Misleading Home Inspector Certifications

It’s a common question, one I get quite often.  “Are you certified?“.   The answer usually surprises most folks.

There has never been, even in States that regulate home inspectors,  no state administrative department or regulatory body that certifies home inspectors.  Home Inspector Certification is an accreditation bestowed upon  ourselves.

It started when Nick formed the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Nick’s organization took normal home inspectors and slapped the term “Certified” on them.  Suddenly, home inspectors that were slogging around without any credential after their names could claim rarified status.  After joining iNACHI, inspectors were not just inspectors, they were Certified inspectors.

Well, the folks over at ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) were appalled that Nick had managed to one up them in the professional society game.  So, they began their own certification program, ACI, which stands for ASHI Certified Inspector.  So there, Nick, we’ll show you how to certify inspectors!

Nick, the resourceful fellow he is, then came up with his Certified Master Inspector designation, CMI for short.

Well, after CMI designation, the ASHI folks just couldn’t stand it.  How dare Nick out certify the oldest home inspection society.  So, ASHI paid a lot of dough to an organization called “The National Commission for Certifying Agencies”,  NCCA for short.

Since 1977, the NCCA has accredited certifying programs in a wide range of professions and it sets “the highest quality standards in professional third-party certification”.  Unlike other HI professional societies, ASHI actually ante’d up and paid this organization for it’s blessing.  ASHI’s bold step certified that the certification of home inspectors is…….well…….certified.

If one pays a large fee to take an extra test, they’re extra certified

But what does it all mean? It means if a bunch of home inspectors want to collectively pleasure themselves with dubious certifications, well heck, they’re consenting adults and they’re allowed to do whatever they want.  The question remains, though, if all of these certifications do anything to inform the general public of anything, let alone whether or not the individual they’re hiring to advise them on their investment of a lifetime is competent.

Simply put, if one belongs to a professional society, they’re certified by that society as Certified by the simple act of being a member.  If one pays a fee to take an extra test, they’re extra certified.  So,  there’s certification,  there’s certification that’s certified by 3rd party certifiers, then there’s extra big certification that’s claimed to be the biggest and baddest certification in the Universe, with all inspectors very much the same as they were before except now the professional society to which they belong can proclaim them Certified.

There.  You’re welcome.  Any questions, well…I’m not sure if I’m certified to answer questions.  My single recommendation on the topic of Certifications is…do not choose your home inspector and imagine them competent simply because they are flogging a HI professional society certification.


I'm a home inspector and carpenter in Chicago and this site is built from things I’ve learned from 30 years inspecting houses in this town.

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