Four areas are covered in the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE). Building systems, methods of inspection, professional practice and properly formatted reports are addressed in 200 multiple choice questions that must be answered within a four hour time limit.
Twenty- five states currently require passage of the National Home Inspector Examination for state certification. Candidates can take the test at any one of 250 test locations regardless of the state in which they will work, with a few exceptions. Illinois, South Dakota, Washington, Florida, Tennessee and Oklahoma require their inspectors are tested only through examiners in their states.
Test applicants must register in advance, either by telephone or online. Registration requires a nonrefundable fee of $225 per attempt; however, note that military veterans may be eligible for a discount. Consult the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI) website for information regarding the location of each state’s testing centers. The test can be taken at any time in which a particular center in open for business. A score of 500 must be reached in order to pass; the scale the NHIE uses is 200-800 points.
Upon completion of the exam, candidates are immediately given two copies of an automatically generated official score. The official copies are marked with both a digital photograph and an identification number. The EBPHI does not send scores to candidates’ state licensing boards; it is the examinees responsibility to do so. Candidates also receive a Certificate of Achievement. Any candidates who do not succeed in passing will be given information about their scores in each of the four content areas to help them as they prepare to retake the exam. For easy readability, this information is delivered in the form of a graph.
While the National Home Inspector Examination is required for a home inspector to work in only 25 states, many professionals opt to take the examination even if they do not work in a state for which it is required. Their reasons for doing so are various. Some complete the exam in order to join the American Institute of Inspectors or the Florida Association of Building Inspectors. Many veterans who are home inspectors take the examination as a personal learning tool; in most cases the U.S. Veteran’s Administration will reimburse the cost of the exam for military veterans who are preparing to change careers. Others choose to take the examination because many employers consider successful examinees to be top of the line job candidates. Finally, some home inspectors opt to take the test even though it is not required because it is a way for them to test the breadth and depth of their personal knowledge of the field of residential home inspection.
All questions used on the test are originally submitted by working professionals, which are then entered into a database of potential examination items. Questions are reviewed to determine that there is at least one published professional resource that makes reference to the content the question addresses. Questions are then edited by trained professionals. Next, field testing is undertaken by including some of these questions as non- scored items in a current testing cycle. Only after extensive examination does a question become part of the test.
Because failing the examination means candidates will be required to reregister and repay the fee, passing upon the first attempt is important. The EBPHI website offers a detailed content outline of the material covered by the NHIE. Candidates can choose to study independently, using flashcards, study guides and other study materials purchased online or from a bookstore, or can join a face- to- face class or program taught at a community college, vocational school or in a home inspector school. EBPHI recommends reviewing class or study materials content in light of their posted content outline to insure the candidate focuses most efficiently on areas of greatest concern.
Becoming An InterNACHI Certified Home Inspector
After successfully passing the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) Online National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE), completing the Association’s Ethics course and the Standards of Practice test, you are eligible to become an InterNACHI member. This is the next step toward gaining your home inspector certification.
Membership is simply a matter of filling out an application form online, or printing it and completing it, then mailing or faxing the signed document together with payment of the annual dues of $365. Membership also requires your agreement to follow the Association’s Standards of Practice and their Code of Ethics.
InterNACHI’s home inspectors have an outstanding reputation in the field, in part due to the fact that their inspectors are committed to substantial continuing education training. InterNACHI inspectors are expected complete a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education annually.
In the first ten days after joining you are required to register and log into the Association’s message board and request a photo I.D. This I.D. badge will be necessary for all InterNACHI events and activities, and will be your proof that you are a certified home inspector with the Association.
Within a month of joining, new members must finish three specific courses. The online Safe Practices Course, Twenty-Five Standards Every Inspector Should Know and the Residential Standards of Practice course include study materials. You will chart your learning by taking periodic quizzes, and each course also requires inspectors pass a final exam.
You are given 45 days after joining the Association to finish three additional courses. They, like the previous ones, are free to members. Each course includes study materials, quizzes and a final exam that must be passed before you will be credited with the class. The first of these is the InterNACHI Plumbing course. Next is the Electrical course, followed by the Roofing course.
Within the first two months of joining the Association as a certified member, a third set of courses must be successfully completed. These cover material on HVAC Systems, Structural Systems and Exterior Inspections. As with the previous courses, study materials, quizzes and the final exam are part of the course and are free.
Before the first 90 days following membership have elapsed, you will be expected to complete the final set of courses required in the first year. This time, material focuses on Customer Service and Communication for Inspectors; Attic, Insulation, Ventilation and Interior Inspection; Deck Inspections; and a fourth course in Moisture Intrusion. Again, successful completion of these free courses means passing quizzes as well as the final exams.
For members who are new to the field of home inspection, a further Association requirement is that you must complete four residential inspections at no charge and submit them to the Review Committee. Upon their approval, you become eligible to begin inspecting homes and charging for your services. This obligation can be taken care of as soon after joining as you wish.
Although you took and passed the Online Inspector Exam as a requirement to joining the Association, because the field is constantly evolving all members must take the exam again each year. As before, you must earn a score of 80% or better. While the exam will no doubt be easier the second time around after a year’s experience in the field, should you fail to pass on the first try you can re-take it.
Two more prerequisites remain for members who continue with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors into their second and third years. The first is a set of three more courses to complete within the first two years of joining as a certified member. All inspectors must take the online Wood-Destroying Organisms course, the Mold Inspection course, and the course on Inspecting Foundation Walls and Piers. Quizzes must be taken and the final exams successfully completed.
Finally, eight courses must be successfully completed and final exams passed within the first three years of joining. These courses are in Pool and Spa Inspection; Energy Auditing; Green Building; Log Homes; Lead Safety for Renovation, Repair and Painting; Radon Measurement; and Commercial Inspection. At this point, the only remaining requirement is attendance at a training seminar, a convention or a chapter meeting.
