This is going to be a somewhat epic post about home staging course reviews that I hope you’ll find helpful.
I am uniquely qualified to give you my take on all of these courses not because I’ve personally taken all of them, but because of my experience. I started out in the world of home staging back in 2004 and by 2005 I had launched my first online staging course.
Back then, there weren’t that many options for people who wanted to learn about becoming a professional home stager. Online courses were brand new. It was an interesting challenge to come up with a way of teaching a hands-on discipline like home staging via an online delivery method.
New courses have come onto the scene over time and still continue to pop up. I tend to favor the schools with long track records.
When I look at these courses I have a good idea of how long they’ve been around and I’ve seen many of them evolve and expand. I’ve heard anecdotal bits of info (good and bad) from them over the last decade, passed along to me via students that ended up enrolling in my program. That says something, so I will hint a little bit but I’m not going to get into any negativity.
There are good aspects of each of these home staging courses.
Home Staging Course Reviews
QC Design School is the program I recommend if you want an affordable certification program.
They have a free course available to check out, and the course is priced reasonably at about $1000 if you pay in full. What I like about this course is the payment plan options. You can opt for 13 payments of a little over $100 (billed monthly) or you can choose the accelerated payment plan of 5 payments of about $260.
The home staging course is set up as follows (I’m just giving you the highlights here):
Unit A: Staging industry overview, color psychology, color palettes for home staging, and a walk-through of a full-service staging project start to finish.
Unit B: Depersonalizing, decluttering, prepping each room, home staging style, using accessories and artwork.
Unit C: Lighting, curb appeal, window treatments.
Unit D: Learn about floorplans and go further in-depth into home design.
Unit E: Complete a home staging project.
Unit F: Business start-up, marketing, getting clients.
See more about the QC program.
I recommend the Staging Diva program elsewhere on the site and here’s why.
It’s been around since the early days of home staging training online. Take a look at Debra Gould’s free course to get a feel for her style. I always say it and it’s true: there really is nobody else in the business who can match her staging and design know-how as well as her marketing skills. There’s a real sense of confidence, creativity, and enthusiasm about her that I find inspiring.
Certification isn’t an option with the Staging Diva program, but you’re not gonna need it.
Here are links to the courses, which you can buy individually or as a package:
This is another one of the older home staging training options available. It’s the program run by Barb Schwarz who says she created home staging.
Through this program you can obtain the ASP certification, if that is important to you. It’s maybe the best known of the home staging designations; my only reservation is whether it’s even necessary to have such a credential.
They do three-day seminars in places like Lubbock, TX, Portsmouth, NH, and Cherry Hill, NJ. The training is well-regarded by people who have attended and many feel that the ASP really opens doors. But the expense is higher than others at about $1800. So that may be a factor for you. (It would be for me.)
It’s a great option if you learn better by being in person with an instructor and classmates, and of course if you’re comfortable with the expense.
However, can you learn what you need in three days?
One of the old timers in the biz, where you can get a solid home staging education with certification for an affordable price. It’s not the most comprehensive training available but for the price, I think you’ll find that is well exceeds your expectations.
As of this writing, courses are available starting at $177. It is not clear whether it is run by a current/former home staging business owner or not.
This is one of the big players in the world of online staging training. The course offers a LOT of material, tons of bells-and-whistles, videos, you name it. I have not reviewed the course itself. I’m sure the material is quite good.
However, because of my history in this industry, I am naturally a little wary of the schools that are trying to sell you on their “accredited” this or that designation. This is all a lot of gobbledygook, for the most part.
Home Staging Resource is accredited by RESA, an organization that exists ostensibly to advance the profession etc, but what it does in reality is lend credibility to its partner training programs by bestowing the accreditation upon schools that meet its standards. The problem is home staging was just fine before RESA existed. Oh, and the head of Home Staging Resource is on the board of RESA. So that’s where the accreditation originates. Now, mind you, I’m not saying anything untoward is going on. You decide.
It’s about a $1,000 program and it does offer certification. It’s a larger organization than others and some have said the customer service is not the best they’ve ever received. However, as I said, you will receive a heck of a lot of info.
That’s about as far as I’m going to go with my Home Staging Resource review.
New York Institute of Art + Design is another school along the lines of QC in that it offers a variety of design-related courses. It’s not exclusively a home staging school. What stands out to me is the mentor program that comes with the course, where a prominent home staging professional will be helping you along.
