Tennessee Licensing Requirements

I am a fresh kid on the block trying to become a Professional Home Inspector. I am running into a hirdle of obtaining my Tennessee license because of failure to pass the NHIE exam. If anyone has taken this exam you would know what I mean. There are questions on the exam that home inspectors are not required to know such as code questions, Pool and Spa Systems and Lawn Irrigation Systems. If these questions were not on the exam I may have passed it. I have taken this test twice now and failed it both times because of stupid questions that are being asked. I have taken several exams through this professional association and passed them because the questions were direct and understanding.

I personally feel that this NHIE examination should be focused upon questions pertaining to questions that the home inspector as been certified in. Home Inspectors are certified by standardization of topics, why can’t the test be the same way.:frowning:

Welcome Harvey.

Ask lot’s of questions.

Would you mind going to your control panel and editing your profile to include your location.

It helps to know what area you are in.

As far as passing the NHIE, take the NACHI exam repeatedly will help as the questions are different every time and you will learn what area may need more study.

I have been studying the NACHI exam questions and answers prior to taking this test. I felt comfortable when I went to the examining station about passing the test but when I saw questions and diagrams on the exam that I don’t recall seeing when I was studying I was stunned. I had personnally purchased a Home Inspection Examination Preparation book. The questions in it was in contrast with the NACHI exam. I had no problem with the material in it.

First, you must understand that much to do with your legislation being enacted has to do with the desire of home inspectors in your state intending to keep their competition low. You will not get any sympathy from your licensing board or others who take pride in the illusion that they are keeping “bad inspectors” out.

Start with your local legislator and let him know the following:

  1. Questions regarding procedures that are prohibited for Tennessee inspectors are required knowledge by this test.

  2. This test was sold to the state by a “for profit” entity who makes money from those who fail it and that it intentionally provides questions that are not relevant to the industry for that purpose.

  3. That the existing parties maintaining the law at the licensing board are more interested in protecting their market share by keeping inspectors out … than addressing known deficiencies with the test developed by ASHI.

In an economic climate where unemployment is growing, your legislature might be in a mood to repeal nonsense laws like this that were designed to keep others out of the profession and protect territories.

You will hear those who benefit by the law tell of how it protects consumers and bullcrap such as that, but your legislator will know the story as he sees that this was NOT consumer driven legislation.

Getting the NHIE thrown out, wherever it is a part of HI law, should be a priority.

My advice would be

Stop getting down but bare down
Get all the recommended study material and get busy

Most of all Don’t waste any time complaining to your state legislation as suggested at this time. He needs to use his time passing the test and getting his new career off the ground. Then if he were to feel the need, he could work on stomping out the test.

When I took the NHIE I found more than a few questions that were not relevant to the part of the country I work.

The other problem I have with the NHIE is that you ae not allowed any materials when you take it.

It makes far more sense to me to be able to know how to find accurate info rather than have it memorized to take a test.

The NHIE is full of questions that have nothing, and I mean NOTHING, to do with home inspections. It is a totally meaningless exam. It simply doesn’t test home inspector competence and so is harmful (and perhaps even deadly) to consumers. Any home inspection licensing board member who voted to adopt the NHIE in their state has committed statistical mass harm of their fellow citizens and so should be hung from a bridge for all to see.


Very well put.

Mr. Hyperbole and his sidekick Uh Huh. :wink:

On 4/22/09 8:09 AM, Donna Hancock wrote:
> Good morning Mr. Gromicko,
> I am responding to your email (below) concerning the Tennessee home inspector applicant examination.
> In 2006, a contract for the development and administration of the Tennessee home inspector examination was signed by the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Insurance and a testing firm, Psychological Services, Inc. (PSI). In the contract, the contractor (PSI,) “agrees to develop and administer an examination for the State of Tennessee Home Inspector Licensing Program” and the contractor “may administer the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE) developed by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors, provided that the examination content does not conflict with Tennessee laws.”
> When the Tennessee home inspector handbook was developed by NHIE, sixteen (16) states used it to assess the competence of home inspectors.
> When our contract with PSI expires and should InterNACHI be interested in acquiring the contract to administer the exams, InterNACHI should request that they be placed on the state’s bid list in order to receive a “request for proposal” (RFP). For information on how to be placed on the bid-list, contact Ms. Linda Goodwin in the office of the Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Regulatory Boards, 615-741-3449.
> Thanks for your comments and concerns and please feel free to contact this office at any time for further information or assistance.

Looks like the hyperbole has turned into action.

Perhaps similar letters to the other states risking lives with this phony exam would be in order, Nick.

