Affordable Housing Professional Certification Program

The Affordable Housing Professionals Certification Program is a cooperative endeavor between the Center for Government Services (CGS) at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and the Affordable Housing Professionals of New Jersey (AHPNJ). It is a professional development course of study for individuals who work toward the support and provision of affordable housing, covering federally-funded programs as well as the state regulatory program.

The mission of AHPNJ is:

  • to promote and enhance professionalism and knowledge in the field by supporting affordable housing through dialogue, ethical standards, education, advocacy and policy guidance;
  • to establish “best practices” for housing procedure and protocol in the interrelated fields of administrative agents, architects, developers, property managers, state and municipal employees, non-profit and for-profit corporations, human/social service providers, financial institutions, planners and attorneys;
  • to establish resources for professional assistance;
  • to promote competency and expertise in the affordable housing industry that is desirable to employers, peers, advocates and clients;
  • and to promote compassion in the agencies and individuals that support the provision of affordable housing.

Course Descriptions


Certificate Requirements

To qualify for the Rutgers/AHPNJ certificate, participants must successfully complete 33 hours of classroom training. Successful completion is defined as 80% attendance of the class hours and a passing grade of 70% or higher on the final examination.

The four required courses total 24 hours. The remaining nine hours are accrued from electives approved by CGS and AHPNJ.

Required Courses

  • Introduction to Affordable Housing for NJ Municipalities
  • Determining Eligibility for Affordable Housing Programs
  • Fair Housing
  • Ethics for Affordable Housing Professionals

Approved Elective Courses


Required Courses 


Introduction to Affordable Housing for New Jersey Municipalities

12 hours
This two-day course defines affordable housing programs. Topics covered include the history of housing policy, the laws, regulations and court cases relative to affordable housing at both the federal and the state level, and their impact on housing availability. Students are familiarized with various programs, funding sources, regulatory entities, rules and regulations all related to the evolution of affordable housing. A final exam is administered in open-book format.

Determining Eligibility for Affordable Housing Programs

6 hours
This full-day course provides a basic understanding of the required steps necessary for determining “eligibility” to buy or rent an affordable housing unit. It reviews common components including determining household size, calculating income and assets, verifying information, comparing to posted limits, etc. The course also reviews key differences between programs or regulatory bodies including ramifications for errors made. It provides students with “tricks of the trade” and best practices. A final exam is administered in open-book format.

Fair Housing

3 hours
This half-day session centers on discrimination in housing, including state and federal legislation. It discusses who can be penalized, how disabilities are defined, what are reasonable accommodations, and what policies and procedures should be established and followed. The Fair Housing complaint process is also reviewed, and a multitude of resources (written, audio, visual, etc.) are shared. A final exam is administered in open-book format.

Ethics for Affordable Housing Professionals

3 hours
This half-day session focuses on the nature of the public trust and the “rules” for ethical behavior that are relevant for affordable housing professionals. New Jersey law and HUD regulations are examined and applied to ethical issues using a case study approach. A final exam is administered in open-book format.

Approved Elective Courses


Planning and Development of Affordable Housing

6 hours

Nontraditional development opportunities for housing authorities and redevelopment agencies are explored in this one-day course, including housing provided under the state’s Mount Laurel requirements. Strategies for developing housing within a wide range of are discussed, and the household income levels established by various federal and state programs are described. Specific attention is given to “how-to” tips for establishing and working with nonprofit corporations. 

Records Management for Affordable Housing

3 hours

This half-day course examines the requirements for the use, retention and release of records kept by municipalities and their outsourced agencies providing affordable housing services in the course of the administration of affordable units. The course also reviews the Open Public Records Act requirements and compliance. 

Qualifying Households for AFFORDABLE HOUSING

6 hours
This full-day course teaches Administrative Agents what to know when qualifying applicants for affordable housing. From what to look for when starting a new project to requirements for qualification in the Uniform Housing Affordability Controls to hands on experience and thoughtful advice from seasoned Administrative Agents, this class will give an overview of the regulations and the step-by-step procedures for the qualification process. A final exam is administered in open-book format.

Note #1: This course is highly recommended as an elective for Administrative Agents.

municipal process for residential development

6 hours

This course will provide students with an understanding as to how affordable units are decided and placed in the community. Topics include how sites are determined; guidelines currently in effect to determine affordable housing obligations; roles of the planning board and governing body; working with developers; working with affordable housing commissions; and knowing how to read a site plan to find the affordable housing components. A final exam is administered in open-book format.
Note: Prerequisite: Introduction to Affordable Housing for NJ Municipalities

Continuing Education


In order to maintain and renew the Affordable Housing Professional certificate, certificate holders must accrue twenty (20) hours of continuing education every three years.

It is the responsibility of the certificate holders to keep track of their renewal credits and apply for renewal at the appropriate time. If a certificate is not renewed, it expires. Renewal guidelines and application can be accessed here

Both the Center for Government Services and the Affordable Housing Professionals of New Jersey (AHPNJ) offer continuing education seminars that give certificate holders the opportunity to accrue the necessary hours. Credit is also approved by Rutgers for relevant seminars offered by a variety of organizations and host organizations may apply for credits by emailing Christine Cicio at

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Contact Information

Priscilla Hamilton
Program Assistant