Certification Exam

Certification Exam - Transfer Results to FHA Connection

If you have passed the exam, your next step is to authorize the transfer of your passing test results to FHA Connection. To do this, sign in to your account on HUDHousingCounselors.com and select the "Exam" tab in your User Profile. Then, select “Transfer Results to FHA Connection.” If you are already signed in, you can directly access the Transfer Results page. You will receive an email confirmation that contains your Counselor Exam ID, which you will need to complete the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application.

For additional steps to certification visit the HUD Exchange website and view the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Process

A counselor will not be officially placed in the certified counselor database until the Agency FHA Connection Application Coordinator successfully validates counselor employment in the FHA Connection system. After you submit your application in FHA Connection, you should alert your Agency FHA Connection Coordinator to validate your employment.

Certificates are available to print after the candidate's employment is verified in FHA Connection. Find instructions for printing your certificate here

Certification Exam - Development Standards

The certification examination was developed according to professional standards recognized by the testing industry and designed and constructed to be free from bias and measure only approved examination content. The following steps were taken to achieve these goals:

  1. Test content was defined by a diverse panel of subject matter experts who determined the knowledge and skills required to perform the services of a competent housing counselor regardless of the counselor’s cultural background or socioeconomic status. Test content is periodically updated by diverse groups of subject matter experts trained to write, review, and/or edit effective test items and to avoid potential bias.

  2. Subject matter experts are intentionally selected to represent a culturally and geographically diverse cross-section of the housing counseling profession. Under the guidance of a psychometrician, subject matter experts are trained to recognize potential sources for bias; to consider the appropriateness of the question subject matter; and to assess the clarity of the language used to ensure that potential bias was avoided, including cultural and linguistic bias. 

Certification Exam - Exam Agreement

Launching the exam symbolizes your signature and acceptance of the following terms:

  • Each candidate deserves a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate his or her knowledge in the examination process. Therefore, exam security measures have been developed to prevent any candidate from gaining an unfair advantage.
  • All exam materials are the property of HUD. Unauthorized removal of any material is prohibited. Any attempt to reproduce or memorize all or part of the exam is prohibited. Any unauthorized disclosure, publication, copying, reproduction, transmission, distribution, or possession of exam content or materials in any form without the prior express written permission of HUD may result in your disqualification from the HUD housing counselor certification program. The prohibition against “unauthorized disclosure” means you may not discuss the contents of the exam with anyone except those who developed or delivered the exam.
  • A proctor may dismiss a candidate, halt an examination progress, or report a candidate for any unauthorized behavior, such as any of the following: attempting to gain unauthorized admission to an exam site; attempting to take the exam for someone else; creating a disturbance; giving, receiving, or attempting to give or receive help from unauthorized sources; removing, or attempting to remove, exam materials; having in his or her possession any item prohibited from the exam taking area as specified above; exhibiting behavior consistent with memorization or copying of exam items.

Note: Exam sessions may be recorded.

Certification Exam - Limited English Proficiency

Limitadong kasanayan sa ingles    |   제한된 영어 능력     |   Trình độ tiếng anh hạn chế  

Maîtrise limitée de l'anglais            |   英语水平有限       |   Konpetans angle limite 

The HUD Housing Counselor Certification Exam is available in English and Spanish. Candidates with limited English proficiency and limited Spanish proficiency may request additional exam time.

Please complete the Limited Language Proficiency Accommodations Request Form to request additional exam time due to limited English and limited Spanish proficiency. Additional time is limited to one additional hour for a total of 3 hours.

TENGA EN CUENTA: Si el español es su idioma principal, no es elegible para una adaptación de idioma porque el examen está disponible en español.

Please call 800-448-7149 if you require assistance. Support is available 8:00 a.m. –  4:30 p.m. Eastern Time Monday – Friday except federal holidays.

Certification Exam - Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are provided to eligible test takers in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Before completing the Reasonable Accommodations Request Form, please review the information below. Requests that do not comply with the guidance below may not be approved.

If you seek extra time due to limited language proficiency, please review the Limited English Proficiency Policy. Limited language proficiency is not covered by the ADA.

Important Information About the Request Process:

  • Gather documentation before submitting your request.
  • Request accommodations before you register for the exam.
  • Submit a new request for each exam attempt.
  • Request accommodations for exams at a test center at least 45 days in advance (Test Center Locator).
  • Request accommodations for online exams at least 5 days in advance.
  • Note the following accommodations are only available at test centers:
    • Special software or equipment
    • Professional reader or recorder
  • Call 800-448-7149 if you have questions or concerns. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday–Friday except Federal holidays.

Examples of Accepted Documentation 

  • Recommendations of qualified professionals
  • Proof of past testing accommodations
  • Documented observations by educators
  • Results of psycho-educational or other professional evaluations
  • An applicant’s statement of his or her history regarding testing accommodations

Important Notes 

  • Requests are not complete until Support confirms that sufficient documentation has been provided.
  • Online exams are proctored remotely using software that blocks all other computer applications. Screen reader or screen magnification programs will not  function during online exams.
  • Online exam candidates must provide their own equipment.
  • Candidates should contact Support if canceling an exam with accommodations. 
  • Call 800-448-7149 if you have questions. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday–Friday except Federal holidays.

    Certification Exam - Certification Maintenance

    The purpose of HUDHousingCounselors.com is to help counselors prepare for the HUD Housing Counselor Certification Exam and provide access to the exam. After passing the exam and transferring the results to FHA Connection, counselor certification activities shift from HUDHousingCounselors.com to FHA Connection.

    Counselors maintain their certification status by updating personal information on the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Database Update/Renewal page on FHA Connection. Exam results and counselor application information are stored permanently on FHA Connection. Counselors should become familiar with FHA Connection to understand which steps are required to update and maintain personal information, including changing employers.

    It is important to note that agencies are required to validate the end of a counselor’s employment. If a counselor is between agencies, hiring agencies will NOT be able to find the counselor in the database if the previous agency has verified their end of employment in FHA Connection. After the counselor’s end of employment has been verified, they no longer meet the criteria for certification.

    In order to demonstrate to hiring agencies that a counselor has been previously certified, it is recommended that counselors maintain a copy of their most recent certificate which names the counselor and the agency. Certificates are available to download and print from FHA Connection only while a counselor’s employment at an approved housing counseling agency is validated in FHA Connection. Each time a counselor’s employment is verified at a new agency, a certificate is available to print with the new agency’s information displayed.

    A certificate is not available to print during periods when the counselor is not employed by an approved agency or when the counselor is employed by an approved agency but their employment has not been verified in FHA Connection.

    Please visit the HUD Exchange for more information. If you require assistance with FHA Connection Contact housing.counseling@hud.gov and include “FHAC” in the subject line of your message.

    Certification Exam - Test Center Cancellations Due to Emergencies

    In the event of extreme weather or other hazardous or emergency conditions which occur or can reasonably be foreseen in advance of the appointed testing time, Kryterion will make every reasonable attempt to notify candidates of necessary changes to the testing appointment. In the event of extreme weather or other hazardous or emergency condition which occurs immediately before or during the test, the proctor will determine appropriate action. In the case of fire or similar extreme emergency, the testing site will be evacuated, and candidates will be rescheduled. 

    Certification Exam - Receipt of Payment

    The confirmation email you received when you registered for the Certification Exam included the amount you paid for the exam and serves as a purchase receipt.

    You may also generate a receipt by logging into HUDHousingCounselors.com, visiting the Exam Status Center via the Exam Pre-launch page and clicking "Receipts" in the blue header. The receipt will not stipulate payment type.

    Certification Exam - Compliance & Retakes

    Certification Requirement

    Housing counseling required under or provided in connection with HUD programs must be provided only by certified housing counselors who work for organizations approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program. In order to be certified, an individual must both pass a standardized written examination covering six major topic areas, and work for an agency approved to participate in HUD’s housing counseling program. In other words, you can take the certification exam without being employed at a HUD-approved agency; however, to become certified you must pass the exam and work for a HUD-approved agency.  

