Preparing Your Manager For the CMCA

Hiring a new manager is a big investment for a management company. Giving your new manager time to adjust as he or she adapts to your company culture, gets to know your clients, and navigates the inevitable learning curve takes time and money. But often overlooked in the early part of this process is professional development. What can you do to help your manager succeed in your business and with your clients?

It’s widely known that the community association manager’s scope of responsibility is vast. A manager needs to understand contracting, property maintenance, reserves, and much more to properly manage a community association. That’s why the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential is designed to verify a community manager’s knowledge of industry best practices in these critical areas.

Many management companies have seen the value in the CMCA program and require their new hires to pass the exam as a hiring contingency. Certifying new managers as CMCAs will help them gain a valuable qualification not only to further their careers but their success for the company as well.

While certifying new managers as CMCAs is an excellent idea, many new managers may have either limited or no previous knowledge of the many facets of their position.

To set your manager up for success, it’s important to give them the time and resources they will need to fully absorb all the different aspects of the profession. Encourage your manager to visit the www.camicb.org website for resources designed to help prepare new managers to successfully pass their CMCA Exam the first time:


Encourage your new manager to enroll in The Community Associations Institute (CAI)’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Associations course, which also fulfills the educational prerequisite.
This course is designed as an overview of the community association management profession as a whole and will give your new manager the foundation of knowledge they will need to build on.

Give your managers time to review and study the exam prep materials available on the www.camicb.org website.
A list of all preparatory materials is available on www.camicb.org by selecting Get Certified >> Exam Preparation. From games and puzzles to glossaries and definitions, these study materials cater to a variety of learning styles.

Emphasize to your manager the importance of learning standardized test-taking strategies
Because the CMCA exam is designed to evaluate a community manager’s knowledge of industry best practices, more than one multiple choice answer may, on an initial reading, seem correct. From an industry best practices perspective, however, there is only one correct answer.

Develop study sessions for new managers that include experienced staff.
With so much information to take in, your manager will likely have many questions while studying for their exam. Consider pairing the new manager with other CMCAs in your office to give them the opportunity to ask specific questions and learn important skills they will need to apply their knowledge.

Offer the new manager up to a year to study and gain experience for the exam
The CMCA Exam tests both the manager’s knowledge and the manager’s understanding of the application of best practices.  That understanding will best be gained from hands-on experience.Giving the manager enough time to understand and apply knowledge in practice will dramatically
increase their chance of success on the exam

If your management company already has in place an avenue for managers to earn professional credentials, like the CMCA, tell us how you do it! Share your insights; what works and what doesn’t work to help other new managers find success.

Finding CE Credit Opportunities That Make Sense for You

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director

CAMICB is a program dedicated to professional growth and competency and has designed the CMCA Recertification process to encourage certified managers to continually pursue professional development in the community association management field.  To facilitate these efforts, a Committee appointed by the CAMICB Board of Commissioners meets monthly to review and approve anywhere between 40 and 60 applications each month from various providers.

While there are more than 800 pre-approved continuing education courses, many of which are free or low-cost and can be found on the CAMICB.org web site, we also believe in flexibility and want to make sure you take the courses that best support your professional path.  If there’s a course or event you’re interested in that’s not included on the approved list of continuing education, managers are encouraged to submit the continuing education opportunity to CAMICB for approval.

Remember, the topics must pertain specifically and primarily to community association operations or management (e.g., operations, administration, legal requirements), are relevant to your professional development (e.g., Quickbooks, Excel, effective communications, leadership, etc.) or have a direct impact on your community. For example, if you manage a primarily Spanish-speaking community, and are interested in taking a Spanish language course, CAMICB would consider approving those credits.  

Approval can be granted in one of two ways: by either asking the course provider to complete and submit the CE Course Provider Application or by submitting the program outline or agenda, including dates, times, and speaker bios, to CAMICB yourself.  Similarly, college courses may be submitted for approval if the classwork meets the criteria described in the CMCA Handbook

A Snapshot of Available Resources & Tips for Finding CE Credits

Be sure to review Section 4 of the CMCA Handbook for a primer on earning continuing education credits, as well as the Continuing Education Page at www.camicb.org for an overview of credit and coursework specifications.

Next, consider the many already approved options available to complete your continuing education coursework from the List of Approved Continuing Education, including pre-approved courses offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI).

Take advantage of your local CAI chapter by monitoring any upcoming events or classes that have been approved for continuing education credit. To find your local chapter, go to the Find a Chapter page on the CAI website.

And don’t forget to explore free or low-cost webinars that are offered by the following providers: