HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Process

After passing the HUD Certified housing counselor examination and transferring the exam results to the FHA Connection (FHAC), Counselors must apply for certification in the FHA Connection and have their employment validated by the agency FHA Connection application coordinator. Every agency must designate at least one person to serve as the agency application coordinator. This page provides detailed instructions and accompanying screenshots for Housing Counselors and Agency FHA Connection application coordinators.

You may apply as a HUD certified housing counselor, as an application coordinator, or as both. Each of these roles require different actions to be taken within FHA Connection.

This page has 3 different sets of instructions. Click on the icons below to refresh the page at the start of each instruction set. Note that both counselors and coordinators can print counselor certificates.

Did you know?

HUD keeps track of which agencies are complying with the final rule by using the agency HCS IDs reported by counselors in FHA Connection.

For example, if a counselor is employed by a branch or affiliate agency but registered with the Intermediary (parent) agency HCS ID in FHA Connection, rather than the branch HCS ID or the affiliate agency HCS ID, the counselor will only be credited to the Intermediary. The branch or affiliate will be identified as not in compliance with the final rule if there are no counselors associated with the branch HCS ID or affiliate HCS ID reported in FHA Connection. If you are a counselor or application coordinator who works at a branch or for an affiliate agency, please ensure you have entered the agency HCS ID in FHA Connection for the branch office location or affiliate agency for which you work, or enter both the branch or affiliate and Intermediary agency HCS ID. If you don’t know the HCS ID of your branch location or your agency, you may search the map online to find it listed under “Agency ID”.

HUD Certified Housing Counselors

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Instructions Icon

FHAC Application Coordinators

FHA Connection Application Coordinator Instructions Icon

Public Search

Public Search Instructions Icon

Prior to applying for certification in FHA Connection (FHAC):

  • Take the exam through HUDhousingcounselors.com.
  • Once you pass the exam, transfer your exam results to the FHA connection.
    (Double check information is accurate, e.g. email, SSN, and agency HCS ID.)

Sections labeled with “counselor” under “Find by Topic” below are for counselors seeking certification in FHA Connection:

  1. Apply for certification in the FHA connection.
  2. Obtain a User ID on FHA connection.
    (You must complete your application in FHA connection prior to applying for a User ID.)
  3. Request validation for multiple employers through the FHA connection after receiving your User ID. (Note: This section is only applicable if you work for more than one agency or if your HCS Agency ID has changed)
  4. Update and maintain your personal information in FHA connection as needed.

For instructions to print a counselor certificate, view the “Print Counselor Certificate” tab. Both counselors and coordinators are able to print certificates.

Sections labeled with “counselor” under “Find by Topic” below are for application coordinators. The purpose of the FHAC Application Coordinator is to validate the counselor’s employment at the agency and to manage the data regarding the counselor’s employment status in the future. Application coordinators must:

  1. View and understand their overall instructions
  2. Apply for a User ID in FHA Connection
  3. Validate counselors’ employment as needed
  4. Validate the end of counselors’ employment as needed
  5. Export spreadsheets of certified counselors

For instructions to print a counselor certificate, view the “Print Counselor Certificate” tab. Both counselors and coordinators are able to print certificates.

The final section under “Find by Topic” below covers nation-wide public search functions on HUD.gov for HUD certified housing counselors or agencies.

Once counselors have become HUD-certified via FHA Connection, the public can search on HUD.gov for both HUD certified housing counselors counseling agencies nation-wide.

Download Instructions as a PDF

Find By Topic

Counselor Eligibility Requirements

To become a HUD certified housing counselor, a counselor must meet the following two eligibility requirements: 1) pass the HUD Housing Counselor Certification written examination and 2) work for an agency approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program.

There are two steps within this process:

  • Exam: Under the exam step, a counselor registers, pays the examination fee, and takes the exam through Hudhousingcounselors.com. The certification written examination became available on August 1, 2017. More information is available in this Federal Register Notice.
  • Application: Once the counselor has taken and passed the HUD Housing Counselor Certification written exam, the individual applies through FHA Connection. The individual alerts their Agency FHAC Coordinator to validate their employment through FHA Connection.

