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Adobe Fundamentals Certificate


The Format of the Examination

The written portion of the certification examination consists of 20 multiple-choice and short-essay questions. Each multiple-choice question has three to four choices listed, only one of which is correct. You will have 1 hour to complete the written examination and, separately, the hands-on practical portion will be an additional 2.5 hours.

Written exam: The written exam will be administered online based on student’s schedule but must be successfully completed at least two weeks before the practical exam takes place. Passing the written exam is a prerequisite for participating in the practical exam.

Practical exam: The practical exam will take on June 10, 2023 in Albuquerque, New Mexico (location may be relocated depending on participants who enroll for the exam).

Examination fee: $125 + tax = $135 for TEG members, $150 + tax = $162 for non-members



Certification is a voluntary program providing recognition of one’s basic 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 successfully complete the examination.

The objectives of the Adobe Fundamentals Certificate Program are:

  • to encourage the development of adobe construction professionals. 

  • to recognize adobe students’ competency at the fundamentals level and create incentives for these individuals to continue their educational & professional development. 

  • to provide the public and those in government with a means to identify adobe students 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 Fundamentals Certificate Program include:

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

  • The process of obtaining a TEG Fundamentals Certificate provides incentives for adobe students to continue ongoing educational development. 

  • The Certificate is a tool to help employers select new employees. 


The certificate examination is weighted in the following manner:


25% – Adobe construction basics

25% – Adobe foundation and wall construction

50% – Hands-on practical exercise

Recommended Study Materials for the Adobe Fundamentals Certificate 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

Earthbuilders’ Encyclopedia CD-ROM

How the Examination Is Developed

  • The certificate 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. 

Attainment of the Certificate

If you achieve the overall passing score of 75%, you will receive the designation of TEG Adobe Fundaments Certificate Holder. 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 $50.00 USD. If you do not attain your certificate within one year from the original test date, you will be required to pay the full amount to re-test.

Denial and Revocation of Certificate

  • Certificate 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 certificate may be appealed to the Certification Board in writing.


Examination Eligibility Requirement

The TEG Adobe Fundamentals Certificate Program is open to everyone and 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

Certificate exams are offered at a to be determined location.

Examination Fees

Certificate Exam Fee $125 USD for TEG members, $150 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 $25 applies for each reschedule.


TEG does not provide refunds for certificate 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 obtain a certificate.

Notification of Certificate

Upon successful completion of the exam, TEG staff will send, along with the score report, a congratulatory letter and your certificate.


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 $50 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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