Iowa Central Community College has partnered with engineering firm Carson Dunlop to offer online training courses in home inspection.
The 10-course, noncredit certificate program is available to students online.
"It involves everything you can imagine," said Sue Heistand, Iowa Central noncredit coordinator. "It involves the exterior, interior, the plumbing, electrical. They also give you a professionalism class so you know to address people when you get in there. It's going to be pretty comprehensive."
The class, Heistand said, is a gateway for anyone who wants to become a career home inspector.
"You can be a home inspector once you get your certification," she said. "They talked a little about people who come out and inspect for insurance purposes. A lot of people go through these classes and become inspectors for insurance companies."
According to Heistand, it is a class that is not typically offered in community colleges.
"Carson Dunlop, which has been making real estate manuals and all these other manuals for years, decided they wanted to get into the online business and run these programs," she said. "Now they're reaching out to the community colleges to see how many of us would like to offer this particular class."
The course content, focused on "practical, applied technical knowledge," is delivered through online instruction and video, as well as reading materials.
"It's kind of an intermingling of ways they deliver it," Heistand said. "They have some video, and the basic online program is you read and do the testing. A lot of that would be reading material. You also have the manual in front of you. You have the book itself and you have online viewing, so you have two ways of learning."
The program benefits not only students interested in a career in home inspection, Heistand said, but Iowa Central, as well.
"It's going to be a win-win situation, something we can't offer because we'd have to develop the program ourselves," she said. "This is fully developed by professionals in the industry and basically we're just going to try to meet a need that's out there, get people trained so they can get into the workforce."
Heistand said more non-credit courses are now adopting an online format.
"I know there are some people who don't like the online format. They would prefer to take it in person," she said. "But as we leap into the next decade there's going to be more and more people on computers than there were in the past. People are more willing to stay at home and learn, and they're used to being on the computer."