Degrees & Classes

Degrees & Classes

Residential Home Inspection

Residential Home Inspection Certificate

If you’d like a fast-track option to setting up your own professional home inspection business—or a career with a home inspection company—then you should consider this course.

As of September 1, 2009, Washington State requires all home inspectors in the state to be licensed. BTC’s Fundamentals of Home Inspection Course was the first to receive approval from the Department of Licensing. This intensive, full-time course combines classroom instruction with hands-on lab and inspection work, including training on the topic of identifying wood destroying organisms.

Home inspectors examine and report on a home’s systems and structure—from the roof to the substructure crawl space, basement or slab foundation. Typically, inspectors set up their own inspection business and work for real-estate purchasers or are hired by home inspection companies or firms specializing in architectural, engineering, and related services.

If you enjoy the challenge of working with homes of all ages, sizes, and conditions, this is the program for you!

This four-week course is offered several times during the year.

Program Facts

Wage potential $74,422

Average annual wage $65,851

Employment and wage data sources

Jobs & Employment

As the population grows and the volume of real estate transactions increases, greater emphasis on home inspections should result in strong demand for home inspectors. Most graduates of the RHI program go into business on their own but there should be job opportunities for inspectors in existing home inspection firms as well.

The average annual wage in this field is $65,851, with an earning potential of about $74,422 per year.*

*For details regarding BTC career wages and placement, visit

Potential Positions

Home inspectors examine and report on a home’s systems and structure—from the roof to the basement. Typically, inspectors work for real-estate purchasers and related service companies.

The majority of home inspectors are self employed and work on behalf of potential real estate purchasers.


Filter courses by quarter 
Use this tool to see this program's course offerings for upcoming quarters

  • Quarter 1
  • RHI 111Fundamentals of Home Inspection12 credits

    This course will teach students the fundamentals of residential home inspection. Students will receive classroom instruction in Washington State laws and rules; business practices; legal issues; communication; structural components; exteriors; roofing; plumbing; electrical systems; heating and cooling systems; interiors; insulation and ventilation; fireplaces, chimneys and solid fuel burning appliances; site and grading; attached garages and carports; wood destroying organisms, conducive conditions and pests; alternate construction methods; environmental conditions or hazardous materials; building codes; and product quality and safety issues. Students will gain the technical knowledge required to pursue a career in the field of home inspection. Fundamentals of Home Inspection will fulfill the education pre-licensing requirements of the state and will prepare students for a career in home inspection.

    Future Offerings
    2/2-2/23DAILY 8:00a-5:00pSMITH SOpenings: 12
    6/1-6/22DAILY 8:00a-5:00pSMITH SOpenings: 12
  • RHI 112Home Inspection Field Training3 credits

    This course will build on the information covered in the Fundamentals of Home Inspection course by providing an additional forty (40) hours of supervised field training. This field training will include supervised hands-on inspections at a minimum of five residences along with five completed student reports which are required to successfully meet Washington State standards. The report writing is in addition to the 40 hours of field training and will completed off-site and out of class time by students.

    RHI 111.

    Future Offerings
    9/26-10/3DAILY 8:00a-5:00pSMITH SOpenings: 4
    2/21-2/27DAILY 8:00a-5:00pSMITH SOpenings: 12
    6/19-6/26DAILY 8:00a-5:00pSMITH SOpenings: 12

Program Entry Information

Upcoming classes-- RHI 111 starts September 8, 2014 and RHI 112 starts September 26, 2014. This Program is offered on the BTC campus. For questions, contact lead Instructor Steve Smith at or 360-752-8796.

Pre-Program Course Requirements

  • A personal laptop with wifi capability is required for participants.
  • It is recommended that students have good basic academic skills.

Program Application/Forms

  • Students may enroll in this part-time program’s classes without program application or admission. Keyboard, typing and computer skills are necessary to complete program requirements.

Physical Requirements

  • Anyone interested in becoming a home inspector should be aware that it is a very “physical” job that requires some amount of dexterity and strength, as well as a willingness/ability to get in tight spaces such as crawl spaces and attics, within industry standards. Traversing roofs is expected of home inspectors when it is safe to do so and this sometimes requires moving cumbersome ladders around the home. Home inspectors must be able and willing to work in all kinds of weather conditions and be prepared to do so.

Program Outcomes

  • RHI 111: Students will be able to describe the systems and components found in homes and be prepared to carry out non invasive home inspections per WA State laws at residential properties while employing special training and education.
  • RHI 112: Students will complete five thorough home inspection reports that meets state standards.

Steven L. Smith - Instructor image

Steven L. Smith

Instructor Information

    • Biography

      Steve Smith has taught in the BTC Residential Home Inspection Program at Bellingham Technical College since 2005. He became lead instructor of the BTC RHI Program in 2006 and teaches the program courses with two other adjunct faculty. Steve is an industry professional and operates King of the House Home Inspection, performing home inspections primarily in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Steve has been involved with home inspector licensing in the state and was an original member of the Home Inspector Licensing Advisory Board which regulates home inspections in Washington State.

Charles Buell - Instructor image

Charles Buell

Instructor Information

    • Biography

      Charlie is a formally trained home inspector and began building with his father more than 50 years ago. He spent more than 30 years building and designing homes and other structures as a general contractor. He has designed and built a number of homes from the foundation up, with a primary focus on super insulated energy efficient homes---well before the current “green” movement. Today, Charlie is owner of Charles Buell Inspections Inc. and is a busy home inspector in one of the fastest growing real estate markets in America – Seattle and King County. Charlie is an endless resource and invaluable consultant to those colleagues, friends and former students who need detailed information on the intricacies of home inspection. He is presently a member of the Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Board.

Rick D. Pen - Instructor image

Rick D. Pen

Instructor Information

    • Biography

      Formally trained as a home inspector, Rick is owner of Dependable Home inspections in the Whatcom County, WA market. Prior to beginning a home inspection business, Rick spent several years as a professional remodeler. He has extensive experience with both new construction and older homes. A few years ago, Rick decided it was time to put his collected knowledge to work in the area of home inspection. Rick's past experience allowed him to quickly develop that “critical eye” that is so necessary in the home inspection business. Rick is an experienced, approachable and popular instructor.