What’s the Difference Between a Home Inspector License vs. Certification?
Certifications, licenses, credentials… they all offer proof of skills, knowledge, and competency, but are completely different when it comes to proving that knowledge to future customers and being compliant with your state board. If you’re on your journey to being a home inspector, you may be wondering what the difference is between getting your home inspection certification versus becoming a licensed home inspector and how it may impact your future business.
Here’s what you need to know.
What’s a Home Inspection Certification?
A certification offers proof of learning, completion of course knowledge, and verification of skills. Typically, certifications are earned voluntarily and aren’t required to get a job, but may aid in getting new clients, getting a promotion, or adding skills to your resume. Certifications are great at highlighting the skills that may not be obvious on a diploma, for example.
In the home inspection world, certifications are granted after a student has completed an in-person course or an online course. You did the work, learned the trade, and we send you a certificate as proof of completion and learning. You can add that certificate to your resume, your website, and even your mobile wallet to use on job sites and with potential clients to show you know how to do the service they’re paying you for.
Certificates, whether they’re digital or paper, are no participation trophies. They communicate that you actually know what you say you know and if someone needs to verify that learning they can do so with your permission.
When you enroll in home inspection training through ICA, you’re given a certificate after completing your course. If your state requires you to become licensed, you will need to share this certificate with them as proof of your course completion and required educational hours. All home inspectors should get a home inspection certification but not all will need to be licensed.
What’s a Home Inspection License?
A license is given by a regulating body and grants permission for a specific individual to practice a career (like home inspection, medicine, law, nursing, etc.). The licensure process certifies that the person petitioning for a license has met the minimum education qualifications required in that field and has demonstrated mastery of skills required to successfully serve their community.
As a licensed home inspector, your clients can be assured that you not only have the skills needed to inspect their home, but that these skills have been validated by your state board- a powerful stamp of approval and one required by some, but not all, states.
To obtain a license, a professional typically must fulfill specific requirements outlined by their state. Requirements vary by state and may include completing an approved home inspection course and obtaining a home inspection certification, passing an exam, completing a specific number of inspections under the guidance of another inspector, or any combination of these or other requirements. It is wise to understand whether your state issues home inspection licenses and what your state-specific requirements are.
Do home inspectors need to be licensed?
It depends on where you are located and your state’s requirements. Some states, like Florida, require training plus passing a state exam, to receive a home inspection license. Other states, like California and Colorado, do not require home inspectors to obtain a license. It is wise to understand your state’s requirements to ensure your home inspection training course meets your state requirements and the steps you need to take to begin your home inspection career.
In states that do not grant licenses, having a certification to validate your skills and training to real estate agents and homeowners is very important. Having a certification can also allow you to market yourself and your services on different platforms, including Google, which often requires a certification to run Local Service Ads.
How do I get my home inspection license?
Whether or not your state requires licensure to become a home inspector, the first step is always training through a reputable organization. The knowledge and skills you obtain through ICA are the foundation of your career. Some states allow you to complete ICA’s training online, while others require you to take a classroom course. ICA offers both online and classroom courses to meet your state requirements.
Our Online Home Inspection Course is the most comprehensive and convenient home inspection training available. Using a smartphone, PC, laptop, tablet, or another digital device, you’ll train at your own pace. Since all course materials are available online 24/7, training can be completed any time that’s convenient and anywhere there’s access to the internet.
ICA also holds classroom courses in many cities across the United States where a classroom is required. These courses are led by instructors that have performed thousands of home inspections.
You may also have to take an exam, such as The National Home Inspectors Exam, which is administered at the state level. ICA students receive an exam prep course to get them ready. Once taken (and passed!) you will send the board a copy of your home inspection certification from ICA (that you get after completing our training course) along with your score sheet from the state in which you took the exam. Once your state has your certification and scores, they’ll issue you a home inspection license! Licenses are typically valid for a specific period of time and must be renewed to continue working in the home inspection field.
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a certified home inspector, we’d love to help you get started on your new career path.