    Please visit the HUD Exchange to learn how to become a HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency. For steps to certification visit the HUD Exchange website and view the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Process.

    Compliance

    See Housing Counseling: New Certification Requirements Final Rule on the HUD Exchange for more information. On August 5, 2020, HUD published an Interim Final Rule on the Federal Register website to announce a delay in the deadline for housing counselors to become HUD certified. The new final compliance date was August 1, 2021.

    Review Managing Certification After the Final Compliance Date and HUD Exchange FAQs related to compliance for more information.

    Retakes

    There is no limit on retakes for the Certification Exam. However, each retake must be purchased at the stated exam fee. You can take the Certification Exam as many times as necessary to achieve a passing score. If you receive a notice about maximum attempts, please call 800-448-7149. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time Monday–Friday except Federal holidays.

    Certification Exam - Access

    To access the online certification exam, to download Sentinel Secure, and to create your Biometrics Profile, you must be signed into your account on HUDHousingCounselors.com.

    Once you are signed in, select Access Your Online Exam in the Countdown to Your Exam section of your User Profile Dashboard. Read the instructions on the Exam Pre-launch page then select the Proceed to Exam Status Center button at the bottom of the page to access the Webassessor Exam Status Center. From the Webassessor Exam Status Center, select MY ASSESSMENTS to view your exam details, download Sentinel Secure, create your biometrcis profile, or launch the exam. 

    Please contact Kryterion Support if you experience issues with Sentinel, biometrics, or exam launch.

    HUD test takers are never required to log into Webassessor separately. Exam related activity occurs through your HUDHousingCounselors.com account. Links to the Kryterion website are provided for informational purposes only. 

    Certification Exam - Appointment Details

    Your test date details are included in your Assessment Purchase Confirmation email. Your test date details are also located in the Countdown to Your Exam! section of your User Profile Dashboard. You must be logged in to access your user profile. To change your test date, please log in to HUDHousingCounselors.com and visit the Exam Registration page.

    User Account - Training & Exam Status

    Your User Profile provides access to account information, including:

    • Access to update your name, state, email, or password.
    • Knowledge Assessment results.
    • Online Training Status, including modules in progress or completed. 
    • Exam Registration Status, access to registration and exam details.
    • Access to launch the online exam.
    • Certification Exam Status, including completion results.

    To access your User Profile, you must be signed into your account on HUDHousingCounselors.com. Once you are signed in, select “Profile” at the top of the page. If you are already signed in, you can access your User Profile directly.

    Certification Exam - Registration Access

    To access the exam registration, you must be signed into your account on HUDHousingCounselors.com.

    Select Begin Exam Registration in the Countdown to your Exam! section of your User Profile Dashboard. Follow the steps to register for the exam and complete the form at the bottom of the page.

    If you are attempting to register using your mobile phone or tablet, you may not be able to complete your transaction. Please use a computer to register.

    Please note, the links listed in the instructions are for informational purposes only. If you click on a link, it will open a separate page that is not part of the registration process. You must return to the registration page to continue.

    Certification Exam - Change Online/Onsite Registration

    Exam registration, cancellations, and changes are handled through your account on HUDHousingCounselors.com.

    To change your exam delivery type, sign in and select Change Your Test Date in the Countdown to your Exam section of your User Profile Dashboard. Follow the steps under Reschedule an Exam to cancel your scheduled exam (the exam purchase will be refunded to the credit card used), then follow the steps to register for a new exam.

    Be sure to review the No Shows and Cancellations Policy prior to making changes. 

    Spanish Materials - Training & Exam

    HUDHousingCounselors.com provides access to training and exam materials in Spanish. Sign into your account and take the following steps to access each component.

    • Training - Select “Training Center” at the top of the page. Then, select "en español" to find the Study Guide in Spanish.
    • Practice Exam - Select “Training Center” at the top of the page. Then, select “Take Practice Exam” to take the practice exam or learn more.
    • Certification Exam - Select Begin Exam Registration in the "Countdown to Your Exam!" section of your User Profile Dashboard.