Since the content (that part requiring knowledge of areas excluded by Tennessee law) does conflict with Tennessee laws, the author of this thread should immediately convey this to his legislator to get the test stopped immediately.

Of course, should these items be removed from the test, it will then have to be re-submitted to the evaluators who had previously declared it to be psychometrically validated. In either event, the NHIE appears to be in direct violation of Tennessee law.

You hit it on the nail head! The NHIE testing does not allow you to take reference materials in during the examination. That’s because there isn’t any reference material to choose from. All others such as Contractor’s carry a complete set of books in to take their test. Plus in this state the examination for contractors cost lots less than a home inspector exam. Get with it members, lets stand up for what is right!

Harvey…as the Tennessee citizen who has been wrongfully damaged…only you have the power to initiate this action. After you have spoken to your legislator, either you or he should call Nick for further ammunition.

I am not questioning the Tennessee Handbook that NHIE had published. I am questioning the contents of the exam. I think NACHI should take over the contract for the exam process nationwide. At least everyone would be on the same sheet of music

Suggestions made on the message board usually die here, Harvey.

If it is to be, it up to thee.

Contact your legislator, today, for results…unless it was merely your intent to vent and get this off your chest.

Action for change will begin…or will die…with what you do next.

Thank You James. I am glad so far to see the overwhelming comments.

I’d be fine with that except that state licensure generally requires that any exam be psychometrically validated.

NACHIs has not been in any formal and recognized way that I am aware of.
I wish it had been so this issue could be put to rest.

It has been my experience that the state of Tennessee does not mess with people’s employment.

They used this examination because it is the examination used by municipal inspections and other states in their endeavor to obtain a fair test.

The state is always open for a better way if you’re willing to provide it.

NACHI was able to receive seats on the home inspection Board which resulted in kicking off several non-applicable participants. ASHI was predominant on this board but when it was brought to the state’s attention by Mr. Nick they took immediate action and provided seats to be filled by NACHI representatives.

I personally feel that state licensing has helped me by setting a real standard for home inspection and providing a place for home buyers to voice a complaint without having to involve themselves in a lawsuit and lawyers.

It’s very easy to comply with the rules if you have rules. Simply do what is expected of you.

I was involved in a lawsuit at the time of state licensing. My adopted standard of practice (ASHI 1993) happened to turn out to be what the state adopted for their licensing procedure which was put in place while my lawsuit was pending. The prosecuting attorneys could not contest my standard of practice because of this. Also, the Tennessee court stood up for the arbitration clause in my contract when prosecuting attorneys rejected its validity.

On the other side of the coin however there are many states where the real estate industry has their fingers in the pudding. What is the acronym in Texas, TREC? What does the “RE” stand for? Why the Hell is Real Estate associated in any way with HI? That is Conflict of Interest #1 the way I see it. Any inspector/investigator should be completely removed from any potential interest in outcome of the investigation.

TN HI Licensing is under the Commerce & Insurance Board (along with RE Agents, Structural Engineers and Appraisers), not the Real Estate Commission.

Mr. Speakman, The test I took also had strange questions that I got wrong, thought I don’t think there were enough of them on the test to make anyone fail the test if they got the relevant questions correct. Just keep at it. It was not designed to be easy. Building code questions are the result from this test being used to test the municipal inspectors.Though it is said that home inspector’s do not enforce building code, you’ll see a dozen questions every day on this board about “what is allowed”, referring to the building code. So someone out there is trying to enforce the code. Builders don’t understand anything but the building code. So maybe it’s relevant for it to be on the test.

Where are all those that said the NACHI test was too easy? Maybe they have passed by the wayside in this industry?


When the special interests are drafting the laws for their lobbyists to present to the paid legislator, Mike…the NHIE is presupposed and the wording that you elude to is created by them to eliminate competition for their test.

If you actually took this for what it says…being so-called “psychometrically validated” simply means that some outside agency has made a determination that …(pay close attention to this)…this test reflects one’s ability to learn to become a home inspector. It is an aptitude test.

“Learn to become a home inspector”, Mike. The NHIE is designed to be an entrance test to a home inspector school but since no home inspector school wants to screen out a potential tuition paying student, it is not used for that purpose.

Instead…it is sold to states as being a means of determining whether or not one should be given a license to inspect a house…when all its evaluators have determined is that it only judges that one is fit to enter a school to learn to be an inspector.

It’s meaningless in the manner in which it is used.

I do not in anyway claim that passing the NHIE qualifies someone to be a home inspector.

That said if NACHI wants a level plying field it should have it’s tests independently evaluated.

If not, the NACHI test will continue to be used as a club to beat this org over the head with.