Note: At all times, HUD participating housing counseling agencies must have an Agency FHAC Application Coordinator registered in FHA Connection. A counselor will not be officially placed in the certified counselor database until the Agency FHAC Application Coordinator successfully validates counselor employment in the FHAC system.

The graphic below includes the entire process, inclusive of both Exam and Application steps, for counselors to become HUD certified.

Becoming HUD certified involves two processes: the exam and the application. First, a counselor needs to register for the examination through HUDHousingCounselors.com and pay the fee to take the exam. Then, the counselor must take the exam. If the counselor does not pass the exam, they must register again and pay the fee again. Once the counselor passes the exam, they can begin the application process through FHA Connection. The counselor must register for an FHAC ID in the FHA Connection. After they receive their ID and password, they must request employment verification. An Agency FHAC Application Coordinator will verify that the counselor works for a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency. Once the Application Coordinator verifies the counselor’s employment, the counselor is HUD Certified. If a Housing Counselor is hired by a different HUD-approved agency at any time, they must have their employment verified in FHA Connection by their new FHAC Application Coordinator. If a Housing Counselor is no longer employed by a HUD-approved agency, the housing counselor is no longer HUD certified.

Download this graphic.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Instructions IconApply for Certification

Please read these notes in their entirety before taking any action.

  • Read the eligibility requirements.
     
  • Applications must be submitted online.
     
  • In addition to the application, your exam score must have been transferred and accepted into FHA Connection.
     
  • You must include a valid email address in your application.
     
  • If you receive an error message that you cannot remedy after reading the instructions on this page, send an email with a screenshot of the error message and a description of the issue to the FHA Connection Single Family Help Desk at sfadmin@hud.gov.

Beginning your application in FHA Connection:

  1. Go to the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application page and change the Counselor Type to Certified. A pop-up warning message appears advising the user that any HECM training data will be cleared. Click OK to clear the message.

Change the Counselor Type field to Certified in the dropdown menu.

  1. Enter all information on the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application page in the Certified Counselor Information section. In the Counselor’s Exam ID Box, the applicant should enter the ten digit Counselor ID provided on the applicant’s profile page on hudhousingcounselors.com. Enter the 5-digit HCS agency ID issued to your employer (the first digit is an 8 or 9) and your hire date. If you work for multiple agencies, you will have to enter the additional agencies after you receive your FHAC User ID. If you don’t know the HCS ID of your agency or branch location, you may search the map online to find it listed under “Agency ID”.

On the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application screen, enter the 5-digit agency ID issues to your employer and your hire date. Enter the 10-digit Counselor Exam ID provided on your profile page on hudhousingcounselors.com.

 

  1. Click send at the bottom of the page to submit the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application.

Note: Applicant must complete all fields on the application screen.

If your application is successful:

  1. A Success message (CERTIFIED COUNSELOR APPLICATION SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED) will appear at the top of the Application Results page. You are not in the certified counselor database yet.

    Note: A counselor will not be officially placed in the certified counselor database until the agency Application Coordinator successfully validates counselor employment in the FHAC system.

When the application is successfully processed, a screen appears that shows the message 'Success: CERTIFIED COUNSELOR APPLICATION SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED'.

 

  1. Counselors must now establish an FHAC User ID.

If your application is not successful:

  1. An error screen will appear. A list of errors will be provided for the applicant to correct.

Error Screen: Counselor Application not processed due to error(s). Review Errors.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Instructions IconObtain an FHAC User ID

All HUD Certified Housing Counselors must establish an FHA Connection (FHAC) User ID.

If applying as a HUD Certified Housing Counselor, complete the HUD Certified Housing Counselor application first and then apply for a User ID. However, if the counselor is already a HECM counselor, the FHA Connection user ID issued as a HECM counselor is used for both HECM and certified counseling. The counselor does not register for another FHA Connection User ID.

If applying to be both an Application Coordinator and Counselor, you must complete the HUD Certified Housing Counselor application first and be accepted by HUD.

