

You don’t need any license to be one. 

Does that mean you can start working or open a home inspection business immediately? 


Should you? 

Probably not.

You can’t expect to have homebuyers or companies rushing to you for help in home inspection. 


You have to prove your worth. 

And that is what we’re going to show you how to do here. 

We’re going to show you how to become a home inspector in California the RIGHT way. 

So are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

How to Become A Home Inspector in California – The 4 Steps

No, there are no requirements to become a home inspector in the state. 

But if you want to be a home inspector that stands out (and have people look to you), you need to complete these 4 steps: 

  1. Know the requirements in California
  2. Get good education
  3. Take the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE)
  4. Join the workforce

Let’s go through the steps one by one.

Step #1: Know the Requirements in California

Didn’t you just say there were no requirements?!?!

Yes, yes.

Don’t worry — there’s none. 

However, the State of California makes it a law that all home inspectors must abide by the Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics

These are offered by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA).

So make sure to study these practices and ethics (and obey them) and you’ll be staying within the law. 

Step #2: Get Good Education

To become the best home inspector, you’ll need more than just the Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics. 

You’ll need all the knowledge you can get. 

Thankfully, there’s no lack of home inspection schools in California. 

Here are some that you can consider:

  • Inspection Certification Associates. Although they don’t offer live classes in California, you can still undergo their online home inspection program. These are instructor-led. So if you think a self-paced course won’t work for you, it’s a good alternative.
  • ATI Training. Here’s another school that offers instructor-led courses. If you’re still working a typical nine-to-five, you can take your classes at night or during weekends. This allows you to work around your schedule.

Remember, these aren’t your only options.

If none suit your preferences, feel free to research other providers.

Also, since this isn’t really a requirement — no need to worry if the provider is approved or not. Just make sure it gives you all the knowledge about home inspecting in California. 

Step #3: Take the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE)

Do you want to add credibility to your name?

Then you must take and pass the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE).

Just a heads up…

The NHIE is a lengthy exam. 

You’ll have to answer 200 questions in 4 hours. 

The scoring can range from 200 to 800 points (you need at least 500 to pass).

You can read more about the exam here. 

Moreover, the exam is a bit costly. 

You’ll have to be willing to stash out $225. 

But it’s worth it if you want to advance your career. 

So you want to take the NHIE?

In California, this exam is administered by PSI.

You can register and schedule for it here

Extra Tip! 
If you want to join home inspector organizations like the ASHI, AII, and CREIA, passing the NHIE exam is required.  

It’s crucial to note that joining CREIA means complying with additional requirements (check out the FAQ section for more details!).

Step #4: Join the Workforce

Now that you have everything in order — it’s time to begin your home inspection career!

You can start by looking for employment at a home inspection company or organization in California. 

This is an excellent way to gain a LOT of experience.

You can also get familiar with the real estate market and build your network.

As you work as a home inspector, you can even obtain additional certifications (if you want to advance your career even further).

Here are some certifications to consider:

In the future, you can even go into business for yourself. 

Yes, you can put up your own home inspection company!

It’s a solid strategy if you’ve established connections with real estate agents and brokers. 

And have great certifications under your name. 

Of course, you must make sure your business complies with any state laws and regulations. 

And that is how to become a home inspector in California. 

Pretty easy, right? 

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Inspectors in California

How Much Do Home Inspectors Earn in California?

ZipRecruiter puts the average annual salary of home inspectors in California at $59,257 (as of August 2023). That makes the average hourly pay $28.50 an hour. 

However, several factors affect this, such as your education and certification (if any), your skills, your experience, etc…

Location is another element. 

For example, the average salary in Berkeley is $72,879, while it’s only $67274 in Bakersfield.

Do You Need to Take Home Inspector Continuing Education in California?

No. Since you don’t need a home inspector license in California, earning Continuing Education (CE) credits isn’t required (except if you’re a member of CREIA). 

That said, it’s highly encouraged to take CE. 

This is because it’s an excellent way to update yourself with new strategies and techniques. 

Continuously developing your home inspection knowledge can help you stay ahead of the competition and help you provide the best possible service to your clients.

What Are the Additional Requirements for Home Inspectors Who Want to Join CREIA?

CREIA is an industry-standard.

So although California doesn’t have a lot of requirements, it does. 

Besides passing the NHIE, other prerequisites include the following:

  • Passing the CREIA SOP (Ethics) exam
  • 60 hours of Continuing Education Credits (20 must be from CREIA-sponsored events)
  • Passing two ride-along with a CREIA-certified trainer or master inspector
  • Completing a CREIA group inspection
  • Submitting ten home inspection reports

What Are the Duties of a Home Inspector?

A house is one of the most significant purchases people make. 

So it’s no wonder most buyers ask for a home inspection. 

And that’s where you’ll come in.

Your job is to produce a report that details defects in different areas of a house.

That’s from the roof to the basement to the exterior to the heating and cooling systems (this is why a background in construction is a plus). 


So that was your complete guide on how to become a home inspector in California. 

As we saw, becoming a home inspector in the state is SUPER easy. 

You don’t need to follow a strict list of requirements. 

However, you must complete some steps to become a credible home inspector. 

And we’ve listed those steps for you here. 

Not just that, we’ve detailed each step — so you know what to expect. 

So what are you waiting for?

Go ahead and start with Step 1.

Best of luck!

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