Housing and Furnishings

Housing and Furnishings

Description of the Assessment and Certification

The Housing and Furnishings Assessment and Certification are
  • driven by business and industry standards;
  • based on relevant content standards and consistent with the National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences Education and the National Career Clusters Initiative;
  • appropriate to validate achievement of competencies associated with principles and concepts related to residential housing and furnishings;
  • useful in a broad range of education and employment settings, such as secondary and post-secondary education, community-based education programs, and employer-based human resource and staff development programs; and
  • advantaged to utilize a gold-standard, computer-based testing platform format that provides for valid and reliable competency measurement, and a reporting mechanism for data-driven program improvement, accountability, and individual remediation and acceleration.

Uses of the Assessment and Certification

The assessment and certification are used to:
  • document exit-level achievement in rigorous secondary programs and lower division post-secondary courses;
  • satisfy federal accountability reporting mandates required by Perkins IV legislation;
  • facilitate seamless articulation, placement, and credit-by exam within post-secondary institutions;
  • validate competencies required for employment at the pre-professional and/or paraprofessional level; and
  • provide an industry-recognized certification.


The Housing and Furnishings assessment/certification address competencies and a skill set necessary for success as a pre-professional in a careeer in the residential housing and furnishings industry.. It will facilitate employment in early career ladder positions and promote continuing education at the post-secondary level in career areas involving:
  • public and private sector housing programs,
  • residential property and facility management,
  • real estate,
  • retail home furnishings, or
  • home decorating and staging.

Assessment and Certification Resources

  • Click here for the Housing and Furnishings Competency List
  • Click here for a one-page overview of the Housing and Furnishings assessment and certification
  • Click here for the Assessment Information Bulletin for Housing and Furnishings (includes detailed information on assessment design, scoring, content, sample test items, and resources)
  • Click here for the Alignment to the 21st Century Student Outcomes
  • Click here - Alignment to the Career Ready Practices of the Common Career Technical Core
  • Click here - Alignment to the Employability Skills Framework (US Dept of Education)
  • Click here for National Percentile Scores (used for comparison of scores to national averages)


Once the assessment is submitted, results are immediately available to the test candidate. The results provide an overall percentage score, a breakdown of scores corresponding to domains, and the indication whether pre-professional certification was achieved. The national cut score for pre-professional certification eligibility is established annually by AAFCS. Scores can be used to demonstrate competency, pinpoint weaknesses or gaps in performance, improve programs and curricula, and demonstrate accountability to stakeholders. Through articulation agreements, scores may be used as the basis for advanced placement and/or credit-by-exam at post-secondary institutions. Thus, local and state entities have latitude for independently establishing passing or qualifying scores for other purposes.

Pre-Professional Certification Score: 65%

Note: Effective 8/01/2016 - 07/31/2017.

Developed by National Leaders and Professionals in Family and Community Services

AAFCS has engaged the assistance of a broad range of esteemed residential housing and furnishings industry professionals and educators from across the nation to assist in identifying relevant industry standards and develop the assessment instrument. Recognizing the value of a solid assessment tool in assuring that individuals possess the knowledge and skills necessary for pre-professional careers in the industry, the following stakeholders participated on the development panel for the assessment and certification:
  • Joseph L. Wysocki, National Institute for Food and Agriculture (Retired), Amissville, VA
  • Mary Wynn Ryan, Home Furnishings Retailer, National Home Furnishings Association, High Pointe, NC
  • Amy W. Garrard, Franklin Furniture Institute, Mississippi State, MS
  • Amber W. Stewart, Energy Star for New Homes, ICF International, Vienna, VA
  • Rachel M. Riley, Office of Healthy Homes, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Washington, DC
  • C. Deanna Lewis, Home Builders Institute, Washington, DC
  • Debbie Phillips, Georgia Apartment Industry Education Foundation, Marietta, GA
  • Heidi Ross, ShowHomes, Little Rock, AR
  • Peggy Spitaletto, Decorating Den Interiors, Plano, TX
  • Matalie Howard, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
  • Janie L. Harris, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, College Station, TX
  • Judy Daves, Trumann High School, Trumann, AR
  • Victoria Sandford, Lake City High School, Coeur d'Alene, ID

Further Information

For further information please contact: Lori Myers; Director of Pre-Professional Assessment and Certification; 703-706-4600; LMyers@aafcs.org.

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