Federal mine inspectors conduct inspections in coal, ore and mineral mines throughout the United States to ensure mining companies maintain proper safety standards. They also inspect mining equipment, discuss their findings with mining officials and issue citations when necessary. If you don't mind working on your feet all day and getting your hands dirty, you may enjoy working as a federal mine inspector. Your salary will depend on your pay grade and the state in which you work.
Average Salary and Qualifications
The average salary for a federal mine inspector was $45,000 as of 2014, according to the job site Simply Hired. The minimum requirements for this job are a high school diploma and one year of experience in inspection, analysis, monitoring and evaluation at mines, industrial plants, or construction and excavation sites, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. This qualifies you for a grade-level seven position, the lowest-ranking grade for federal mine inspectors. You may also substitute a master's degree in one of the following majors for the one year of required experience: industrial, mechanical, environmental or civil engineering, geology, chemistry, occupational safety & health or industrial hygiene. Electrical mine inspectors must have the required one year of experience, even with a master's degree. Other important qualifications are attention to detail, physical stamina and analytical, leadership, problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Salaries Range from $33,500 to $65,500
Federal mine inspectors usually work at grade-levels seven, nine or 11, according to the MSHA. Grade-level seven federal mine inspectors earned salaries between $33,979 and $41,176 as of 2013, according to the Office of Personnel Management. At level seven, you wouldn't perform underground inspections. If you advance to grade-level nine, you could expect to earn between $41,563 and $54,028 per year. Federal mine inspectors who worked at level 11 earned $50,287 to $65,371. Additional experience and training are what qualify you for level nine and 11 jobs, although the MSHA doesn't specify the years of experience required at each level.
Top Pay in California
In 2014, federal mine inspectors earned the highest average salaries of $51,000 in California, according to Simply Hired, among the coal and mineral mining states listed. They also earned salaries above the national average of $45,000 in Colorado and Illinois at $48,000 and $47,000 per year, respectively. If you worked as a federal mine inspector in Pennsylvania, you would earn $43,000 on average, with Texas and Arizona following closely at $42,000. Federal mine inspectors in Kentucky and New Mexico made $39,000, while those in West Virginia and Montana averaged $36,000 annually.
Average Job Growth
The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't forecast jobs for federal mine inspectors. It does, however, estimate a 12 percent increase in jobs for mining and geological engineers, who may work with federal mine inspectors, from 2012 to 2022 -- which is statistically on par with the average estimated growth for all other occupations. The number of jobs for mining and geological engineers is expected to increase as the demand for mining increases. Mining activities also increase when foreign companies restrict the export of certain minerals used in high-tech manufacturing, such as silicon for computer chips.
2016 Salary Information for Mining and Geological Engineers
Mining and geological engineers earned a median annual salary of $93,720 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, mining and geological engineers earned a 25th percentile salary of $70,630, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $127,420, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 7,300 people were employed in the U.S. as mining and geological engineers.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration: Mine Inspector Hiring Program
- Mine Safety and Health Administration: Questions and Answers
- Simply Hired: Average Federal Mine Inspector Salaries
- Office of Personnel Management: General Schedule Salary Table
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mining and Geological Engineers: Job Outlook
- Simply Hired: Average Federal Mine Inspector Salaries in WV, KY and PA
- Simply Hired: Average Federal Mine Inspector Salaries in CO, TX, IL and NM
- Simply Hired: Average Federal Mine Inspector Salaries in CA, AZ, WY and MT
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mining and Geological Engineers
- Career Trend: Mining and Geological Engineers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Mining or Geological Engineer
- National Mining Association: U.S. Coal Production by State and by Rank
- American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research: Dangerous Dependence: U.S. Increasingly Beholden to Imported Raw Mineral
- Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images