How to Choose the Best Home Staging Certification Course for You

Best Home Staging Certification Course

You’ve decided you want to be a home stager. Great!

Lots of small businesses fail. One way to help make sure you will be one of the survivors is by taking a good home staging certification course.

But what do we mean by good?

Every week people email me ask wondering how to choose a home staging course, and I don’t blame them! It can be super confusing deciding between the range of home staging courses available these days, and you want to make sure you are getting bang for your buck.

Well, there are going to be at least two or three key things that matter to you when deciding which home staging course is best….

  • The first is how well does the course teach good design principles and practices for doing the actual staging.
  • The second is how in-depth does the course go into topics related to running a small business as a stager.
  • The third is what kind of home staging certification or qualification do you get once you complete the course.

You will need to think about just how much of each of those you need. If you have prior experience with running a small business or working at a small business, you may need less in the way of help with that piece of it. If you have a strong design background, the staging piece of it may matter less to you.

Or maybe you are already a successful home stager, or have the business and design knowledge, and just need the certification to win more home staging customers. In this case, you’re not actually too worried about the course material.

So, think about what you are hoping to achieve before reading any further. Sit down and ask yourself a few questions about where you are now and where you hope to go with this small business idea. Then, based on that, develop a list of questions concerning the coursework you would like to pursue.


Now, let’s look at some other high level considerations you need to think about when choosing a home staging course.

1. How Accessible Is It For Me?

Where is the course and how do I access it? Does it fit conveniently into my life and schedule or will it be an onerous burden to try to attend? Is it in a format with which I am comfortable, such as written versus narrated presentations?

Benefits of local home staging courses:

If you attend a local home staging course you’ll have much better hands-on experience. You’ll be able to interact directly with your tutor, ask questions, and get immediate feedback. You’ll also be able to network with others in your area who are interested in becoming a professional home stager. Your tutors will have local knowledge and will be in a good position to advise on local rates and practices.

The main downside of local courses are they they are tough to find, and you might need to live in a large city such as New York, Los Angeles, London, or Sydney to be able to find a good quality local home staging course. They will also cost more, and you will need to work around the course schedule which may mean taking annual leave at your day job if you are currently employed full time.

Benefits of online courses:

With online home staging courses, you are absolutely not as constrained by geography as you once were. If you can’t find a course locally to attend in person, you can find something online. Or even if you can find a local home staging course, perhaps you want to skip the commute and work on your own schedule, in which case online courses are probably a better option.

The main benefit of an online home staging course is that they generally have a very flexible schedule. Here at the Home Staging Institute, some students complete the certification and home staging exam within a week. They obviously have a lot of free time, and dedicate every moment to reading, learning, and passing the exam. Other students however choose to take a bit longer, and choose to log into the online course once a week for just an hour at a time. With local home staging courses, this flexibility is simply impossible.

This can be extremely important if you are still working at a paid job while trying to launch a business.

Fact: Home staging course through the Home Staging Institute are 100% online.

2. Does The Instructor Really Know Their Stuff?

The best home staging tutors will have real world experience themselves. Ideally, they are till actively involved in a business themselves or were so until fairly recently.

You want someone whose information is current and who has hands-on experience. On top of that, they should be good at conveying the information. But a talented communicator with nothing of importance to say is basically a blowhard, not a teacher with the power to change your life for the better.

With online home staging courses you’ll typically find the instructor who wrote the course material is 100% focused on home staging. With local classes, we find that a lot of the time the instructor teaches 3 or 4 different courses, with home staging being one of them. They may teach other courses such as interior design, color consultancy, Feng Shui classes, or decorating.

Fact: The Home Staging Institute courses have been written by professional home stagers who have been there, done that. The Institute was set up in 2007 when founder Jackie Riley, a successful home staging business owner, kept getting approached by people asking for advice. Today, the institute has students in many countries around the world, including America, Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France. Over the years, The Home Staging Institute has featured on Trualia, TheStreet, and many other blogs.

3. What Are Your Future Plans For The Business?

Have you done a market study? Do you know if staging alone will adequately support you? Or will you need to expand your business into related areas, such as interior design or wedding venue styling?

