What’s covered in the National Home Inspector Examination?

The Content Outline includes:

  • Inspection methods
  • Reporting
  • Building Systems, including exterior systems, structural systems, roofing systems, electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, insulating and ventilating systems, plumbing systems, interior systems, and fireplace and chimney systems
  • Professional practice
How many questions are on the exam? How much time do I have?

The National Home Inspector Examination contains 200 multiple-choice questions. You are given four hours to complete the exam.

Does it matter in which state I take the exam?

Yes! The exam is administered nationwide by PSI at 250 proctored test center locations throughout the United States and is accepted in every state where is it required EXCEPT:

If you are seeking licensing in Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee or Washington State , you MUST take the National Home Inspector Examination through those states’ contracted test administrators.

When can I take the National Home Inspector Examination?

The exam is available at any time the testing center you select is open for business and has seats available. Advance registration is required.

How much does the exam cost?

The National Home Inspector Examination fee is $225 per test in most states and $325 in Canada. Please confirm when you call the testing center to register.

How do I study for the exam?

There are many home inspector training companies and programs throughout North America. EBPHI does not review or endorse these programs; be sure to compare any curriculum you are considering to the Content Outline of the National Home Inspector Examination. Visit nationalhomeinspectorexam.org/prepare-for-the-exam/ to purchase the NHIE manuals.

Every question on the National Home Inspector Examination is referenced to a published source or based on the consensus of the Subject Matter Experts (SME).  This Reference List does not imply that study of all or only these materials is required to pass the examination.

When will I receive my score?

In the U.S., you will receive one copy of your official passing score sheet before you leave the testing center. In Canada, they mail the score report to the candidate. Score sheets vary depending on your state and testing center. Your passing score sheets may show your score on the scale of 200-800, with 500 as the pass point or they may just state PASS or FAIL. In most states, failing score sheets show a graph of your performance in each content area of the examination. To find out more about what to expect on your score sheet you can contact your testing center directly.

Will the score be sent automatically to the licensing agency in my state?

No. You will receive your official score sheet with unique identification number and digital photo at the end of the examination. It’s your responsibility to follow through with the appropriate authority in your state.

How is the NHIE scored?

The exam is scored by a scaled scoring system, which is used by exams like the ACT and SAT in the United States.

Subject matter experts, who are working home inspectors from across the country, evaluate each question on the exam and assign a numeric value based on the difficulty of each question. This is to determine what the passing raw score for a particular version of the exam should be.

Since there are multiple versions of the NHIE, a scaled scoring system is a fair way to evaluate, score and adjust for differences in difficulty between the questions that appear on different versions of the exam. This method takes the raw score (the number of questions answered correctly) and converts it to a score between 200 and 800, with a passing scaled score of 500.

If, for one version of the exam, the determined raw passing score is 86, that score is then converted to the passing scaled score of 500. Scores lower than 86 will be scaled to numbers lower than 500 and scores higher than 86 will be scaled to numbers higher than 500.

How do I register to take the exam?
Is there a sample test available?

A sample test of 50 questions is available ONLINE ONLY for a fee of $50.00. The sample test covers the identical content areas in the same proportions as the National Home Inspector Examination. You may review questions and your answers, and print out a score sheet indicating your performance in each content area. click here for sample test page

Are there any specific exam references?

The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors has created two manuals to to assist prospective home inspectors prepare and properly study to pass the National Home Inspectors Exam – the Mechanical Systems and NHIE Content Manual and the Structural Systems and Business Manual. Many come to the home inspection profession as a second or a third career and may not have taken a professional entrance exam for many years, if ever. These manuals help to familiarize the candidate with the examination itself, and with the associated administrative procedures. They also include helpful insights into the types of questions the exam contains, and techniques for success. Additional information on manuals can be found on our Prepare page under Exam.

Why isn’t the test based on Standards of Practice?

Many member based associations/organizations have their own Standards of Practice. EBPHI’s sole purpose is to develop and maintain high-stakes examinations for the real estate inspection profession and to advocate for high standards for the profession. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors, but it is not a membership organization.

Membership organizations and for-profit companies have inherent conflicts of interest in providing tests for public protection. Trade and professional organizations are focused on the agendas and market concerns of dues-paying members. For-profit entities may have a bias toward generating revenue rather than protecting the consumer and enhancing the home inspection profession. Because EBPHI does not depend on membership dues revenue, it is free to focus wholly on consumer protection in home inspector competency assessment.

Why did I fail the National Home Inspectors Exam?

We understand it is extremely disappointing to not pass an exam. The following may assist you in understanding the purpose of a high stakes exam, studying for the exam, and assisting you in passing the exam.

  1. Some individuals have not been in a school or a test taking experience since high school or college, if ever. Getting yourself ready to take a high stakes exam requires understanding of test taking skills.
  • Read the question before you look at the answer.
  • Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers, this way the choices given on the test won’t throw you off or trick you.
  • Eliminate answers you know are not correct.
  • Read all the choices before choosing your answer.
  • If there is no guessing penalty, always take an educated guess and select an answer.
  • Do not go back and change your answer, usually your first choice is the right one, unless you misread the question.
  • In “All of the above” and “None of the above” choices, if you are certain one of the statements is true, don’t choose “None of the above;” If you are certain one of the statements is false, don’t choose “All of the above.”
  • In a question with an “All of the above” choice, if you see at least two correct statements, then “All of the above” is probably the answer.
  • A positive choice is more likely to be true than a negative one.
  1. In some cases, the test taker simply does not know the material as well as they may think and are relying of the course of instruction and the course exams provided by the trainer.  The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors has the following guide that illustrates the test outline.
Why do I have to wait 30 days to retake the exam?

The 30-day waiting period between retakes of the exam is standard practice for high-stakes public protection exams like the NHIE. This wait period is in place to ensure the integrity of the exam. There is no exception to this policy unless otherwise required by law or regulation.

My state does not require an examination. Why should I take the National Home Inspector Examination?

The National Home Inspector Examination is a home inspector competence assessment tool developed in accordance with accepted psychometric standards, insuring an unbiased, valid and reliable assessment of your skill, knowledge and experience.

The National Home Inspector Examination is currently adopted and/or recognized by thirty-one states for home inspector regulation. It is also a membership requirement for the American Society of Home Inspectors,  American Institute of Inspectors, Hawaii Association of Home Inspectors, Alberta Professional Home Inspectors Society, Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors, and California Real Estate Inspection Association and is reimbursed by the US Veterans’ Administration.

Can Veterans be reimbursed for the cost of the exam?

If you pass the NHIE and you are eligible for GI Bill education benefits you may be eligible to get reimbursed for the cost of this exam. You will need to complete a VBA-22-0803-ARE and submit it to the VA for reimbursement. When you submit the VBA-22-0803-ARE make sure you remember to include a copy of your receipt of paid in full for this exam, and a copy of your exam results. For questions please contact the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Can I work anywhere in the country after passing the NHIE?

Not right away. While the NHIE is accepted in the majority of states, regulatory bodies will have additional requirements to fulfill for licensing. Check with the regulatory body in any state in which you intend to perform home inspections to be sure you are working within the parameters of the law.