How Much Do Home Inspector Certifications Matter Anyway?
A trend I’ve been noticing in a down economy is that when people are losing their jobs, unemployment rises, and work is harder to come by, education systems come out of the wood-works. As people Experience Certification have been forced to become more creative and ‘entrepreneurial-minded’, a whole new industry has boomed, offering professional certifications for just about anything, as long as you have the money to spend.
For example, before I made my way into the home inspection industry in Colorado Springs, I obtained two different certifications while experimenting with other careers in 2007 and 2008 for two very different fields: heavy equipment operation, and personal fitness training.
The heavy equipment operating school I attended in Las Vegas (The Nevada School of Construction, a.k.a. NAHETs) was straight forward, and not completely relevant to what I’m about to point out, except for this: I spent a lot of money to acquire training and certifications to market myself to prospective employers, but in the end, those certifications were basically just ‘marketing tools’. Telling a construction company that I was ‘certified’ was supposed to help me stand out above the rest, but aside from some very basic proficiency with the machines, by the time I found a real job running that heavy equipment, it was completely obvious to that employer how painfully ‘green’ I was while working. Spending a lot of money for that certification was just a way market myself, and it did not mean that I was a good heavy equipment operator.
When I went into personal training, the certification schools available were extremely similar in structure to the certification organizations involved in the home inspection industry, which I’ll get into in a minute.
Most large gyms in Las Vegas only employed trainers who were certified by one or more certain educational organizations. I obtained my certification through NESTA (The National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association), one of the larger (but not the biggest) educational companies out there for trainers.
And here’s how it works:
You pay NESTA $300 or so for some study material (an e-book and a few DVD’s, as I recall), which, upon passing the multiple choice test at an approved testing location, you become a member, and have the right to utilize their logos in marketing yourself. To KEEP your certification and membership, you must regularly enroll in continuing education, choosing from various other courses, indefinitely. Keeping that membership and the title of being ‘NESTA-certified’, you’d have to continue paying the organization, year after year.
Now, in all honesty, I enjoyed the education. But I didn’t learn anything from their materials that I couldn’t have learned just as easily on my own. But I had been convinced that education provided from a certification company was special.
NESTA, and other larger educational organizations like it, have utilized a tactic to carve out a business niche and change the standards of the personal training industry across the country to propagate the belief that such certifications are necessary. And this circular belief continues to reinforce such a standard, while anyone serious about going into the business for themselves could accomplish the same education on their own. Such educational entities ultimately enjoy forcing these small entrepreneurs into becoming a member to satisfy this artificial perception.
In 2012, after years in the construction and home improvement industries (and a brief stint in personal training, of course), I took my residential construction and marketing experience, and set my focus on the home inspection business.