    Certification Exam - System & Webcam Requirements

    For online proctored exams, computer systems must meet the criteria outlined on the Kryterion Online Proctoring Support page. Before scheduling your exam, we encourage you to visit this page to test equipment compatibility, which includes checks for webcam, microphone, and internet speed. Individuals planning to take the certification examination online can prepare by taking the following steps:

    1. Review the webcam requirements. NOTE: Beginning August 6, 2020, HUD will accept any camera for the online exam. An external camera will no longer be required until further notice.
    2. Visit Online Testing Requirements to check equipment compatibility for webcam, microphone, and internet speed
    3. Test browser functionality of the exam Calculator provided onscreen during the exam

    HUDHousingCounselors.com cannot provide a webcam. You will not need a webcam if you choose to take the Certification Exam at a test center.

    Note: A separate Webassessor log-in is not required for any step in this process. Candidates are automatically logged into Kryterion's Webassessor site with their HUDHousingCounselors.com account when they proceed to the Exam Status Center. Candidates should proceed to the Exam Status Center from the Exam Pre-launch page to complete the preparation steps and launch the exam. The Exam Pre-launch page can be can be accessed in your User Profile via Access Your Online Exam

    Certification Exam - Feedback & Scoring

    Upon completion of the certification exam, each candidate receives an immediate PASS or FAIL notification, as applicable. Candidates who pass receive an email outlining next steps. Those who fail receive an email report with information as described in the practice exam feedback explanation. Passing scores are not provided to test takers, but those who do not pass can access their scaled score on the User Profile page of their HUDHousingCounselors.com account.

    Note: The minimum passing score is 500. Test takers do not receive information on topic area weighting with their exam scores. For most information, please visit the HUD FAQ on scaled scoring.

    Proctoring - Kryterion Testing Instructions & Rules

    During the exam, test takers must abide by industry-standard testing rules. Certain actions and items are prohibited during testing. Read the following instructions and rules to ensure a successful exam experience.

    Advice for a Successful Test Center Exam

    • Print your Assessment Confirmation Email and bring it with you to your exam
    • Verify both Primary Photo ID and Secondary ID are valid (not expired) and will be valid on test date
    • Arrive up to 15 minutes early for your exam
    • Be prepared for test center staff to secure all of your personal items in a locker during your exam
    • Be prepared to remove your glasses briefly for examination by test center staff
    • Request assistance from test center staff immediately if you encounter any technical issues during the exam

    Advice for a Successful Online Exam

    • Download Sentinel Secure from the Exam Status Center, create your Biometrics Profile, and test your equipment at least one day before your exam. 
    • Some candidates may require assistance from their IT Department to install Sentinel Secure and troubleshoot any network or equipment issues.
    • Exams should be launched at least 10 minutes before the appointment time, but may be launched up to 20 minutes after.
    • Upon launching, you will be queued up for the next available proctor and alerted when a proctor becomes available.
    • The proctor will communicate with you through a chat feature on the computer. Be prepared for possible interruptions by proctor requests during the exam.
    • Prepare to work with the proctor before beginning the exam to ensure the testing environment and camera placement are in compliance.
    • Use a camera stand to allow for quick adjustments to camera placement. Make sure the camera view includes your eyes, hands, keyboard, and mouse. (Beginning August 6, 2020 an external webcam is no longer required. HUD will accept any camera).
    • If you wear glasses, the proctor will ask you to remove them and present them for inspection through the camera.
    • Make sure the testing room is well lit, quiet, and free from distraction.
    • Ensure your testing surface is clutter-free and contains only one computer, one monitor, one keyboard, and one mouse (online proctored exams).

