How to become a home inspector in Florida: A complete step-by-step beginner’s guide

Your journey to becoming a licensed home inspector in the state of Florida begins with an in-depth guide to the ins and outs of the state’s requirements. Home to over 20 million people, Florida is the third most populated state in the USA, which signals a flourishing real estate market and a high demand for home inspectors.

Unlike many states in the U.S., home inspection is regulated in Florida, and you need to earn a license in order to practice. The process of becoming a successful home inspector in the Sunshine State is easy, provided you have the right information on the exam to take, how to apply for a license, and kickstart your career. We have prepared this blog for you – your all-in-one guide to becoming a home inspector in Florida – to help you streamline the process of achieving your goal.

How to Become a Licensed Home Inspector in Florida

How to become a licensed home inspector in Florida 

In some states in the U.S., you do not need a license to become a home inspector; Florida is not like that. The state requires home inspectors to get a license and renew it every two years. Getting your license in Florida is made simple through the following steps:

1. Complete a Florida-Approved 120 hr. Home Inspection Course 

The first step to becoming a home inspector in Florida is to complete a Florida-approved 120-hour home inspection course. This course covers the essential topics needed to ensure that you are equipped with skills and knowledge for a successful home inspection career in Florida. The course, which could be taken either online or in person, covers the eight components of a home outlined below:

  • Structures of homes
  • Interior components
  • Exterior components
  • Site conditions that affect home structure
  • Electrical systems
  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Systems
  • Roof covering
  • Plumbing systems

Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation has listed the 30 approved course providers that you can take the course from from, and you can finish in as fast as two weeks.  

2. Pass Your Examination 

Florida takes home inspection education seriously, and to become a home inspector, you have to pass one of the exams approved by the Department of Business & Professional Regulation. These courses include the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE), Florida Home Inspection Exam (FHIE), InterNACHI Florida Home Inspector Licensing Examination, and the Association of Construction Industry’s Certified Home & Property Inspector Examination (CI-HPI). 

Before applying for the exams, you are advised to carefully review the details of each of them. Consider such details as the cost, application requirement, number of questions, passing score, and other essential information to help you have a smooth exam experience. To make it easier, we have covered all of these aspects for each exam below to help you get started. 

Florida Home Inspection Exam (FHIE)

The Florida Association of Building Inspectors administers a licensing exam called the Florida Home Inspection Exam (FHIE). The exam evaluates home inspectors to see if they are fit to practice the profession in the state. The test is conducted throughout the State of Florida and nationwide for those who intend to take the test out of the state. 

The FHIE is a computer-based test that costs $200, taken within a two-hour timeframe. It comprises 100 multiple-choice questions covering Florida Standards, Report Writing, Inspecting a Home, Contracts, and the eight components of a home.

You need a 70 or more to pass the exam. Those who do not meet the passing score can retake the exam as many times as they wish, and there are no waiting times between retakes. However, you must retake the exam on a different day and each retake requires a new exam fee.

National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE)

The National Home Inspection Exam is the national-level exam that tests applicants based on their knowledge of home inspection national regulations and their fitness to practice the profession. Applicants are tested on three performance domains: Property and Building Inspection/Site Review, Analysis of Findings and Reporting, and Professional Responsibilities. 

You are required to register for the exam at the specified location in your state. Though it costs $225 to take in most states, we advise you to confirm before proceeding to register. 

The exam is scaled from 200-800, with 500 being the passing score. Exams are scored immediately, which means you don’t have to wait to see your score. In fact, you will leave the exam center with your official score sheet. Applicants who do not meet the cut-off mark are allowed to retake with a separate fee but must wait 30 days between each retake.

InterNACHI Florida Home Inspector Licensing Examination

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) Florida Home Inspector Licensing Examination is another exam approved by the DBPR. The exam is a proctored exam taken in a proctored lab and available to everyone, including non-members of InterNACHI. The exam is made up of 120 multiple-choice questions and takes one hour to complete. Exam questions are set on categories such as Wood Destroying, Environment, Ethics, Safety, Inspection Methods, and Professional Practice, among others. 