Do you intend for this to be a one-person practice? This is often called a lifestyle business because the business is usually intended to provide a flexible schedule for the person running it.

Or do you intend to grow the business and hire employees? If the market for your area large enough to support that?

Is the course you are considering compatible with your intentions? Is it aimed at the kind of business you envision for yourself?

These sound like questions that don’t really matter, but it goes back to my initial point that you need to understand what you need to learn, before you sign up for the course. Do you want a pure staging course, or do you need more sales and marketing mixed into it. Choose the home staging course which teaches you what you need to learn. You might even find the perfect home staging course doesn’t exist, in which case you can find the closet match, and supplement your course knowledge with some self-taught training through relevant books. There is a huge category of home staging books currently available on Amazon.

4. What Kind Of Support Does The Course Offer?

Courses may help you find vendors and affiliates. They may help you connect with other stagers so you can collaborate with them. They may offer additional ongoing support in the future.

Some of these may matter to you. Others may not. It may depend in part on your personality and in part on your existing circumstances. Ask yourself, what resources are currently available to you?

Read through the courses subject and think about what pieces matter to you. Make sure it includes things you really feel are important.

However, do try to keep an open mind and maybe be a little slower to reject a course based on it having “extras” you weren’t explicitly seeking. We often don’t know we will need a particular thing until much later.

Part of the value in pursuing a home staging course is the opportunity to learn what more experienced people see as important. This can be hard-won wisdom worth its weight in gold.

5. Will It Provide Certification?

Home staging courses are still fairly unregulated. Unlike, say, medicine, you aren’t likely to kill someone with it, so it hasn’t yet caught the attention of authorities looking to regulate everything under the sun.

You can check your state laws, but the odds are good you can pretty much do what you want here and do no legally require any particular education or certification. So, strictly speaking, you probably don’t need home staging certification to start a home staging business.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to get a certification.

It’s one of the ways to help show prospective customers that you are a serious business that they can trust.

A Home Staging Certification

A home staging certification from The Home Staging Institute

Anytime money is at stake, trust matters. Building trust is always a challenge and this is especially true for any new business.

Finding ways to signal that you have done your due diligence and are adequately prepared to serve their needs can play a critical role in getting things off the ground. While simply being able to say “I took x, y and z training courses” can have value, certification provides an extra layer of assurance that someone feels you passed muster and are good enough.

6. Do You Get Ongoing Access To The Materials?

Obviously, you will have access to course materials while you are taking the course. But try to find out if you get to keep copies of everything or have ongoing access to digital copies after the course is over.

Traditionally, college students bought their books. While they could sell them back at the end of the semester, many students kept their textbooks and continued to reference them well after the class was over.

In the digital age, it’s no longer assured that your materials will be made available in a similarly permanent format. Make sure you know ahead of time whether or not you can continue to access the materials for reference purposes.

If it is a local course in a physical classroom, you want hard copy handouts of slideshows and similar presentations. If it is an online course, you want options like being able to download PDFs or having continued access to password-protected online copies.

7. Does It Fit The Budget And Time Constraints?

If you are starting a business, you need to be meeting both deadlines and milestones. The course needs to be completed in a reasonable period of time and fit within the budget you have penciled out for launching your new business.

Of course, you don’t want to go too cheap. After all, “you get what you pay for.” You may also find most decent courses cost a similar amount.

But look over start dates, end dates and so forth. Check that against your overall schedule and planned launch date and see if it makes sense for you.

Starting a new business can be both exciting and nerve wracking. Taking a home staging course can help you be better prepared and feel calmer so that you are usually more excited rather than stressed out.

It can help make sure you get things off to a good start. This can be the difference between a failed venture and a thriving one. Knowing that you are being given an edge and putting down a foundation to help you succeed can help you forge ahead with confidence.

So, as they say, choose wisely.

8. Does the course offer a guarantee?

Since you’ve read this far down the page, you’ll understand that there is a lot to consider when choosing the best home staging course to suit your needs. For this reason we always recommend choosing a course that has a 100% money back guarantee. The Home Staging Institute offers this for all students if the course isn’t what they expected, so you are safe with us. If you decide to go else where if you find a different course that suits your needs better, be sure to check they offer a money back guarantee as well.

