February, 2010
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



ASHI Certification Committee Answers Your Questions

BRENDAN RYAN

Over the past several months, the Certification Committee has been busy with the Bylaw and proviso votes, both of which have passed, allowing the committee to proceed with building a successful program. Now, the committee is drafting internal policies and procedures for the future. At the same time, we are creating documents and working on Web site information for the membership and for media awareness. At InspectionWorld, the committee distributed a FAQ sheet answering questions that have come to the attention of committee members. It was well-received and is included here with the mission and value statements.

Mission Statement of the ASHI Certification Committee
The ASHI Certification Program is dedicated to enhancing and promoting the profession of property inspections by providing the premier credentials for the profession. The Certification Program accomplishes this mission by recognizing standards for entry level, advanced and specialized professional practices; by approving fair, valid and reliable examination processes by which professionals can demonstrate their knowledge and skill; granting certification to those who meet the program’s requirements; and communicating the value of these credentials to consumers and other stakeholders.

ASHI Certification Statement of Value
ASHI Certified Inspectors have met the high standards of American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and ASHI has met the rigorous requirements of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) as a certifying body. ASHI is the only home inspection association able to meet these requirements. Inspectors with the ACI designation are some of the most skilled and qualified in the profession.

ASHI CERTIFICATION FAQs

Q Why did ASHI pursue a status of “third-party” accreditation?


A ASHI considers home inspection a professional service, and those who attain the level of ASHI Certified Inspector are dedicated professionals serious about their livelihood. Involvement with the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) and its accrediting board, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, is representative of ASHI’s commitment to raise the level of recognition and professionalism in home inspection. As a responsible association, ASHI has had its certification program evaluated by an internationally recognized board specializing in personnel certification. Acquiring this form of true accreditation affords ASHI and its qualifying members the ability to put solid backing, meaning and reliability into the term certified.

Q What is certification, and why do I want it?

A First and foremost, certification offered by ASHI is not a self-bestowed title. It is a validation by an unaffiliated third party of the process one goes through to become a Certified Inspector. The use of a third party provides reliability to the certification process. ASHI chose to attain the most stringent of third-party standards, those of the NCCA. Having attained ASHI Certified status allows you to put verifiable backing and credibility into your business as a professional service provider.

Q Who is the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, the ICE?

A
The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, represented as ICE (www.ice.org), is a membership association dedicated to providing educational, networking and advocacy resources for credentialing organizations. It is recognized internationally as the premier organization for professional certification groups. The ICE is the parent group of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). ASHI is a member of the ICE.

Q Who is the NCCA?

A
The NCCA is the accreditation board of the ICE. The NCCA evaluates certifying organizations and their programs for compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. The NCCA’s Standards exceed the requirements set forth by the American Psychological Association, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and are the recognized benchmark for the certification of professional personnel. Other professional associations that have acquired certified status through the NCCA include the medical, nursing, engineering, pharmaceutical, financial advising, accounting and legal professions. ASHI believes the service provided by its members is equivalent to if not greater than those organizations when you take into consideration the magnitude of our clients’ investment and the safety of their families.

Q Can I claim to be ICE-or NCCA-certified?

A
No. The ICE is an association membership group and does not have individual members. ASHI is a member of the ICE. The NCCA accredits ASHI’s certification program, not the individual member.

Q Can I use the ICE or NCCA logos?

A
No, for the reasons stated above. You are not a member of the ICE and the NCCA did not certify you. You can use the acronym ACI®, which stands for ASHI Certified Inspector and the new ASHI Certified Inspector logo (www.homeinspector.org/membersonly/downloads/logos.aspx) to signify that you have met the certification requirements. In promotional material, it is totally legitimate to state that ASHI is a member the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. You may also state that you have completed the NCCA-accredited ASHI Certified Inspector program. You may not in any way indicate that you or your business is a member of the ICE or are certified by the NCCA.

Q What requirements are needed for ASHI certification?

A
The same as now. Associate members must complete 250 inspections, have their reports verified to be in compliance with the Standards of Practice and must pass the National Home Inspector Exam. To sustain certification also means meeting the requirements for continuing education.

Q This is just like branding. It is costly and will result in dues increases and special assessments, right?

A
Wrong. The ASHI Certified Inspector program is a benefit to the membership that has been done within the fiscal budget and without the need for a dues increase or assessment. ASHI is a well-maintained association with high standards and a long history of excellence. It was in a great position to take advantage of this opportunity, with minimal financial cost and organizational change.

Q Will there ever be fees for certifications?

A
If the Certification Committee and ASHI decide to create voluntary specialty certifications for other disciplines related to home inspection, there will be fees for those programs relative to the cost of creating them.

Q How will certification help my business?

A
ASHI cannot market your business for you. How you integrate the value of certification into your marketing plan is up to you. A good self-promoter will use this true certification to differentiate his or her business from those that have not completed an NCCA-accredited certification program or are just state licensed. ASHI will be doing its part by integrating certification into its marketing plan and using media outlets for exposure. Information found in this document or some of the following sample phrases can be used for your marketing program:

 “Home Inspector performance that has been tested and ASHI Certified”

“ASHI Certified for your protection”

“Quality you can count on because we are ASHI Certified”

“True Certification comes from ASHI”

“Only ASHI offers tested and qualified Certification”

“The ASHI Certified Inspector logo is Professional Certification”

“ASHI Certified, Professionalism you can rely on”

“Only the best Home Inspectors are ASHI Certified"

“ASHI Certified means proven experience that has been verified, tested and committed to continuing education”

Contact any of the committee members with questions concerning certification. If you are interested in serving on the committee, please contact Aldis Stripneiks at HQ: aldis@ashi.org. Two new members will be voted in during the next ASHI election cycle.