The scoring rules of the InterNACHI exams differ from the other exams such that in the situation the applicant scores less than 50% in a category, he will receive a failing score for the whole exam. The passing score for the exam is 80% or more in all exam categories. The exam costs $125 to take, and each retake requires an additional fee.

Association of Construction Industry’s Certified Home & Property Inspector Examination (CI-HPI)

The Certified Home and Property Inspector examination is available to be taken onsite and online. The online exam, priced at $150, can bepurchased after creating an account. In contrast, the onsite exam incurs a cost of $250. The exam lasts for two hours and is taken in a proctored testing center. If you are taking the test from home on your computer, you will have to take it with a proctoring service. 

3. Get fingerprints taken & pass a background check 

Before going ahead to apply, have it at the back of your mind that you will need to get fingerprints taken and have a background check. Florida-approved home inspectors are mandated by law to pass state and federal criminal background checks. This procedure is to ensure the credibility and suitability of the applicants before licensure. The good thing is you can get your fingerprint taken conveniently at a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) approved LiveScan Service Provider to avoid waiting in line. 

Please note that the submission of your fingerprints is a post-application requirement; that is, you are to apply for the license before sending in your fingerprints. The department typically takes up to five days to receive your fingerprint results from the FDLE. During the scan, you will be given the Originating Agency Identification number, or the ORI, which you will be provided upon the completion of your scan. The ORI for home inspectors is FL 924250Z.

4. Obtain commercial liability insurance (at least $300K) 

Running a home inspection business without insurance is like walking on thin ice. No matter how experienced you may be, the home inspection career comes with legal risks, and it is only best to stay one step ahead. Plus, meeting the insurance coverage requirements is crucial for home inspectors to operate legally in the state of Florida. 

You are expected to review your insurance needs and work with insurance professionals who will provide you with commercial general liability worth at least $300,000. General liability is basic insurance coverage that guarantees home inspectors protection from a range of risks and liabilities. Key aspects that the general liability covers include property damage, bodily injury, and advertising injury. This insurance ensures you have the appropriate coverage to protect your business and clients.

5. Apply for your Florida home inspector license 

The main step to actualizing your dream of becoming a home inspector in Florida is simple – apply for your license! Without a proper application process, completing the prior steps is inconsequential. How do you go about the application process, and what do you need?

To start with, all applications are submitted to the DBPR, and they allow you to either complete your application online or by print mail. For the application, you need documents to prove that you have completed the steps above. To recap, the following are the basic application requirements

  • Education, showing that you have completed a Florida-approved 120-hour home inspection course 
  • Proof of passing the home inspector exam
  • Fingerprints and background check
  • General insurance liability
  • The $230 application fee

6. Continuing education (C.E.) & license renewal 

After completing all the processes above and obtaining your license, you are approved to practice your home inspection business in the state of Florida. You can choose to work independently, running your own home inspection business, or get hired by a home inspection firm. Whichever one you choose, you will be required to complete 14 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain your license. 

The home inspector license in Florida lasts for two years. It can be renewed by the completion of the continuing education, which is to ensure that you are up-to-date on industry standards and compliant with regulations. The 14-hour course consists of two hours about wind mitigation and hurricanes and 12 hours about home inspection services. These courses can be done in a traditional classroom or online but with an approved provider.

7. Network & promote your business 

Now, you have started your inspection business, and you understand all you need to do to ensure you always have a valid Florida home inspection license that allows you to practice. That’s about all you need to keep your business afloat. 

What if we told you that the home inspection business is one with a high earning potential, and there is almost no limit to how much you can make? By learning to leverage networking and following our home inspection marketing tips, you can take on more jobs, expand your client list, and slowly climb your way to success. 

The benefits of networking and business promotion are numerous, particularly as you are finding your footing in the business. You’ll establish relationships with other professionals in the industry, get referral opportunities, learn new things and get recommendations from colleagues and clients you interact with.

To network, you can attend industry and networking events and join professional bodies. You can also utilize social media marketing to promote your business and reach a wider audience. With a well-designed home inspector website and a good marketing plan, you can set yourself apart from the crowd, gain visibility, and expand your client list. We have written a whole article on networking for home inspectors. Do well to check it out to get a comprehensive guide on how you can establish yourself as a trusted home inspector in Florida. 

