The American Society of Home Inspectors is a not-for-profit, professional association made up of independent home inspectors. It is also the oldest association of home inspectors in America. Membership spans nationwide and includes over 6,000 members divided among more than 80 chapters. The American Society of Home Inspectors aims to ensure high quality and ethical practice in the home inspection profession. Home inspections are a critical part of the home purchasing process, exposing possible defects, needed repairs and assessing a home's true condition before the home is purchased. Therefore, the American Society of Home Inspectors offers its members continuing education courses to enhance its members' knowledge and abilities. The society also supplies a database of its members so that buyers can find a local, qualified home inspector to hire.