Learn How to Become a Home Inspector

Why Penn Foster?

  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Start Penn Foster’s Home Inspector Career Diploma Program today, and complete your program in as little as two months. You’ll even have the chance to take a step-by-step, guided tour through the actual home inspection process, and earn industry credits through the National Association of Home Inspectors. The construction industry is seeing steady growth, with building inspector jobs expected to increase 12% in the coming years.*

Learn how to open your own business and all phases of the home inspection process:

  • Inspection standards
  • Structural design
  • Interior and exterior inspections
  • Electrical and mechanical inspections

Curriculum Details

Course 1

Starting Your Program
HI100 The Inspection Process

This lesson introduces you to the expanding field of home inspection. You’ll take a step-by-step, guided tour through the actual home inspection process, learn how the real estate and home inspection industries work together, and see how new laws have created an increased demand for home inspection services.


  • Understand what a home inspector does.
  • Explain the relationship between the home inspection and real estate industries.
  • Describe the home inspection process.
  • List the major qualifications needed to become a home inspector.
  • Prepare home inspection reports.
  • List the basic types of home inspection reports.
  • Understand how building codes affect home inspection.
  • Describe home inspection standards.

Course 2

HI101 Structural Design

This lesson introduces you to the basics of home construction. You’ll study several simple house plans and construction drawings and learn how to recognize the visible clues to hidden structural flaws.


  • Name four kinds of exterior wall surface coverings.
  • Recognize three different types of house plans.
  • Explain how uniform construction methods became widespread.
  • Explain why single-family homes and multifamily homes require different inspection methods.
  • Recognize structural weaknesses in a home from poor building practices.
  • Describe the process of inspecting a floor structure and an attic.
  • Name and describe basic types of roof frames and ventilation devices.

Course 3

HI102 Exterior Inspections

This lesson covers the exterior inspection, which is the first phase of your total home inspection. The detailed information you gather during the exterior inspection will give you important clues to the home’s interior condition.


  • Determine how soil conditions and the water table may cause structural problems in a house.
  • Define the term differential settlement, and explain why it may be a cause for concern.
  • Describe signs of moisture intrusion in a wall, and explain the concerns.
  • Identify the parts of a chimney and how each affects its function and safety.
  • Determine whether the slopes of driveways, garages, and walkways are appropriate to control runoff and prevent damage to structures.
  • Name three important conditions to check for when inspecting a garage.
  • Describe several types of exterior wall coverings and the conditions that lead to their deterioration.
  • Understand the importance of window safety and energy efficiency.

Course 4

HI103 Electrical Inspections

This lesson explains the home inspector’s role in ensuring electrical safety and examines aspects of electrical systems from the home inspector’s point of view. You’ll learn to identify malfunctions and potential dangers, and use national standards to describe and evaluate each part of the system.


  • List and define the main components of a home electrical system.
  • Calculate the total amperage and wattage of a house, and determine if they’re adequate for the home’s needs.
  • Define the major components and connections inside a panel box.
  • Explain the basics of home wiring.
  • List ASHI standards for the inspection of home electrical systems.
  • Outline a basic inspection procedure for electrical systems.
  • Recognize potential electrical hazards.

Course 5

HI104 Mechanical Inspections

As a home inspector, you’ll have two primary responsibilities when inspecting a home’s heating and cooling systems: first, observe and operate the systems to find any visible defects and potential hazards; and second, answer your clients’ questions about the systems. A home inspector also needs to be able to evaluate both the operation of the plumbing system and how the plumbing system relates to the entire house structure.


  • Name and describe the components of heating and cooling systems.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each system.
  • Know the nationally accepted standards for inspecting heating and cooling systems.
  • Explain what to look for and what to report during a standard plumbing inspection.
  • Describe the major components of a water heater and a drainage system.
  • List and describe the various piping materials commonly found in water distribution systems.

Course 6

HI105 Interior Inspections

This lesson focuses on the next phase of the home inspection process—the interior. Although the exterior and the structure portions of a home inspection tend to provide more critical data about a home’s condition, clients are often more interested in the details of the home’s interior, since that’s where they’ll be living.


  • Describe ASHI standards for interior inspection.
  • Conduct a thorough kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area inspection.
  • Describe when and how you should inspect major household appliances.
  • Describe various types of insulation materials and their uses.
  • Discuss the importance of vapor barriers.
  • Explain how proper insulation contributes to energy conservation.
  • List common air pollutants found in homes.

Course 7

HI106 Professional Practices

In this lesson, you’ll examine the business side of what it takes to be a successful home inspector. You’ll learn planning, effective marketing, accurate reporting, a positive image, and an understanding of the client’s point of view.


  • Prepare a business plan for your new home inspection business.
  • Describe marketing and advertising possibilities.
  • Understand the purpose of business records and financial statements.
  • Summarize typical home-buying concerns from the client’s point of view.
  • Point out potentially dangerous conditions to clients.
  • Discuss repair options when clients ask for suggestions.
  • Complete a home inspection consistent with national standards.
Additional Course Materials

Textbook: The Complete Book of Home Inspection


  • 3-D Inspection Form software demo
  • Home Inspection DVD

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Home Inspector sample lesson, click here.

Home Inspector Certification

The National Association of Home Inspectors has evaluated the Penn Foster Home Inspector Program as being worth 40 CEUs toward their member’s yearly requirement. Members must apply their CEUs in the same calendar year that they earned them. (Applies to ONE year’s requirement).

State Requirements

Licensing and certification requirements for Home Inspectors vary greatly from state-to-state throughout the United States, and sometimes contain specific educational course approvals. You should contact your state's appropriate licensing bureau for the current requirements or your state legislature for pending legislation. This is particularly important for residents of Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Construction and Building Inspectors, on the Internet here (visited February 5, 2014).

Home inspectors assess the structure, electrical and plumbing systems, damages, and safety concerns for properties being bought or sold. Penn Foster provides a Home Inspector Program that leads to a Career Diploma. Here are a few qualities that effective home inspectors have in common:

  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Problem solver: Finding the missing piece can be rewarding and fun.
  • Independent: You create your own schedule with little or no supervision.
  • Persistent: You work until the job is done, and done well.
  • Honest: You are ethical in your work for customers.

I was able to leverage my Penn Foster training into starting my own home inspection company. Even as a new company in a down economy, we're doing very well. Most importantly, my Penn Foster training gave me both the knowledge and confidence to start a completely different second career.

- Robert G., Home Inspector Graduate

The Penn Foster Home Inspector Program was great. Penn Foster is a wonderful career school. They gave me an opportunity to succeed and to better myself. Thank you.

- Gus M., Home Inspector Graduate

I graduated from the Carpenter, Home Inspector, Residential Electrician, HVAC Technician, Plumber, and Landscaping Technology Programs. They are all excellent programs! Penn Foster programs are great!

- Alfred P., Home Inspector, Carpenter, Residential Electrician, HVAC Technician, Plumber, and Landscaping Technology Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books, learning aids and, upon graduation, The Complete Book of Home Inspection, 3-D Inspection Form software demo, and Home Inspection DVD included
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Home Inspector academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Does Penn Foster’s Home Inspector Program offer any certifications for this career field?

Yes, the National Association of Home Inspectors has evaluated the Penn Foster Home Inspector Program as being worth 40 CEUs toward their member’s yearly requirement. Members must apply their CEUs in the same calendar year that they earned them. (Applies to ONE year’s requirement). For more details, visit NAHI’s website or call a Penn Foster admissions counselor.

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