Community association management remains a strong career path, both in the U.S. and abroad. As you probably know, many service sectors jobs, particularly those in the hospitality industries, were hit hard by COVID-19. And while America’s job market added back 2.5 million jobs in May of this year, these industries are not putting as many people back to work as other industries are.
As hiring starts to climb back up, there’s no denying a long job road lies ahead. But even in these difficult times, there are bright spots and opportunities for those who formerly worked in the service industries. The field of community association management is growing and offers great potential for professionals who want to continue in a people-facing career.
The Community Associations Institute (CAI) estimates that as of 2018, there are approximately 347,000 community associations in the United States housing over 73 million residents. That’s 11 million more residents than just a decade ago. In fact, one in four people in the U.S. lives in a community association. There are approximately 8,000 community association management companies and up to 55,000 off and on-site community association managers in the U.S. alone.
As the number of people living in community associations increases, so too does the number of jobs for community association managers. If you’re a people person who’s skilled in multi-tasking, community management can be a great next career choice.
Job prospects are excellent, especially for community association managers who hold both a college degree and a professional designation. It’s estimated that up to 26 percent of all ownership housing is in one of the three basic types of community associations. Many new job opportunities will open up for those interested in the field, while others will arise from the need to replace community association managers who transfer, retire, or leave the field. As of May 2019, the median annual wage for community association managers was just over $58,760. Employment in the industry is projected to grow seven percent from 2018 to 2028.
As job prospects and wages vary from state to state, it’s a good idea to check out your area’s particulars.
CMCA – The Essential Credential
The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential is key to building a successful career in community association management. It signifies to employers you’re competent in specific management practices and are committed to professional excellence, ethical business standards, and continuing education. Employers are always on the lookout for dedicated professionals, and the CMCA credential after your name often makes the difference between whether or not you land the all-important first interview.
The CMCA credential is highly accessible:
- It can be achieved with a limited investment of time and money on your part.
- It takes a few days of prerequisite course work, some time for study, and one day for the exam.
- Its relatively low cost is a great investment in your future.
Earning the CMCA credential opens the door to higher earnings—on average 20 percent more—than non-credentialed community association managers. It is also a great way to build your professional expertise and image.
Is a Certified Manager of Community Associations Career Right for You?
If you were previously employed in a service sector position but were furloughed or had your job eliminated due to COVID-19, a career in community association management could be an excellent pivot for you. The work is varied, interesting, and satisfying as you work closely with residents and Board members, make site visits to the community, hire and supervise vendors, interact with community leaders, and so much more.
As a certified manager, you should have a thorough knowledge of the policies of the community association you hope to work for. Attention to detail, flexibility, and good organizational skills are essential characteristics that good community association managers possess. The best community association managers also have excellent interpersonal skills, are able to effectively communicate with a diverse range of people and thrive on multi-tasking.
An Interactive and Rewarding Career Opportunity
The best parts of life as a community association manager are also built into the job itself. Not only do you earn a decent living, but you’re constantly learning new things and meeting interesting people from all walks of life. The odds of becoming bored on the job are slim—there are just too many different and interesting things to do!
Community association management is not for everyone, though. If you prefer a more laid-back work life with fixed hours and minimal or no job-related stress, you might want to pursue another career. But if you’re a real people-person who gets excited about staying up-to-date on things like frequent community management regulatory changes, possess a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards life, and can keep your wits about you when others are stressed, you can’t ask for a more engaging and stimulating career!
Becoming a Certified Manager of Community Associations is not merely a designation; it can lead to the journey of a lifetime. It elevates your credibility as a community association manager and makes employers more confident in hiring you. Finally, it offers you a wealth of opportunity, stability, and growth in an exciting career that still, even through COVID-19, shows no sign of slowing down.