How Do I Become a Plans Examiner?

Jennifer Leigh

A person interested in planning, designing, and managing the construction of buildings and other structures should become a plans examiner. This position, in the field of civil engineering, requires an individual with a mathematics-oriented mind and the attention to detail needed to carefully check codes to enforce regulations. Education in the area of civil engineering is required to become a plans examiner as well as real-world experience working in the field. If you are an individual with critical thinking skills who is interested in the field of civil engineering, this could be the right career for you.

A plans examiner should have an understanding of mathematics to properly analyze building plans.
A plans examiner should have an understanding of mathematics to properly analyze building plans.

It is necessary to have an understanding of advanced mathematics, as you will be reading and inspecting complicated building plans to ensure that they will create safe structures. Many people in the community will rely upon your expertise in the subject for their day-to-day safety, including in buildings and on structures such as bridges. Small errors in calculations can lead to weak structures that will become damaged, or collapse and cause accidents, so attention to detail is necessary to succeed in the field.

Experience in construction may be useful to someone desiring to become a plans examiner.
Experience in construction may be useful to someone desiring to become a plans examiner.

At least a bachelor's degree in civil engineering is needed to become a plans examiner, though many organizations prefer to hire individuals with a master's degree. Some places will hire an individual with a high school diploma and years of experience in the construction and building fields, so this is an option if you do not want to attend college. Having a degree provides an edge when going up against other applicants for positions, so it recommended that you pursue this path if possible. During school, consider taking an internship working in the field to further your efforts to become a plans examiner and to gain experience on-the-job.

Experience working professionally in the field is also highly valued and deemed important to become a plans examiner, as much information utilized on a daily basis is learned while on the job. You can begin working in civil engineering at an entry-level position, which will provide you with training on reading blueprints and understanding the building processes and regulations. It is generally required that you have at least two years of experience, along with an undergraduate degree, to become a plans examiner. If you do not have a degree in civil engineering, you will need five to six years of experience in the construction field to be hired for the position.

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