July/August 2019, Volume 7 Issue 10

Mythbusters Q&A: Housing Counseling Certification

HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling held a webinar, Housing Counseling Program Certification: HUD Exchange Resources, on May 23, 2019, to review the certification requirements in brief and demonstrate the HUD Exchange Certification Rule pages. A number of specific questions were asked, as well as some frequently asked questions on the certification rule and exam, including:

General Questions

Can you tell us how many individuals are certified and as of what date?

  • Periodically, as part of training or outreach, the Office of Housing Counseling may provide updates on the total number of HUD-certified housing counselors. During the webinar held on May 23, 2019, HUD relayed that 804 counselors were certified. To find the most updated information, check the Tracking Our Progress page, which shows the percentage of housing counseling agencies with certified counselors.

What’s the role of a HUD Intermediary in the certification process?

Housing Counseling FAQ

If a counselor is hired in the middle of 2020, how long do they have to become certified?

What percentage of counselors need to be certified per agency?

  • There is no percentage. Every housing counseling agency must have at least one certified counselor. The number will depend on the number of counselors needed to deliver the HUD housing counseling services outlined in the agency’s most recently approved housing counseling work plan.

If the staff member who serves as the housing counseling supervisor does not perform direct housing counseling, does he/she need to pass the certification exam?

Do I have to apply for certification again when I change employment by a HUD-approved agency?

Practice Exam & Training

Why don’t you receive the results from the practice exam?

  • The practice exam is designed to provide a feel for the course format, not specific answers or results. Following completion of the practice exam, candidates receive a performance report with recommended areas for improvement. The recommendations are based on how well candidates perform in each content area of the examination:
    • Areas in which candidates perform well receive feedback that some additional review is recommended for continued success
    • Areas in which performance was marginal receive feedback that additional study is needed for moderate improvement
    • Areas in which performance was weak receive feedback that significant study is needed for considerable improvement

What are the fees associated with the practice exam?

  • There are no fees for the practice exam.

Is it possible to get a different practice exam?

  • HUD currently offers only one version of the practice exam. HUD is working on additional ways to help counselors study for the exam and will update counselors through the Housing Counseling mailing list when additional materials are available.

Will there be any certification training in the state of NC?

  • Training is available across the country in many locations. Please view the weekly training digest where a number of HUD Office of Housing Counseling training partners offer certification training.

Certifcation Exam

Do I have to retake the exam?

What is the cost of the exam?

Can you take the exam again if you don’t pass the first time?

What is the minimum percentage a person needs to pass the exam?

How long can you pause the exam and come back to it?

FHA Connection (FHAC)

What is an FHAC Application Coordinator?

  • An FHAC Application Coordinator is an individual that a HUD-participating agency designates to verify the employment status of individuals who work for their agency.

Is the FHAC Coordinator for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) allowed to be the FHA Coordinator for HUD Housing Counselor Certification?

  • Yes. The only prohibition, due to the HUD system protocols, is that the coordinator cannot be the same person currently registered in in the Line of Credit Control System (LOCCS) or the Web Access Security Subsystem (WASS, Secure System), nor can the coordinator currently act as the FHA lender coordinator for the agency.

Can an agency complete the FHAC coordinator process prior to the counselor taking the exam?

  • Yes, the agency can register their FHAC Coordinator before a counselor takes and passes the exam. For more information on the steps associated for registration of an FHAC Coordinator, please view the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Process page.

Why does the process take so long after a counselor has passed the exam?

  • Some users are not familiar with FHA Connection and the steps required to complete the HUD certified housing counselor application process. There are a number of tips for FHA Connection steps, including verification of employment by the FHAC Coordinator, on the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Process page.

What if your agency manager is already registered in the FHA Connection?

If you are already a HECM counselor, what do you need to do to become certified?

  • While you do need to take and pass the HUD Certified Housing Counseling exam, if you have an FHAC user ID already, you don’t need to request another FHA Connection ID. Please see the HUD certified counselor’s Application Instructions.

To further assist counselors in preparing for the HUD Housing Counselor certification exam, the HUD Office of Housing Counseling launched a new, free HUD Certified Housing Counselor Knowledge Assessment Tool located on the HUD Housing Counselor training and testing page at HUDHousingCounselors.com. This Knowledge Assessment does not replace or replicate the existing practice exam in style, format, or length, but does provide candidates with more detailed feedback. The assessment also offers insight into the rationale behind correct and incorrect answers, as well as recommended topics for further study. With questions linked to training content, the feedback will offer teaching guidance to help candidates identify areas of strength and weakness for continued study. This new Knowledge Assessment tool is also available in Spanish.