Requesting an FHAC User ID:

  1. From the FHAC Welcome page (https://entp.hud.gov/clas/index.cfm) select Registering a New User.

On the FHA Connection Welcome Page, select Registering a New User under the Getting Started menu.

  1. The Registering to Use the FHA Connection page displays. Click the link for Housing Counseling at the bottom of the page.

On the Registering to Use the FHA Connection page, select Housing Counseling.

  1. You will arrive at the Housing Counseling Registration page. You can also access this page directly by going to the following URL: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hecm_cnsl_reg.cfm.

You may also go directly to the Housing Counselor Registration page. Click Yes to apply for an FHAC User ID as a counselor. If applicable, check yes and enter the agency ID if you are applying as an Application Coordinator for your agency. Remember the password entered as it will be needed once you receive your FHAC User ID. Once the page is complete, click Send to process the page and submit your application for an FHAC User ID.

Reminders:

  • If you are also registering as an Application Coordinator, click "Are you registering as an FHA Connection Application Coordinator for the housing counseling agency that employs you?" and enter the Housing Counseling System (HCS) ID for that agency.
  • Double check that the information you entered (such as your email address and social security number) is accurate. The email address you enter is how you will receive your FHA Connection User ID.
  • Remember the password you set, since this is the password you will need to use once you receive your FHAC User ID.

If your email address in your record is correct, you will receive an email within 48 hours informing you that an ID was issued. When a new user ID is issued, counselors will receive a secure, encrypted email from the FHA Connection within 2 business days, which will include the user ID.

Keep your login information in a safe place because you will need your User ID and Password each time you access the FHAC to update your own roster information. FHA requires that your password be changed every 21 days.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Instructions IconRequest Validation for More Than One Employer

Note: this step only applies to counselors who:

  • Work for more than one agency
  • Are looking to change their employment
  • Work for an agency whose HCS ID has changed

If you only work for one agency and entered that ID in your application, please proceed to step 4.

HUD Certified Housing Counselors need to request employment validation once they receive their FHAC User IDs. On the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application, only one employer is entered. If the certified counselor works for more than one housing counseling agency, or recently changed employers, a request can be made to validate employment for another agency. Finally, over time, a housing counseling agency’s HCS ID may change and employment may need to be validated under the new ID.

  1. Log on to the FHA Connection. Select Single Family FHA.

    Select Single Family FHA.

  2. Select Single Family Origination.

    Select Single Family Origination.

  3. Select Counseling Functions.

    Select Counseling Functions.

  4. On the Counseling Functions page, select Certified Counselor Employment Request.

    On the Counseling Functions page, select Certified Counselor Employment Request

  5. This displays the Certified Counselor Employment Request page.

The Certified Counselor Employment Request Page allows you to enter up to 5 new agency IDs in the New Employment Validation Requests field. Once you enter the ID(s), a pop up message appears to notify you which agency you have selected. Click OK if the agency is correct; if not, click Cancel.

  1. If the certified counselor is employed by more than one housing counseling agency, or recently changed employers, make a request to validate employment for another agency by entering the 5-digit HCS Agency ID of the housing counseling agency in one of the text-entry boxes in the New Employment Validation Requests field. A pop-up message appears stating the name of the housing counseling agency (or stating the agency was not found).

  2. If it is the correct housing counseling agency, select OK. If not, select Cancel and enter the correct agency ID. You can enter up to five agencies at a time.

  3. Click Send to complete the request.

  4. The Certified Counselor Employment Request page is refreshed and the Awaiting Employment Validation section of the page displays the pending employment validation record.

The Certified Counselor Employment Request page is refreshed and the Awaiting Employment Validation section of the page displays the pending employment validation record.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Instructions IconUpdate and Maintain Personal Information

Active status counselors on the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database are responsible for updating and maintaining their own information on the FHA Connection.

  1. Log on to the FHA Connection and select the counseling functions. You can access the Counseling Functions menu through the following steps:

    • Select Single Family FHA

    • Select Single Family Origination

    • Select Counseling Functions

    • Select HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database

  2. Select HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database. The HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database Update/Renewal page is displayed with the counselor’s information.

  3. Update Personal Information and Contact information as needed.

On the Update/Renewal screen, you must enter and confirm your email address each time an update is made.