National Home Inspector Examination Registration And Fees
Candidates for the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) can register either by telephone or email. With a few exceptions, a registration fee of $225 must be paid at the time of registration. Examinees wishing to register for home inspector certification tests in the states of Washington, South Dakota, Illinois, Oklahoma, Tennessee or Florida should contact their boards individually. Advanced registration is required in all cases; no testing centers will accept payment or on- the- spot registrations the day of the exam. Each testing center reserves the right to change fees from rates published online or in written materials; contact the testing center for current fees.
Fees cannot be transferred and will not be refunded in the event of cancellation, unless cancellation or scheduling change is made at least four days before the registered test date. In the event that a candidate is not able to take the exam during the scheduled test period, in most cases no refund will be given. Candidates who can document serious illness, jury duty or required court appearance, a serious traffic accident that caused delay, military duty or a family death are permitted to reschedule, but documents supporting the claim will be required. It is important to realize that candidates who do not arrive at least 15 minutes prior to testing may be considered tardy; such applicants may not be permitted to sit for the test and will have to reregister and pay all associated costs again.
In the event an examinee does not pass the examination or misses the exam with an unexcused absence it will be necessary to reregister, paying all fees at the time of re- registration. With the exception of states that disallow this rule, retests must be taken a minimum of one month after the prior failure to pass. Most states do permit multiple re- attempts.
Examinees are required to supply two forms of official I.D., including driver’s license, passport, or other government issued identification. Both I.D.s must contain the bearer’s signature, and one must also contain a photograph. The confirmation number that was issued upon registration is also required, and for candidates who are retaking the exam due to prior failure, the previously issued score report must also be presented. Candidates are urged to bring all required items, as failure to provide one or more can result in the individual being denied seating; in this case, no refund will be given.
Two hundred multiple choice questions must be answered in no more than four hours. Candidates who have not completed the test in this length of time will find their computers automatically disengaged at the four hour mark. Examinees may not use calculators, nor may they ask testing personnel for clarification regarding any questions; employees of the testing centers are not familiar with the materials.
Study materials, notes, cell phones, and other personal items are barred from the test area. Candidates who mistakenly bring these items, briefcases, or other personal belongings will have them confiscated until the test period has ended. Damaged or missing items are not the responsibility of the test center. Candidates who are caught attempting to take copies of the test, booklets or notes from the room will be report to the Examination Board of the Professional Home Inspectors and will be barred from all future related exams.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act are adhered to by all test centers. Candidates requiring accommodations in terms of time, seating requirements, speaking skills, physical disability, or other disability must submit the proper documentation and support materials to the testing center, together with test date and time and social security number. Candidates should specifically describe the requested accommodation or other modification required.
These requests should be made in writing no less than two full weeks prior to the test date. Accommodations, modifications or other services or aids will be determined and the candidate notified prior to the test date.
The Examination Board Of Professional Home Inspectors
The National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) is administered by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBHPI), a not- for- profit group that operates via a voluntary directorial board. EBHPI is not a membership organization; its only goal is the creation, management and supervision of an entirely independent high standard national home inspector competency evaluation examination. The EBPHI exam is designed to identify home inspectors operating at a high level of professional and ethical conduct. The Board consults standards established by the American Education Research Association (AERA), the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), and the Council on Licensing, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) among others.
Since 2000, an increasing number of states have been adding the National Home Inspector Examination as an official competency assessment. Currently 25 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin accept the NHIE.
The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors has chosen to remain a not- for- profit non- membership- based organization in order to focus on its sole purpose, which is providing a reliable and verifiable national home inspector examination with an uncompromised pledge to the American public. Organizations that are designed to generate profit have money as their primary goal; decisions are based upon the degree to which they will support revenue building. Trade organizations that rely upon and represent members who pay dues, attend conferences, and contribute to the organizations projects, test design and test administration must first and foremost represent those members. Non- profits, however, are not compromised by financial goals or membership needs.
Over the last decade, the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors has commissioned four studies that examine the types of tasks required for residential home inspectors to complete a home inspection at the highest standard of competency. In order to guarantee that the exam continues to address knowledge and skills compatible with the most up- to- date professional practices, the EBPHI has determined that additional studies aimed at updating the test’s content will be completed two to three times each decade. The most recent figures confirm that the last study on record, completed in 2008, contained input offered by more than 6,000 contributing inspectors from every state as well as from Canada and Puerto Rico.
The National Home Inspector Examination is reviewed annually, with new questions being added and those that are no longer as relevant being dropped. Contributing professionals create potential examination questions which are added to a database of items. In order to be accepted as a contributor, inspectors must first undergo training with psychometrically developed professional materials to learn what relevant home inspector test questions cover and how they are best worded. Upon completion, questions are vetted by qualified professionals, validated by reviews of recognized publication sources that reference the questions, and evaluated for degree of importance. Next, all questions are given real- world testing by inclusion in the exam as a non- scored item.
Standards have been established by nationally recognized and respected organizations concerned with psychometrics, including the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Council on Measurement in Education, and National Commission for Certifying Agencies, among others. The NHIE strictly follows these standards in the creation and scoring of test items. The EBHPI ensures accuracy in the test’s ability to evaluate competency by determining that examination questions are both reliable and valid. As used in legal defense, the term ‘reliability’ catalogs the test’s degree of accuracy in terms of individual skill measurement. ‘Valid’ in this case defines the examination’s ability to measure content knowledge as skills it is designed to measure.
As a national test, the National Home Inspectors Examination focuses on core knowledge and skills required of home inspectors in all states. In some cases, states additionally require their inspectors to pass a second examination that contains items that reference state regulations, laws and professional standards, as well.