In Summary

Decide what you want to learn, then find the course that best matches these requirements. We are obviously biased towards online home staging courses since we have been offering them for over 10 years now and see how well they suit our students life style, but if you need that hands-on social interaction, a local home staging course might be best for you.

Once you’ve decided which course is best for you, check their guarantees, and whether they offer some sort of certification badge or certificate to add to your website and marketing materials.

Ticking these boxes will ensure you get bang for your buck and are happy with the course you choose.

One last thing: Don’t assume that more expensive courses are better! We offer one of the cheapest home staging courses on the market, and perhaps the cheapest home staging certification available. Whether you spend a few hundred dollars with a company like The Home Staging Institute, or a few thousand dollars with other certification providers, the main thing is to answer the above questions so you are getting the best course for you.

home staging promotion

Frequently Asked Questions

I always like to finish up some frequently asked questions, so here are out top home staging certification questions:

What is the best home staging certification?

I’m biased, and will of course recommend the Home Staging Institute. You need to decide for yourself which is the best home staging certification based on what you want to get out of the course. If you are unsure what I am talking about, re-read our guide above.

How do I get a home staging certification?

There are two ways how to get a home staging certification: local courses, or online. Local courses let you meet and mingle with other students, but online courses let you study in your own time without a strict schedule. Online course are also cheaper.

Is there specific home staging certification for realtors?

The Institute doesn’t provide specific home staging certification for realtors, but we do tailor a course for realtors which results int he same certification as our other home staging courses. The realtor course is just a little more thorough and in-depth.

Should I simply find a course that provides home staging certification near me?

My recommendation is not to simply look for a local home staging course, consider online courses too. You should find the course that best suits your needs, rather than where the course is located.

What does home staging certification cost?

With the Home Staging Institute, home staging certification costs $247 as a one-off payment, or six payments of just $42. As at the time of writing, other courses costs are:

  • QC Design School: $1604 when paid in full
  • $999 when paid in full

Is a cheap home staging certification course good?

Yes, we do offer a very cheap home staging certification course, but that doesn’t mean it is low quality or not reputable. We at The Home Staging Institute spent a lot of time and money preparing the courses back in 2007 when we were one of the first home staging training providers on the internet, and since then we have had thousands of graduates through our training. For this reason, we don’t need to charge a lot as much of our investment in creating the courses is already paid for. The reason we can offer cheap home staging certification is because we are an online provider, our systems are automated, and the fee is primarily to cover the cost of the exam, and our instructors time in marking your work and preparing the certificate.

I’ve looked everywhere and can’t free online home staging certification. Does it exist?

No, there is no free online home staging certification.

What is the different between all the home staging certification programs?

At the end of the day, home staging is home staging. And because of this, all the courses cover pretty much the same key topics. Over the years our team has taken many of the other home staging certification programs to see what they offer, and to help improve our own courses, and have found a few little differences.

  1. The more expensive courses are more advanced technologically. Their websites are obviously higher-end, and would of costs tens of thousands or more to develop. Here are the Home Staging Institute, we give our website a polish every year or so, but we focus heavily on the course material rather than being high-tech.
  2. Different courses vary in their examples and imagery based on their geographic region. Home stagers in Utah and styling houses different to those in New York, who again are styling homes different to those in London or Sydney. Although we recommend taking an online home staging class, it is probably a good idea to take one that was created for people in your country. Note that we at the Home Staging Institute have students from all over the world, but primarily cater to people in the United States.

Are there any home staging school requirements or pre-requisites?

No, there are no requirements before taking a course on home staging. We have students in high school, through to PhD graduates, to retirees who want to create an additional income.


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About The Author

Jackie Riley

The Home Staging Institute offers courses and products that help people set up and run successful home staging businesses. The Institute was set up in 2007 by successful home staging business owner Jackie Riley. Today, the institute has students in many countries around the world, including America, Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France. Since 2007, thousands of people have graduated.

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