In 2013, The ASHI School (TAS), a subsidiary of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), was approved by the Illinois State Approving Agency for the enrollment of qualified veterans and/or eligible persons to receive GI Bill Educational Benefits. As a result, veterans using this chapter at our Illinois location, or Chapter 31, Vocational Rehab and Employment, in all locations, have launched careers in home inspection.
The home inspection course combines 40 hours of pre-class study and 80 hours of classroom and field experience. After completing the program, veterans earn college credits that they can apply to their existing career or use to start a new career path. TAS also offers graduates one year of ASHI membership, reporting software and a website to advertise their home inspection business.
Emphasizing the importance of real-world experience in home inspection training, the curriculum centers on fieldwork and provides opportunities for students to perform home inspections on real homes with real home inspectors.
If you are or know a veteran interested in becoming a home inspector, visit www.theashischool.com. Read on to hear how three veterans got started in their careers by attending TAS.
Tactical Inspections, Woodbridge, VA
“I like to help people feel good about the purchase of a home. ASHI gave me the confidence to go out on my own.”
In 2014, Terry Krebs spent Veterans Day attending TAS. Terry said, “I’d been thinking about becoming a home inspector for many years. Some of my interest probably came from having moved so many times over the years and relying on home inspectors to tell me about each home.”
Having served in the Air Force as a criminal investigator, Terry had to evaluate systems, look for clues and pay attention to details. “My training matched up well with the skills needed to be a good home inspector,” said Terry. “Plus, I like the bonus of using cool tools and gadgets on the job.”
About two years ago, Terry started looking for home inspection courses but only found online training that didn’t appeal to him. He said, “I was used to on-the-job, military-style training. I’m a visual learner and like to learn by doing. So when I heard about ASHI’s in-residence training program, I checked it out.” TAS offered what he wanted, but the required time and cost stood in his way. Several months later, however, he knew it was time to act when he noticed that TAS’s in-residence program would accept students using GI benefits. “I had never used my GI benefits,” he explained, “but having about 80% of my hotel fees covered as well as all of the course tuition made attending TAS very affordable. I loved the two weeks of training. The instructors used many of the same teaching strategies that are common in the military.”
“After completing the training, I became certified, attended InspectionWorld® Philadelphia and joined my regional ASHI chapter. The ASHI membership core includes so many helpful people, and some I’ve found have a similar military background.” For example, Terry’s mentor is a retired fighter pilot. Also, Terry has two sons who are interested in taking up a career in home inspection as well, and one of them might follow the same path of using his GI benefits to be trained at TAS after his time in the Army is complete. Terry hopes that someday all three will work together as a home inspection team.
As for what it’s like to be doing the job he’d considered for so long, Terry said, “I like to help people feel good about the purchase of a home. ASHI gave me the confidence to go out on my own. You might think that the VA system is difficult to maneuver, but people at ASHI have figured it out for you, and they’ll help you understand what you need to do. My advice is to make a commitment to go to the best program—The ASHI School—and they will guide you as you do the rest.”
Champion Home Inspection,
“Everybody wins when you’re doing your job competently, and The ASHI School teaches you to do that.”<
Stephen Rager joined ASHI in January and attended TAS in April 2015 in Des Plaines, IL. After serving in the Army from 2002 to 2009, including two deployments in Iraq, Stephen wanted to make a career change and he’d always been passionate about homes. One day, while browsing ASHI’s online education forum, Stephen saw a posting about using VA benefits to attend TAS. He sent an email inquiry and quickly received guidance and encouragement to navigate the process that led to attending the course.
“With help from ASHI staff, I found that it wasn’t difficult for me to get VA approval for the course. I earned my license when I passed the exam this year, and so far, all is going well. Although I’m just getting started, attending The ASHI School gave me the confidence to pursue this career. My instructors were excellent—some also were presenters at InspectionWorld® Philadelphia.”
“I did reconnaissance in the Army, so home inspection fits well with observing and reporting what I see as part of my background. I did a lot of research about the industry before choosing to pursue it as a career. I found that competent home inspectors have good job security, and now I know that having the ‘ASHI brand’ of certification helps solidify my standing among other home inspectors; at least where I live, real estate agents prefer working with ASHI certified inspectors who they know have a high level of competence on the job. Everybody wins when you’re doing your job competently, and The ASHI School teaches you to do that.”
