Housing and Furnishings

Description of Assessment and Certification

The Housing and Furnishings Assessment and Certification are
  • driven by business and industry standards;
  • based on relevant content standards (National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences Education);
  • aligned to essential knowledge and skills (National Career Clusters);
  • validation of achievement of competencies associated with principles and concepts related to residential housing and furnishings;
  • used in a broad range of education and employment settings
    • secondary and post-secondary education,
    • community-based education programs, and
    • employer-based human resource and staff development programs;
  • offered using 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.

Assessment and Certification Resources

Assessment Overview

Assessment Blueprint

Assessment Bulletin*

Alignment Matrices
21st Century Student Outcomes Career Ready Practices (CCTC) Employability Skills Framework

* Bulletin includes detailed information on assessment design, scoring, content, sample test items, and resources)


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.


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

Developed by National Leaders and Professionals in Housing and Furnishings

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 AAFCS at pre-pac@aafcs.org or 703-636-7641

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