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How to Become a Home Inspector in California

Olivia Oksenhorn 2/27/23 12:00 PM

Are you interested in becoming a home inspector in California? If so, you're not alone. Home inspection offers excellent job opportunities for those with the right skills and training.

The home inspection industry in California is unregulated, so you could technically become a home inspector in a few days, with no training or licensure. However, training and certification will give you credibility and ensure you know what you're doing on the job. In this article, we'll go over the steps we recommend you take to become a home inspector in California.

Related: How to Become a Home Inspector in the U.S.  

Check Prerequisites

The state of California doesn't have any prerequisites for becoming a home inspector. However, if you're joining a multi-inspector firm, they might require you to have a high school diploma/GED, and complete training. 

Complete a Training Program (Recommended)

Although it's not required, taking a training course will provide you with the skills you need to become a home inspector. 

Additionally, completing a training course and having a certification under your belt will give you credibility that your competitors might not have since it's not required in California. Employers (such as multi-inspector or enterprise-level firms), realtors, and clients alike will be more likely to trust and value your work if you have training under your belt. 

Pass the National Home Inspector Examination (Optional)

Why should you take an exam that's not required? Mostly, because it will give you credibility and help you establish trust as an expert home inspector. 

The National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) is a comprehensive test covering just about everything home inspection. There are three sections you'll have to prepare for:

  • Property and Building Inspection/Site Review
  • Analysis of Findings and Reporting
  • Professional Responsibilities

If you don't pass the test on your first try, there's no need to worry: you can retake the exam as many times as you need to get a passing score. However, you will have to pay the $225 exam fee for each attempt, and you're required to wait 30 days between tests. 

Obtain Liability Insurance

Mistakes happen, no matter how careful you are; that's why it's important to have liability insurance. Because California doesn't require it, you can customize your insurance to your needs. 

If you need a little help understanding insurance, check out our guide detailing what insurance coverage home inspectors need.

Start Inspecting

Becoming a home inspector in California is a great career choice for those who enjoy working with their hands, have a keen eye for detail, and enjoy working independently. By following the steps above, you'll be well on your way to starting a successful career in home inspection, but there are a few more steps to take before you start inspecting. 


Before you start inspecting homes, you'll need report-writing software. It's important to do a few practice inspections with your report writer so you're well-prepared for your first job. 

There are many software options on the market; the most important thing is finding the one that works best for you and your business. 

spectora free trial cta


If you're joining a multi-inspector company, you might not have to worry about marketing. But if you plan on starting your own business, you'll need to work on marketing. 

Marketing can seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of ways to market your home inspection business

Start with the basics. Make sure you have a good website, ask every client for Google reviews, and start connecting with realtors in person and on social media. 

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