8. Expand your home inspection services 

Just like you, there are thousands of home inspectors in Florida. So, the competition to get home inspection jobs and new clients can be high. When you throw experienced home inspectors with years of practice in the mix, then it gets even more challenging. But there is a fast solution to help you attain professional expertise and establish your business, even if you are just starting. Expand your service offering. Aside from earning your home inspection license that enables you to practice in Florida, there are other certifications that you can acquire to set you apart from other home inspectors. 

Due to Florida’s climate, inspections for wind mitigation are in high demand, as are 4-point home inspections. Other inspection services always needed include home energy audits, mold, radon inspections, and many others, and they pay for these services. Imagine offering one or more of these services alongside your home inspection job. You’d not only save your client the stress of seeking other professionals, but you also establish yourself as a trusted home inspector with a wide range of industry knowledge. You will also become more preferred in jobs where multiple services are needed, giving you a competitive advantage.  

Key Takeaways From Our Guide on How To Become A Home Inspector in Florida

Key takeaways from our guide on how to become a home inspector in Florida 

As we draw the curtains on our guide, there are key things we want you to remember. The first is that the requirements of becoming a home inspector in Florida are geared toward ensuring professionalism and expertise, which makes you an all-round home inspector. Also, the requirements are easy, provided you follow the steps outlined in this article. Enroll in the 120-hour home inspection course, pass your exam, get insurance, and apply for your license. Once you get your license, you can start practicing and making money. 

By following the guidelines outlined in this article, the steps to become a home inspector are pretty straightforward. We also recommend taking some time to try to find the best home inspection software for you. Don’t just settle for the first software you come across. Do some research, read reviews, and most importantly find a software that you’re comfortable using. EZ HIS offers a 50% student discount for the first 6 months that will help you save some money while trying our Home Inspection Software. Get started with a Free Trial to unlock the benefits enjoyed by our other users.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you have some questions about becoming a home inspector in Florida? We have answered some of the most popular questions below:

How long does it take to become a home inspector in Florida? 

The time it takes to become a home inspector in Florida depends on how fast you can complete the requirements. These requirements include completing the 120-hour home inspection course, passing the examination, enrolling for fingerprints and background, and applying for the license. Once the steps above are completed, you are well on your way to becoming a home inspector in Florida. 

Typically, you should be done in a couple of months, and some factors can stretch the timeframe. Individual pace and application processing can determine the length of time.  

How much does it cost to become a home inspector in Florida? 

From the cost of taking the required course, passing the exam, applying for your license, and setting up your own home inspection company, the cost of becoming a home inspector in Florida varies. There is actually no one-size-fits-all amount to fix all these as they are based on individual preference. Nevertheless, it is ideal to have a financial budget when planning your career, so let us give a breakdown of the requirements and their possible costs. 

  • Home inspection course:  $600 – $2000+
  • Home Inspection Examination: $200 – $250
  • Background check & fingerprint: $50-$100
  • License application fee: $230
  • Insurance: $600 – $1200 / year
  • Continuing education: 
  • Home inspection tools & equipment: $500 – $700+
  • Business registration: $50 – $150
  • Home inspection software: $50 – $200 / month
  • Home Inspection Association member fee: $49 / month

How much money do Florida home inspectors make? 

The average salary a home inspector makes in Florida is $77,205. Since this is the median salary, some factors can determine the salary of a home inspector. These include experience, marketing, and networking. 

What are the Florida home inspector license requirements?

Becoming a home inspector in Florida requires that you: 

  • Complete a Florida-approved 120-hour home inspection course.
  • Pass the home inspector exam.
  • Get fingerprints taken and complete a background check.
  • Obtain general insurance liability.
  • Pay the $230 application fee. 

What is the best school for home inspection in Florida?

The best school for inspection in Florida is based on your course needs. Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation has listed the 30 approved course providers that you can take the course from. These schools have varied course fees, mode of operation.

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