Like other programs, the course is comprised of units that cover topics ranging from an overview of home staging, home staging psychology, decor and style for home staging, business start-up, marketing, and project management.
Like others, the course is about $1000, although there are discounts available for paying in a lump sum. You can also opt to make payments.
The school has a 14-day money back guarantee.
Certification is available. It’s CHSP, and that’s fine if you’re looking specifically for certification. As I said earlier it doesn’t mean all that much since most of these certifications are made up credentials anyway.
This program says it’s the UK’s most popular staging training program. I have not seen this company out there in the world of home staging courses until fairly recently, which may only mean that their SEO efforts have gotten them higher up in rankings — not that they didn’t exist. Anyway, they offer a free intro course so you can get a feel for the material and quality.
The Art of Professional Home Staging program is a 10-course bundle that has a 30-day “no quibble” money-back guarantee. As of this writing the course is $474. They also have a payment plan option but the cost is substantially that higher that way, with three payments of $197 each.
Topics covered include: intro to professional staging, color planning, space & feng shui, lighting, decluttering, accessorizing, consultations, and business start-up. Like many others, the course is self-paced.
Certification is not available through this program.
This is a Canadian company that has been around since 2005. The website is stagingtraining.com but the company name is CSP International. I was a little confused about their branding at first because the certification they issue is called CSP. When I read their history it seemed like CSP stood for “Canadian Staging Professional” but right now they refer to it as meaning “Certified Staging Professional” — open to anyone, not just Canadians.
They offer a three-day in-person home staging certification program, which consists of two days in a classroom and one day in the field. They state that they are the most comprehensive training program for stagers.
I’m unable to locate the pricing info for their in-person class, which usually means the price is high. They want to get all of your information so they can send you an info packet that hopefully does list the price. I’m not going to give them my details, so the actual price will remain a mystery for now.
There are plenty of dates and locations available across the US and Canada, it looks like at least two sessions per month in each country, plus dates available in Australia less frequently.
There are online course options as well, but not for the professional staging certification program. The online courses range from “Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist” so you can earn the CRTS certification (the what? hmm), “Pricing Your Products and Services for a Premium Market”, “Mastering the Art of Difficult Conversations with Sellers”, and “Staging for Millennials”. These online courses range in price from about $25-50 as of this writing.
If you read the bio of the head of the school, Christine Rae, it talks a lot about her being a business woman and a pioneer in the industry, but it doesn’t mention her experience as a stager. Is there any?
As noted above, certification is available only through the in-person program. They strongly recommend that you get certified since it would be akin to trying to be a real estate agent without a license. Um, no, that’s not how that works. That would actually be illegal. You can most definitely be a home stager without a certification!
Are you getting the sense from my home staging course reviews that the one takeaway I want you to get is that you do not need to have a certification. And just because a program offers certification doesn’t mean the training is superior.
I mean, this school offers a $3,000 program. It’s a 5-day class that you travel to, and in some cases during the west coast courses (not clear if she’s always present at all courses) you get to train with Wanda Colón who has been on HGTV shows. The east coast classes feature a different interior design celeb.
They also have different versions of a home study certification for about $1000 or $1500. You get to watch the full 5-day class sessions on eight DVDs.
It says they have been in the home staging training business since 2007, but I only remember seeing them starting in around 2012 or so.
I don’t like the programs that are trying to get as much money as possible from you, I’m sorry. I know they’re in business to make money but I also disagree with taking it too far. I’m sure this program is fine if you’re comfortable with the expense.
The home study courses are in line with what others cost and if it were me I would probably opt for one of those. But that’s my learning style — I learn better independently, without the distractions of class discussions that can go off-topic, etc. And with this program, if you want to see something again you can just back the DVD up and watch it again.
Yes, right here. For free.
You can learn all of this:
- How to stage a home
- Home staging psychology
- Home staging style
- Home staging tips
- Using color in home staging
- Curb appeal ideas
- How to start a home staging business
- and a lot more
Ultimately, you have to look at each program and determine which one seems like the right fit for you. My home staging course reviews are meant as an overview to give you the points that stand out to me about each program. I’m not someone who has taken these courses. I’m just an industry veteran who has seen most of these programs enter the field and try to position themselves as the best course.
I come from the time when we learned this on our own, and certifications didn’t even exist. It’s very possible to make your own way in the world of home staging without any specific designation!