How to Become a Home Inspector in Washington State?
Download the Candidate Handbook

The first thing you need to do is download this guide from the State of Washington.

  1. Get educated & receive training.
  2. Submit an exam application, online or by mail.
  3. Take the Home Inspectors exam.
  4. Apply for your Home Inspectors license, online or by mail.

First, get certified by a Washington State licensed Home Inspector education program (Like the School of Professional Home Inspection). Be sure any program you choose is listed in the Washington State Department of Licensing catalog. There are schools out there selling education in this state that do not qualify for licensure.

Rainy days make for great training opportunities.

Second, get your field training completed.  You are required to Mentor with a state-licensed home inspector for 40 hours minimum and you must also complete 5 Home Inspection reports. Any licensed home inspector in Washington State can mentor licensee candidates.

Third Contact the Department of Licensing with proof of certificate of education, and your mentorship hours, and then you can schedule to take the state exam.  You will need the following documents:

  1. Your certificate of completion from a Washington State Home Inspectors Board approved Fundamentals of Home Inspection course.
  2. Training log showing 40 hours of field training and 5 actual inspections.

The examination fees are $300.
The exam consists of two parts on National and a state portion when taking both portions the questions on the two will be intermixed and will not appear as separate sections. The full examination has 200 multiple-choice items, the total time allotted for the examination is 4 hours. 

Fourth, Upon successfully completing the examination, you may apply for your license by mail or you can submit your information electronically directly to the Department of Licensing. The cost for your first license is $680.

Questions? Need help from DOL?
Email: dolinthomeinspectors@dol.wa.gov
Call: 360.664.6487

The total expense for most of our students is less than $5000 to have a license in hand, making this a very attractive career. Especially when compared to other similar paying careers considering the time and money invested vs salaries earned.

What is the is the median pay for home inspectors

As of 01/2022, indeed.com says the average salary for a home inspector is $72,116 per year in Washington State.

Source: Google.com

What does the class cost?

State-Required (120 Hours)
All SOPHI courses are taught via zoom live lecture online until further notice. Classes are twelve 10-hour sessions with a special emphasis on Inspection Laws, Washington State Standards of Practice (SOP), and practical inspection techniques. Our courses are taught by local, experienced Home Inspection Professionals who are ready to help you succeed. This intensive State-Certified course fulfills the requirement to take the National Home Inspection Exam (NHIE).

What is the class schedule?

Class runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and then Sunday off then Monday through Saturday and then you’re done. 

Do I need to study before?

No. The books that we will be using are the code check series and we deliver those electronically to you after class has begun.  All classes are taught via Zoom. 

What should I do next? Consider joining InterNACHI
InterNACHI Partner School

In the meantime, you may consider joining InterNACHI. There are lots of learning materials and sample tests that you can take to prepare yourself for the state exam. If you join here and use our school’s discount code  “SOPHI1MO“ you will get a 1-month free membership.

You must go to nachi.org/trial and enter the code there to create a membership.

Are there optional study materials?
Paid students get discounts on the e-book

There is an optional study guide, the print version is available from nhie but it is pretty expensive at $259.00 for the printed version. We do offer this guide to our paying students at a discount. Students that have paid tuition can purchase these books for $125 for the E-book.

Is there any funding available for union applicants?

Members of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) may have funding available as a union benefit. If you have been laid off and are interested in becoming a home inspector, you need to complete this form or get one from your union or hr rep.

Is there any financing available?

We are happy to work with you. By making arrangements ahead of time, you can pay the deposit of $1250 for the class and pay the balance over the next three months. You will not receive a certificate of completion until your tuition is paid. We hope that this will help you join us in class.  

What tools do I need?

Be sure to check out our recommended tools in our Amazon store:
The minimum tools you will need include:

  • high-quality respirators
  • good flashlight
  • camera
  • moisture meter
  • outlet tester
  • minimal hand tools (screwdrivers, nut drivers, etc.)
  • ladder
  • safety gear, (eye protection, gloves, shin guards, jumpsuit)
  • computer/software
  • vehicle (think gas mileage)
    In one super busy month when I was inspecting with my original gas-hog 350cid van, I spent $750 in fuel alone. When I doubled my gas mileage, it paid for a newer efficient van. Consider an efficient vehicle.

Other nice to have tools include:

  1. thermal camera (I like the Flir E4)
  2. drone (DJI makes great drones)
  3. electrical multimeter (you can’t go wrong with an entry-level Fluke meter)

I would consider buying these later, but I love all of these tools.


While most inspectors work for themselves, there are opportunities to work with multi-inspector firms and franchises. Be sure to read any offer to work for another company very carefully. We recommend you have this offer reviewed by an attorney.

Structural Pest Inspector - wood destroying orginisms

We recommend inspectors in Washington State get their Structural Pest License. This allows you to inspect for ants, termites, and beetles and the damage caused by these pests.

Structural Pest Inspector Manual  from WSU
This manual is designed to improve the knowledge and skill of structural pest inspectors (SPIs) in Washington State. It provides instruction on how to conduct a structural pest inspection.

Structural Pest Identification in the Northwest


Washington State University Structural Pest Bulletins



U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has several kinds of inspections.

Many inspectors work as FHA 203(k) Consultants, learn more here

See the link above.


 Sewer Scopes

This requires no license in Washington State and can be a lucrative business to run along with home inspections. It is an easy sell, I tell my clients that their sewer “is the most expensive thing I can’t see”.


 Energy Audit

An energy audit is an inspection survey and an analysis of energy flows for energy conservation in a building. It may include a process or system to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output.
A home energy audit helps individual homeowners find out their residential consumption and energy flow. An audit is useful to determine areas of your home where there is energy loss and by identifying where power usage may be curbed to earn savings.


JJ Greive

JJ & Suzanne are both licensed, highly skilled inspectors and educators. We are the authors of our class curriculum, and truly enjoy sharing this with our students