  1. The counselor’s email address must be entered in the Confirm E-mail field each time an update is processed.

FHA Connection Application Coordinator Instructions IconFHAC Application Coordinator Instructions

The purpose of the FHAC Application Coordinator is to validate the counselor’s employment at the agency and to manage the data regarding the counselor’s employment status in the future.

  • HUD-approved housing counseling agencies must designate at least one individual to act as FHAC Application Coordinator.
  • An agency can have a maximum of 4 FHAC Application Coordinators and at least 2 are recommended.
  • If you are already a HECM coordinator, you do not have to apply again to be an FHAC application coordinator.
  • The coordinator cannot validate their own employment.
  • Intermediary Coordinators may perform the coordinator functions for their affiliates. Intermediaries may also obtain an FHAC ID simply to view their affiliates or if they want to validate and/or terminate counselors from their network.

First, you must register for a User ID in FHA Connection (FHAC) as the FHAC Application Coordinator for your agency.

FHA Connection Application Coordinator Instructions IconRequest an FHAC User ID

  1. From the FHAC Welcome page (https://entp.hud.gov/clas/index.cfm) select Registering a New User.

On the FHA Connection Welcome Page, select Registering a New User under the Getting Started menu.

  1. The Registering to Use the FHA Connection page displays. Click the link for Housing Counseling at the bottom of the page.

On the Registering to Use the FHA Connection page, select Housing Counseling.

  1. You will arrive at the Housing Counseling Registration page. You can also access this page directly by going to the following URL: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hecm_cnsl_reg.cfm. If you don’t know the HCS ID of your agency or branch location, you may search the map online to find it listed under “Agency ID”.

You may also go directly to the Housing Counselor Registration page. Click Yes to apply for an FHAC User ID as a counselor. If applicable, check yes and enter the agency ID if you are applying as an Application Coordinator for your agency. Remember the password entered as it will be needed once you receive your FHAC User ID. Once the page is complete, click Send to process the page and submit your application for an FHAC User ID.

Reminders:

  • If you are registering only as an Application Coordinator, do not click “Yes” to the first box, “Are you registering as a member of the Housing Counselor Database”.
  • Click "Are you registering as an FHA Connection Application Coordinator for the housing counseling agency that employs you?" and enter the Housing Counseling System (HCS) ID for that agency.
  • Double check that the email address you entered is accurate, as this is how you will receive your FHA Connection User ID.
  • Remember the password you set, since this is the password you will need to use once you receive your FHAC User ID.

Upon completion of your registration, you will get an email stating that a secure, encrypted email has been sent to the Agency Program Manager from the FHA Connection within 2 business days, which will include the user ID.

Keep your login information in a safe place because you will need your User ID and Password each time you access the FHAC to update your own roster information. FHA requires that your password be changed every 21 days.

FHA Connection Application Coordinator Instructions IconValidate Employment of a Certified Housing Counselor

  1. Log into the FHA Connection.

  2. Navigate to the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database by following these steps:

    • Select Single Family FHA

    • Select Single Family Origination

    • Select Counseling Functions

    • Select HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database

  3. Enter the counselor’s last name.

  4. Select NO under “Validated by Agency.”

  5. Select Certified under “Counselor Type.”

  6. Click the Send button. You don’t need to change any of the other fields. You should now see the counselor’s name or a list if there is more than one with that last name. Click the counselor’s name to see their record.

Enter the counselor's last name, select NO under Validated by agency, and select Certified for Counselor type, then click the Send button. You don't need to change any of the other fields. You should now see the counselor's name or a list if there is more than one with that last name.

  1. At the bottom of the page, check a box to validate their employment. Click Send.

On the Coordinator page, check the counselor validation check box to validate employment and click Send at the bottom of the page to process the page.

  1. The counselor’s name will now appear in the HUD Certified Housing Counselor database.

FHA Connection Application Coordinator Instructions IconValidate End of Employment of a Certified Housing Counselor

The housing counseling agency’s Application Coordinator signs on to the FHA Connection to end the certified counselor’s employment validation with the agency.

