Dan, just read your question. The only problem of course is getting in front of the big inspection companies for the opportunity to prove yourself as a vial , thorough,professional co. offering a quality service. It's basically who you know associated with the prime contractor.(of course barring union jobs).But an answer to your question is tuff depending on amount of work, size of job,location pay scale. Ive pipelined for 13 years now and it seemed like the prime contractor always just through a couple of labors into a 2 hour training session and let them go to work. I'm on the inspection side of the table ( environmental) but had to address problems with incompetence in protected sensitive areas that were specially permitted for a set procedure that was ignored resulting in severe federal finds and shutdowns. If you intend on pursuing this career I know alot of Superintendents for large pipeline co. and would be happy to ring a few phones and drop a few names. Everyone needs a shot or chance to get in the door.