    Additional Guidance About the Exam:

    • Do not read the exam aloud.
    • Do not interact with another individual during your test session.
    • Do not leave your workstation or take a break for any reason. If you leave the workstation during the exam, Kryterion is obligated to inform your test sponsor and may suspend your exam.
    • Candidates are not allowed access to or use of books, paper, reference material, or writing utensils during the exam. (Candidates will have access to an online calculator during the exam).
    • Electronic devices, including telephones, cameras, signaling devices, pagers, alarms, and recording/playback devices of any kind are not permitted.
    • Remove all items from your neck and wrist. Watches, bracelets, and necklaces are not permitted during testing.
    • No questions concerning the content of the exam may be asked during the examination period. Listen carefully to the directions and carefully read the directions shown on the computer monitor.
    • No examination materials, documents, or memoranda of any type may leave the testing room.

    Proctoring - Online Exam Support or Questions

    If you experience issues with exam set up, launch, or during your exam, contact Kryterion Support immediately:

    • Live Chat for URGENT Assistance: Go to Online Proctoring Support, then select “Chat with an Expert" near the bottom of the screen. You may need to exit the exam page and access the link in a new window. After you enter your name and email address, the system should tell you how many people are ahead of you. Please wait for a Kryterion technician for assistance.
    • Webform: Go to Contact Support, then complete the form, including a detailed description, and submit. Webform responses may take up to 72 hours.

    Candidates may experience long wait times for support during times of high volume. If your exam times out while you are waiting for support, Kryterion should reschedule you at no charge. 

    Certification Exam - No Shows & Cancellations Policy

    To cancel or reschedule your exam, sign in to HUDHousingCounselors.com and select Change Your Test Date in the Countdown to your Exam! section of your User Profile Dashboard

    Follow the steps to reschedule or cancel your scheduled exam (canceled exams will be refunded to the credit card used), then follow the steps to schedule a new exam.

    ONLINE EXAMS - Candidates are free to reschedule or cancel an online test session up to 24 hours before the scheduled testing time. Rescheduling an exam within 24 hours will result in no refund for the original exam date and a $50 fee to schedule a new one. Candidates who do not reschedule at the time of cancellation or miss their testing time will not be issued a refund and must purchase a new exam for $60. Be advised, 24 hours is not 1 business day; it is 24 hours prior to the scheduled exam start time. Candidates should contact Support if canceling an exam with accommodations.

    Please note: if you are unable to launch your online exam or re-launch your suspended online exam before it expires, you must contact Kryterion Online Support immediately for assistance or you will be considered a no-show.

    EXAMS AT A TEST CENTER - Candidates are free to reschedule or cancel an exam at a test center up to 72 hours before the scheduled testing time. Rescheduling an exam within 72 hours will result in no refund for the original exam date and an $85 fee to schedule a new one. Candidates who do not reschedule at the time of cancellation or miss their testing time will not be issued a refund and must purchase a new exam for $100. Be advised, 72 hours is not 3 business days; it is 72 hours prior to the scheduled exam start time. Candidates should contact Support if canceling an exam with accommodations.

    Candidates may submit a request for a refund or fee waiver due to a documented personal emergency. Each request is reviewed on a case by case basis, and fee waivers are not guaranteed.

    Please see the CANCELLATIONS DUE TO EXTREME WEATHER OR LOCAL EMERGENCIES policy.

    Proctoring - Kryterion Testing Center Locations/Support

    Individuals planning to take the certification examination at a proctoring center can utilize the tool to Locate a Kryterion Testing Center. Candidates can view appointment availability and schedule the exam via the Registration Process. Test centers cannot schedule your exam.

    The exam will be available both in person and online throughout the US and in US Territories where there are proctoring centers, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. The exam will be available online only in the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, as there are no proctoring centers in these areas. 

    For any additional questions relating to Kryterion Testing Centers, please visit the Kryterion FAQ page,  Kryterion Support and select Onsite Proctoring or Chat with an Expert.

    Certification Exam - Cost

    The fee charged each time an individual takes the certification examination is based on the cost of administering the examination. As announced in the Federal Register Notice dated May 31, 2017, an online proctored exam costs $60 and an in-person proctored exam costs $100. Any changes in pricing will be published in advance in the Federal Register.