HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Process

This page provides the application instructions through FHA Connection for HUD housing counseling Certification.

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HUD Certified Housing 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 will be available on August 1, 2017. More information is available in this recent 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 a PDF of the graphic.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Overview and Process

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

  1. Read the eligibility requirements.
     
  2. Applications must be submitted online.
     
  3. In addition to the application, your exam score must have been transferred and accepted into FHA Connection.
     
  4. You must include a valid email address in your application.
     
  5. Now you may begin your application in FHA Connection.
     
  6. On the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application page, change the Counselor Type to Certified.

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

  7. A pop-up warning message displays advising the user that any HECM training data will be cleared. Click OK to clear the message.

    Click OK when the 'Changing Counselor Type to Certified will clear all training data' message appears
     

    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.

  8. 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.
     
  9. Click send to submit the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application.

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

How applications are processed:

When the application is successfully processed, the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Results page appears with this message: CERTIFIED COUNSELOR APPLICATION SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED.

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

If your application is successful:

  1. A Success message 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.
     
  2. Counselors must now establish a FHAC User ID.

    If your application is not successful, an error screen will appear. A list of errors will be provided. If the applicant cannot remedy the error message, send an e-mail to the FHA Connection Single Family Help desk at sfadmin@hud.gov. You may also send an email to housing.counseling@hud.gov with "Application Error for Certified Counselor" in the subject line to inquire about the status of your application.

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

FHA Connection 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 after notifying your agency’s coordinator. 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 only as a coordinator, just apply for an FHAC User ID.

If applying to be both a coordinator and counselor, you must complete the HUD Certified Housing Counselor application first and be accepted by HUD.

After submitting your application, you can request 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.

     
  2. The Registering to Use the FHA Connection page displays. Then, select Housing Counseling.

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

    The Housing Counseling link is located at the bottom of the page.

     
  3. Or, go directly to the Housing Counselor Registration page at: 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.

  4. Reminder: if you are registering only 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 HCS ID for that agency.
     
  5. If your email address in your record is correct, you will receive an email within 48 hours informing you that an ID was issued. Counselors will receive a letter in the mail within 7-10 business days, which will include the user ID and password. For application coordinators, a letter with the user's FHAC User ID is mailed to the counseling agency's Chief Executive Officer. Remember your password; you will need it to sign into the FHA Connection.

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 Responsibilities

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Employment Request

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.

  1. Log on to the FHA Connection and select the counseling functions. You can access the Counseling Functions menu through the following sequence of FHA Connection links: Single Family FHA, Single Family Origination, and Counseling Functions.

    Counseling Functions: HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database (New), HECM counselor Roster Held, Counseling Certificate (New), Counseling Exam Lookup (New), HECM Counseling Reports, Certified Counselor Employment Request (New).

  2. Select Certified Counselor Employment Request on the Counseling Functions menu.
     
  3. 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.

  4. To request employment validation for another agency, the counselor enters the five-digit 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).
     
  5. If it is the correct housing counseling agency, OK is clicked. If not, Cancel is clicked and the correct agency ID is entered. Up to five agencies can be entered at a time.
     
  6. Click Send to complete the request.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Update and Maintain Personal Information

Active status counselors on the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database maintain 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 sequence of FHA Connection links: Single Family FHA, Single Family Origination, and Counseling Functions.
     
  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.

     
  4. The counselor’s e-mail address must be entered in the Confirm E-mail field each time an update is processed.
     
  5. If the counselor’s employment was validated, the Agency ID has a link to the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Certificate.

    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.

  6. Once a certified counselor’s employment is validated by the housing counseling agency, the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Certificate can be printed and/or downloaded. The Agency ID is clicked to display the agency’s certificate for the HUD certified housing counselor, as seen in the image above. Note: The link is only available if the agency has an Active status in HCS and the counselor’s employment was validated.

    HUD Certified Housing Counselor Certificate

 

FHAC Application Coordinator Responsibilities

The purpose of the FHAC Application Coordinator is to certify 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 four FHAC Application Coordinators and at least two are recommended. The coordinator cannot be the same person currently registered in LOCCS for the agency. The coordinator cannot certify their own employment.

You must register in FHA Connection (FHAC) as the FHAC Application Coordinator for your agency. Upon completion of your registration, you will get an email stating that a letter with your User ID will be mailed to the Executive Director of your agency and should be received in 7-10 days.

The Registering to Use the FHA Connection page provides a link to the Counseling Agencies Application Coordinator registration form. (See the FHAC User ID page)

Certifying HUD Certified Housing Counselors’ Employment

  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, 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.

    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.

     
  4. Click the counselor’s name to see their record.
     
  5. Down at the bottom is where you check a box to validate their employment. Click Send. That counselor’s name will now appear in the HUD Certified Housing Counselor database.

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.
 

Other FHAC Application Coordinator Responsibilities within FHAC

  1. Maintaining the employment status in FHAC of counselors working for the agency
     
  2. Viewing/printing Housing Counselor Certificates working for the agency

NOTE: An agency cannot have the same person accessing eLOCCS and FHA Connection. Agencies must identify a separate person to be the user of eLOCCS and a separate person to be the user of FHA Connection.

HUD Certified Housing Counselor or Agency Public 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 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.

A list of agencies that employ the counselor will be listed on the page once the counselor database has been searched.