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Adobe Proficiency Certification


Next examination: June 10, 2023

Written exam: In Albuquerque, New Mexico (location may be relocated depending on participants who enroll for the exam)

Practical exam: In Albuquerque, New Mexico (location may be relocated depending on participants who enroll for the exam)

Examination fee: $225 + tax = $243 for TEG members, $285 + tax = $307 for non-members



Certification is a voluntary program providing recognition of one’s professional knowledge through a process of examination and review of experience and educational qualifications by adobe construction professionals. Recognition is given by the Earthbuilders’ Guild to those who (1) meet the eligibility requirements for admission to the examination as set forth in the application, (2) successfully complete the examination.

The objectives of the Adobe Proficiency Certification Program are:

  • to encourage the development of adobe construction professionals.

  • to recognize adobe builders’ competency at the basic professional level and create incentives for these individuals to continue their professional development.

  •  to provide the public and those in government with a means to identify adobe builders who demonstrate, through a professionally developed exam and education program, that they have a thorough knowledge of safe, code-compliant adobe construction.

The benefits of the Adobe Proficiency Certification Program include:

  • Certification affords the public and those in government the opportunity to make an informed selection of services based on the knowledge that is represented by the certification designation.

  • Certification builds an individual’s self-image. By studying for and passing the exam, individuals reaffirm to themselves and their peers a thorough knowledge of and dedication to adobe building.

  • The process of becoming a TEG-certified adobero/adobera and maintaining certification provides incentives for adobe builders to continue ongoing professional development.

  • Certification is a tool to help employers, both in training their personnel and selecting new employees.


The certification examination is weighted in the following manner:

5% – Educational background                                             

5% – Adobe construction basics                                          

5% – Adobe foundation and wall design                            

5% – Insulation, heating, cooling, passive solar               

5% – Adobe roof design and construction                        

5% – Adobe floor construction                                            

5% – Interior and exterior finishes (traditional)              

5% – Cement-based finishes                                                 

5% – NM Earthen Building Code & permitting process                 

5% – Preservation of historic adobe structures                              

50% – Hands-on practical exercise          

Recommended Study Materials for the Adobe Proficiency Certification Examination

Adobe Conservation

by Cornerstones Community Partnerships Staff

Sunstone Press (August 15, 2006) ISBN-13: 978-0865345270

Adobe: Build It Yourself, Revised Edition

by Paul Graham McHenry Jr.

University of Arizona Press; Revised edition (August 1, 1985)

ISBN-13: 978-0816509485

2015 New Mexico Earth Building Materials Code: Click here

Adobe and Rammed Earth Buildings: Design and Construction

by Paul Graham McHenry Jr.

University of Arizona Press; Later Printing edition (September 1, 1989)

Earthbuilders’ Encyclopedia CD-ROM (

NMSEA Passive Solar Design Primer (


Passive Solar House Basics

by Peter Van Dresser

Paperback: 136 pages

Publisher: Gibbs Smith; Ancient City Press ed. edition (April 1, 1996)

ISBN-13: 978-0941270908


How the Examination Is Developed

  • The certification examination is developed by a panel of industry experts representing all aspects of adobe building and preservation.

  • Questions are developed by the TEG Certification Test committee with industry input.

  • New questions are always being developed. Questions that do not perform satisfactorily are removed from the question bank. New examinations are created on a regular basis.

The Format of the Examination

The written portion of the certification examination consists of 100 multiple-choice and short-essay questions. Each multiple-choice question has four choices listed, only one of which is correct. You will have 3 hours to complete the written examination and, separately, the hands-on practical portion will be an additional 5 hours.

Attainment of Certification

If you achieve the overall passing score of 75%, you will receive the designation of TEG Certified Adobe Professional. You will be sent a certificate and information to help you maintain your certification. Please remember that the domains are weighted and the average of the ten domains WILL NOT be equal to the overall score. If you do NOT achieve an overall passing score, you must retake the entire exam. You will be allowed to retake the exam one time for free within one year. If you do not show up for the scheduled retake exam, you will forfeit your free retake. After that, each time you retake for up to one year, there will be a charge of $75.00 USD. If you do not attain certification within one year from the original test date, you will be required to pay the full amount to re- test.

Denial and Revocation of Certification

  • Certification will be denied or revoked for any of the following reasons:

  • falsification of application

  • violation of testing procedures

  • misrepresentation

  • failure to pass the examination

Denials or revocations of certification may be appealed to the Certification Board in writing.



Examination Eligibility Requirement

The TEG Certification Board requires candidates to have a minimum of two years of experience in adobe construction. Acceptable experience includes, among other things, working at adobe construction sites as well as participating in adobe education courses and workshops. By submitting your application, you authorize TEG certification staff to contact the references you have listed on your application to substantiate your eligibility.

The TEG Certification Program does not discriminate in determining eligibility on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Test Dates and Application Deadlines

Certification exams are offered at a to be determined location.

Examination Fees

Certification Exam Fee $225 USD for TEG members, $285 for non-members. To be eligible for the discount rate, you MUST be a current member of The Earthbuilders’ Guild.


After your application is received in the TEG office, you will receive a confirmation letter confirming the date and time of the exam, directions to the exam site, and the name of the appropriate contact person. If there is a problem with the application and/or fees, TEG certification staff will contact you. If the problem is NOT corrected, you will not be allowed to sit for the exam. If circumstances change after you have applied for the examination, you must request in writing to have your exam rescheduled. If your request does not reach TEG before the exam deadline date you will be considered a no-show.

Rescheduling an Examination

If you need to reschedule your exam for any reason you may contact the TEG Certification Department. A fee of $50 applies for each reschedule.


TEG does not provide refunds for certification exam fees (including administrative fees), nor do we permit the transfer of exam fees to other individuals.



Admission for Testing

To be admitted for testing, you must arrive at the testing site on time and have your identity confirmed by presentation of an ID. The best ID is a government- issued ID such as a driver’s license with photo, military photo ID, or a passport.


Testing Site Rules

  • You should report to the testing site at least 30 minutes before the exam starting time. The exact reporting time, date, and location of the exam will be enclosed in your confirmation packet. You must be on time; the test administration will begin promptly.

  • Books, papers, or other reference material are not allowed in the testing room.

  • No cell phone/pagers/PDAs or visitors are allowed in testing room.

  • You may raise your hand if you have a question about the exam and the proctor will try to assist you.

  • You will be permitted to take restroom breaks on an individual basis.

  • If you are caught looking at other individuals’ exams or talking during the exam, scores may be invalidated or exam materials confiscated.

  • It is of utmost importance that you carefully follow all directions and regulations. Listen carefully to all instructions given by the proctor and follow the directions completely.



Your Score Report

Your individual score report will be mailed approximately four to six weeks after your test date. You must achieve an overall score of at least 75% to achieve certification. Please remember that because each domain is weighted, the overall score is NOT the arithmetic average of the domain scores.


Notification of Certification

Upon successful completion of the exam, TEG staff will send, along with the score report, a congratulatory letter, recertification information and wallet ID card.



If you do not pass the exam, you will receive your score sheet, a letter explaining the retake process, and a retake application. You may retake one time at no charge. If you fail to show, you will forfeit your free retake. There will then be a $75 USD fee per retake up to one year. After one year, you will be required to pay the full amount. You MUST file the retake form prior to the deadline date, to be scheduled for the next exam.

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