There’s no surefire secret to success in any business, but there are certainly things you can do to shift the odds in your favor.

From my perspective, one of the most effective ways to gain a competitive edge in the home building industry is through education, and more specifically by earning a professional designation through the NAHB.

Not only do they help you move forward in your career, they set you apart as someone who is committed to professionalism and maintaining a high level of quality in your business. To date, more than 47,000 individuals in the home building industry have earned NAHB professional designations in several housing industry disciplines, including new-home construction, remodeling, sales and marketing, and more.

The NAHB currently offers the following designations:

  • Certified Graduate Associate (CGA)
  • Certified Graduate Builder (CGB)
  • Graduate Master Builder (GMB)
  • Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR)
  • Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR)
  • Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS)
  • Certified Green Professional (CGP)
  • Master Certified Green Professional (Master CGP)
  • Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP)
  • Master Certified New Home Sales Professional
  • (Master CSP)
  • Certified New Home Marketing Professional (CMP)
  • Master in Residential Marketing (MIRM)
  • Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP)

Typically, earning a designation requires completion of one to nine education courses and specific professional experience in the field. Continuing education is required in order to maintain the designation.
Consistent with our industry’s increased focus on green building and resource conservation, the NAHB’s fastest-growing designation is the Certified Green Professional, or CGP. Within a year of its introduction in early 2008, more than 1,000 building industry professionals had become CGPs, and demand for an advanced curriculum has been so great that the NAHB introduced the Master CGP designation this year.

To earn the CGP designation, an individual must have a minimum of two years of experience in the building industry. The candidate also must complete an intensive two-day course on green building and must complete an additional business management course or actively hold another NAHB professional designation. Maintaining and renewing the CGP designation requires completing 12 hours of continuing education every three years; eight of the 12 hours must be green-related.

Candidates for the Master CGP designation must have five years of green building experience and have built or remodeled and certified at least three dwellings to a recognized certified green residential program over a three-year period.

Master CGP candidates must complete three intensive two-day courses and also must complete a one-day course on business management or hold another NAHB designation. As with the CGP, maintaining and renewing the Master CGP designation requires completing 12 hours of continuing education every three years, and eight of the 12 hours must be green-related.

The requirements for earning and renewing an NAHB designation can vary considerably based on the specific field; however, everyone who earns a designation must agree to abide by a specific code of ethics.

Accomplished experts teach all of the courses, and each designation curriculum is carefully structured for maximum effectiveness.

If you’re looking for a way to advance your career, improve your skills, get an edge on the competition, or branch out into a different specialty, I urge you to consider earning an NAHB designation.