There are two ways to become an authorized Department of Transportation, or DOT, inspector, and the easiest route is to become employed with the organization. Once employed with the Department of Transportation, a person can become an authorized inspector by completing the internal academy program.
A person can also become an authorized DOT inspector by taking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration North American Standard Level I course. This is an 80-hour course, done in two parts, which teaches students how to conduct inspections.
Once the course is completed, a person must then participate in a minimum of 30 inspections at level I or V under the supervision of a certified individual. These inspections may be completed while working as a mechanic or by taking a training program.
Depending on the state, an authorized inspector is required to undergo an annual safety inspection, and some states may require commercial vehicles to undergo roadside inspections. All vehicles involved in interstate commerce must be inspected based on federal law, and once authorized, a new inspector can take on these inspections. Though the guidelines to become an authorized DOT inspector are set by federal guidelines, many states have additional regulations, so those interested in this position should find out about state regulations as well.