As a home inspector, Stephen also draws on his education in accounting and his skills in home maintenance. And he says, “Home inspection pays more than doing handyman work. When I worked as a handyman, I had to compete with people being paid under the table. I wanted a job that was transparent and aboveboard. I realized that home inspection involves several technical skills and is a growing industry. For example, when people in our parents’ generation were purchasing homes, the most complicated system may have been the water heater. But now, homes have more complex systems that are based in technology. The sheer number of appliances that a typical home has now is also much higher than in the past. As a result, good home inspectors have an in-demand skill.”
“I’ve stayed in touch with some of the students and instructors from my class. We had great camaraderie, and everyone was dedicated to doing a great job. I encourage other veterans to use their military benefits to attend TAS. It is an excellent tool to gain experience and knowledge, and the instructors want their students to succeed.”
William Carter III
“I was fortunate to attend
a class with people with great overall construction knowledge.”
American Dream Home Inspection, Vine Grove, KY
William Carter III, currently stationed at Fort Knox, with the Army, is preparing to transition to civilian life over the next few months. At age 33, William noticed that working hard-labor jobs since he was 16 years old has taken a toll on his body, and he wanted to find a career that would allow him to use his knowledge and experience. He has discovered that home inspection is enjoyable and a good fit with his background in military training.
William said, “It can be really competitive to try to become a home inspector in an established area.” He did some research and found that there was a need for more home inspectors where he lives. William’s wife is a realtor, which has helped him make some connections. And with the added encouragement brought about by the VA paying for the majority of the course and housing fees, William took the opportunity to attend TAS.
“It was very easy to use my VA benefits for The ASHI School. I just went on the VA website and signed up, and then the school requested some paperwork.” In April, William attended the class in Des Plaines, IL, and in August, he took the exam to become certified. Now he is ready to start his home inspection business.
At TAS, William had excellent instructors and a group of about 12 fellow students with a range of experiences. He said, “The group included construction workers, home builders, electricians like me, HVAC specialists, plumbers and more.” Hearing people in the class share their experiences added to what was already a curriculum designed to provide in-depth knowledge.
“I would recommend that students bring a camera and a laptop. Having those tools on hand is important to keep momentum going at the end of the session when you start learning about the reporting software.”
William’s advice for other veterans is to do research in your region. “If there’s too much competition, it might be hard to break in,” he said. “I didn’t want to waste time and money, so I researched the need for home inspectors in the area. Now I’m feeling encouraged to get started once my transition out of the military is complete.”
“I was fortunate to attend a class with people with great overall construction knowledge. We all learned from each other’s skills and input with each topic we covered. I learned what customers are looking for, and I will use all the ideas I learned as I get my business under way.”
TAS Instructors: Gary Monfeli, Tim Buell, and Ken Harrington with their students in Cincinnati, OH.
The ASHI School AdvantageExcellence in education
Going strong into its sixth year, The ASHI School (TAS) staff understands that home inspectors have many choices when selecting home inspection training programs. The advantage of choosing TAS among other organizations’ training programs is the ongoing commitment of TAS to achieve excellence in education. Our goal is not simply to enroll a large number of students; instead, we strive to educate and train our students so well that they will hit the ground running in their careers as home inspectors. Going forward, TAS hopes to deliver “one-stop” education offerings by providing pre-licensing preparation as well as ancillary courses on special topics.
TAS instructors are incredible assets to students. Because we keep our class sizes relatively small, the instructors can get to know each student during training. By doing so, instructors can ensure that each TAS student is confident in their skills and well prepared to pursue certification through ASHI. TAS instructors continue to be accessible resources for their students long after formal training ends. Experienced home inspectors themselves, TAS instructors want their students to rise to the highest level of success in their careers.
TAS strives to see graduates achieve success. To meet this goal, graduates receive a year of ASHI membership as well as ongoing support to continue their training. For example, TAS graduates can retake the entire training course or sessions on specific components of home inspection they feel they need to brush up on, free of charge. Each year, many students take advantage of this perk by attending a home inspection class that will help them review components of home inspection skills.
TAS staff coordinates many administrative details with and for students so the experience of attending TAS is positive. TAS staff strives to meet the needs of any home inspector who requires guidance or assistance as they go forward in any specific or general area of the home inspection business.
Graduate and instructor reunions
Reunions for TAS graduates and instructors are great opportunities to strengthen communication and support among mentors, colleagues and friends. The reunions that have already been held in Tennessee and Pennsylvania have brought graduates and instructors together to share stories from the field. Another reunion is planned and will be held at InspectionWorld® San Diego in January 2016, so be sure to make your plans to attend.