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How Do I Become a Code Enforcement Officer?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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Code enforcement officers can be found in a variety of areas of government at the local, state, and federal level. For anyone who aspires to become a code enforcement officer, the first step is to determine which type of enforcement officer he or she plans to become. Depending on which type of officer a person aspires to be, the path to become a code enforcement officer may include additional education or on-the-job training, as well as an in-depth background check.

Local, state, and federal governments enact a multitude of laws that are intended to keep citizens safe, protect the environment, and beautify the city or state. These laws are codified into code sections. Codes may apply to anything from parking to hazardous waste removal and almost everything in between. Violators may receive a warning or a violation, which often comes with a significant monetary fine. A person who desires to help ensure that codes are adhered to may wish to become a code enforcement officer.

In some cases, the only educational requirement necessary to become a code enforcement officer is a high school diploma. Enforcement officers for local parking enforcement, for example, are generally only required to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. As a rule, on-the-job training will then be provided by the agency responsible for code enforcement.

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In other situations, however, additional education may be necessary to become a code enforcement officer. An enforcement officer for building inspections, for example, may be required to have a college degree and/or pass a certification examination prior to becoming qualified for employment as a code enforcement officer. Typically, the examination required will test the applicant's knowledge of local building codes and regulations.

At the federal level, a code enforcement officer for an agency such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may be required to have a college degree in a specific area such as engineering or one of the sciences. OSHA is responsible for keeping work sites safe by enforcing work site rules and regulations. In addition, OSHA also oversees a variety of different types of work sites, some of which routinely use hazardous chemicals or dangerous equipment. An enforcement officer must be knowledgeable about the laws as they pertain to the work site and also have an in-depth understanding of the work being conducted in many cases.

Along with any required educational background and/or certification required to become a code enforcement officer, an in-depth background check may be required. Code enforcement officers typically work for a government agency, which often requires an applicant to pass a pre-employment background check. A code enforcement officer may have access to sensitive and/or confidential legal information which prompts the need for a clean background check prior to being approved for a job in the field.

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