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Certification Packet

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As promoted by the National Commission on Certifying Agencies, IAOHRA’s certification process is geared to test and validate the application of knowledge required to perform the duties of a fair housing investigator. IAOHRA’s certification process will test more than the theoretical basis or the knowledge of “how” to perform these duties – the certification process is designed to validate the demonstrated ability of the Candidate to perform these duties in a consistent and effective manner. IAOHRA’s certification process assures that the Candidate has had sufficient opportunity to apply learned skills and knowledge, been exposed to the nuances and challenges of the profession, and learned how to adapt and confront these experiences. IAOHRA is proud to partner with the Patricia Roberts Harris National Fair Housing Training Academy to offer Candidates the opportunity to attain the Certified Fair Housing Investigator (CFHI) designation. 

Created in 2004 the Patricia Roberts Harris National Fair Housing Training Academy is the educational arm of the U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development's office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The Academy is the first and only government-sanctioned institution in the United States that trains advocates, lawyers, investigators and others on fair housing compliance and enforcment.


Certification through IAOHRA ensures the creation of a corps of knowledgeable and proficient fair housing professionals. As the Academy expands to reflect the changing nature of the profession, those who complete the core curriculum are held to the highest standards as civil rights professionals. Certification ensures the consistent, effective enforcement of civil rights laws. Applicants who successfully complete the five week core curriculum of the NFHTA Fair Housing Investigator training program are considered to have met the following six standards: 

  • Knowledge of fair housing law and regulations
  • Excellence in report writing
  • Mastery of investigative procedures and techniques
  • Knowledge of hearing rules and procedures
  • Knowledge and adherence to Federal, State, and City fair housing-related laws and ordinances, and relevant court decisions
  • General understanding of federal fair housing programs

The Certified Fair Housing Investigator professional designation is designed to establish a professional credential for investigators who successfully complete the NFHTA five week core curriculum training program, meet specific professional requirements, and pass a comprehensive examination.

Fair Housing Investigator Certification Process

Requirements for CFHI Certification The certification process is designed to ensure that investigators have the necessary knowledge and skills to competently perform these functions. Certification is a three step process

  • Successful completion of the 5 week core curriculum offered by the Patricia Roberts Harris National Fair Housing Training Academy (NFHTA).
  • Evaluation of investigative skills
  • Examination of investigative knowledge  

Certified Fair Housing Investigator (CFHI) Eligibility Candidates wishing to take the CFHI examination must first satisfy the following requirements:

  • Completion of the 5 week core curriculum offered by the Patricia Harris Roberts National Fair Housing Academy;
  • Two (2) years of experience;
  • Satisfactory completion of five (5) fair housing investigations
  • A letter of recommendation from the applicant's supervisor listing applicant’s job description and length of service (attach to application).

All IAOHRA programs comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. All IAOHRA programs are non-discriminatory. Eligibility for CFHI certification and recertification is denied only when an applicant does not meet relevant criteria, when an applicant has violated the CFHI Code of Professional Responsibility, or when an applicant has committed an act that would reflect negatively on IAOHRA and the CFHI® program.

Application Process

  • Application for Fair Housing Investigator Certification.
  • IAOHRA will screen applications and notify applicants of their eligibility to sit for the exam.
  • IAOHRA will send approved applicants a Comprehensive Exam Self-study Guide.
  • IAOHRA will notify applicants of the date of the exam and approved test sites near their community. Students within 50 miles of the Academy must take the exam on the Academy campus.

Evaluating the Quality of Investigations IAOHRA will develop an evaluation methodology to provide objective, on-going feedback about the quality of investigations. This evaluation process serves two basic purposes. First, these standards provide guidance to individual investigators regarding the expectations for the performance of a quality investigation as well as serve as an assessment mechanism which can provide feedback to improve their skills. Secondly, this evaluation process can be used to assist those with responsibility for oversight and quality improvement of the investigative process. It can be used as part of the oversight effort at the highest level in the organization, providing a means by which the investigative system as a whole can be evaluated and the information used to monitor and, where needed, improve the quality of investigations. The following are the performance standards set forth for evaluating a certified fair housing investigator (See IAOHRA Standards of Practice).