A borrower does not have to have housing counseling in order to obtain an FHA mortgage unless required under specific FHA programs (e.g. HECM, Back to Work). However, housing counseling is still highly encouraged by FHA, particularly for first time buyers. Lenders must ensure that borrowers receive all required counseling, and that all counseling is provided by HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.
For additional information see Handbook 4000.1 II.A.1.a.iii.(A)(2); II.A.5.d.xi.(D) available at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/administration/hudclips/handbooks/hsgh
For information on housing counseling and to find a counselor go to the following HUD website: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/i_want_to/talk_to_a_housing_counselor or call HUD's interactive voice system at 1-800-569-4287.