  1. Log into the FHA Connection.

  2. On the FHA Connection Main Menu, click the Single Family FHA button.

  3. Click Single Family Origination on the Single Family Business Areas menu.

  4. Click Counseling Functions on the Single Family Origination menu.

  5. Click HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database on the Counseling Functions menu.

  6. On the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database page, enter the required search criteria in the following fields and click Send:

    • Last Name and First Name: Enter the counselor’s name in the Last Name and First Name fields. The first name is optional and a partial last name can be entered.

    • Counselor Type: Select Certified.

    • Counselor Status: Select Both.

    • Validated by Agency: Select Yes – Entered Agency Only or Yes – Include Counselors for Branches, Affiliates, and Sub Grantees.

    • HECM Training/Exam Status: Select Both.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database page with search criteria for a certified counselor

  1. Click the counselor’s name on the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database List page.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database List page with certified counselor who matches search criteria

  1. The counselor’s profile is displayed on the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database – Coordinator page. Scroll down to the Certified Counselor Information section.

Figure 7: HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database – Coordinator page with an employment validation end date for a certified counselor

  1. Enter the date the counselor’s employment with the agency was ended in the End Date field and click Send. The certified counselor is no longer listed as employed by the agency.

FHA Connection Application Coordinator Instructions IconExport a Certified Counselor Spreadsheet

Application coordinators are able to export spreadsheets of all certified counselors who work for the agency. Application coordinators who work for an intermediary agency can export a spreadsheet of all counselors who work in the intermediary’s network. To begin, the Application Coordinator signs on to the FHA Connection to query the certified housing counselors.

  1. Log into the FHA Connection and navigate to the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database by following these steps:

    • Select Single Family FHA

    • Select Single Family Origination

    • Select Counseling Functions

    • Select HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database

  2. On the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database page,

    • For Counselor Type, select: Certified

    • For Validated by Agency:

      • Select “Yes - Include Counselors for Branches, Affiliates, and Sub Grantees” if you are an intermediary and want to see counselors for all affiliates

      • Select “Yes - Entered Agency Only” if you do not work for an intermediary or only wish to see the certified counselors from one agency

        select Yes - Include Counselors for Branches, Affiliates and subgrantees

  3. The result will be a list of all certified housing counselors that meet the criteria you searched. Click on the “Download report” button to receive the information in a excel spreadsheet.

    Download Report button

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Instructions IconPrint Counselor Certificate

Once the counselor’s employment has been validated by the FHAC Application Coordinator, the Counselor’s certificate will be available.

Counselors

For counselors wishing to access their own certificate, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to the FHA Connection. Select Single Family FHA.

    Select Single Family FHA.

  2. Select Single Family Origination.

    Select Single Family Origination.

  3. Select Counseling Functions.

    Select Counseling Functions.

  4. On the Counseling Functions page, select HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database.

    On the Counseling Functions page, select HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database

  5. If you are a certified counselor, you are automatically taken to your profile.

    If you are an application coordinator or both a counselor and a coordinator, type your name in to view your profile.

  6. The Agency ID will link to the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Certificate for printing or downloading. The link is only available if the agency has an Active status in HCS and the counselor’s employment was validated.

In the Certified Counselor Information section, if (requested) is next to the start date, the agency has not yet been validated. The Certified Agency Validation History links to a pop-up page with the current and prior employment validation records for the counselor. If the counselor's employment was validated, the Agency ID contains a hyperlink to the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Certificate.

Public Search Instructions IconPublic Search Functions on HUD.gov

Search for Counseling Agencies with HUD Certified Housing Counselors

On the Counseling Agency search screen under Counseling type select Certified. The result provides a list of active housing counseling agencies with a HUD certified housing counselor.

HUD.gov Counseling Agencies Search screen

Public HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database Search

On HUD.gov’s HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database screen enter the 6 digit housing counselor ID (Found on the Agency Certificate). Click send to locate the counselor record.

Enter the 6 digit counselor ID (FHA Connection User ID). Click send to locate the counselor record.

If a match is found a list of agencies that employ the counselor are listed.

If a match is found a list of agencies that employ the counselor are listed.