How to Become a Zoning Inspector

How to Become a Zoning Inspector: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a zoning inspector, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a zoning inspector:


• You are interested in working for a municipal government department

• You enjoy analyzing information and preparing reports

• You are able to read, analyze, and interpret blueprints, maps, technical procedures, or governmental regulations

• You enjoy having clear rules and organized methods for work

• You are able to be diplomatic when dealing with property owners who may not agree with being your inspection reports  


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a zoning inspector. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Zoning Inspector

The educational requirements for becoming a zoning inspector may vary by municipality, although you are typically required to have at least an associate’s degree or a college diploma from a two-year college or technical school in building construction, urban planning, architecture or a related field.



Zoning Inspector Job Description

Zoning inspectors, also known as zoning officers, are responsible for interpreting and enforcing property zoning regulations and requirements on behalf of the municipal or regional planning, zoning, and land use departments.


They must ensure that new development and on-going land occupancy conforms to any applicable regulations regarding land use and zoning, drainage and storm water management, special flood hazard areas and nuisance abatement.



Zoning Inspector Job Duties

• Maintain accurate and complete zoning inspection reports

• Prepare zoning inspection report

• Prepare and process zoning violation letters

• Investigate and resolve citizen claims of possible zoning violations

• Review legal descriptions, land title documents and plot appropriate information on maps

• Perform photo research to gather information regarding correct legal description of property

• Write and issue permits in accordance with the zoning ordinances

• Determine land use compliance and legal accessibility and maintain accurate land use maps



Zoning Inspector Salary

The salary level of zoning inspectors can vary depending on their personal qualifications, their level of aptitude, and many other factors. Unfortunately, there is no reliable salary data available specifically for the career Zoning Inspector. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of closely related careers.


Zoning Inspector Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Construction Inspectors occupational group earn an average of between $30.42 and $41.04 per hour.


Zoning Inspector Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the By-law Enforcement and Other Regulatory Officers occupational group is $45,406 per year.


Zoning Inspector Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Construction and Building Inspectors occupational group is $53,450 per year.



Skills Needed to Become a Zoning Inspector

In order to become effective in a career as a zoning inspector, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and are likely listed ‘required skills’ or ‘assets’ on zoning inspector job postings.


• Working knowledge of standard surveying practice and note taking

• Able to read, analyze, and interpret blueprints, maps, technical procedures, or governmental regulations

• Able to write reports and business correspondence

• Able to present information effectively

• Able to respond to questions from groups, contractors and colleagues

• Able to work with mathematical concepts such as probability and statistical inference

• Able to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical solutions

• Vision abilities, including close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, and ability to adjust focus




Personal Traits Needed to Become a Zoning Inspector

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a zoning inspector, you need to have certain personality traits. These personality traits will help keep you interested in your job as a zoning inspector, and will help you maintain a positive attitude towards your job duties.


• Enjoy dealing with people

• Enjoy having clear rules and organized methods for work

• An interest in ensuring that laws and regulations are properly enforced

• The ability to be diplomatic when dealing with property owners who may not agree with zoning interpretations

• The ability to remain calm when others become hostile or aggravated 

• Enjoy analyzing information

• Enjoy directing the work of others, such as inspection or zoning technicians



Who Creates Jobs for Zoning Inspectors?

Zoning inspectors are employed on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Municipal governments

• Accredited inspection agencies and contractors




Work Environment for Zoning Inspectors

Working Hours: Zoning inspectors typically work standard weekday business hours, although overtime may be required occasionally in order to complete projects and meet deadlines.


Work Setting: Zoning inspectors spend a good amount of their time in an office setting writing reports, processing violation letters, reviewing legal descriptions, and determining land-use compliance. They may also spend some time inspecting properties on site.


Working Conditions: When performing inspections, a zoning inspector may come across certain hazards, such as moving parts, heights, loud noises, and various outdoor weather conditions. Zoning inspectors may also be required to stand, walk, climb, balance, kneel, crouch, or crawl.



Careers Similar to Zoning Inspector

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Zoning Inspector, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


By-Law Enforcement Officer

Community Planner

Development Permit Technician

Real Estate Appraiser

Urban Planning Technician



References: Zoning Inspector Career Information

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a zoning inspector.



Construction & Extraction:Construction and Building Inspectors.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

Factsheet:Township Zoning Enforcement Officer: Role, Responsibilities, and Tools to Succeed.” (n.d.). Ohioline - Ohio State University Extension website. Retrieved January 16, 2020.



Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




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Scholarships for Becoming a Zoning Inspector

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Zoning Inspector can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Zoning Inspector: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a zoning inspector. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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