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:

 

Decoding the ABC’s of Credentials, Certificates & Designations

What do those letters behind your name mean?

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director, CAMICB

Even for those deeply entrenched in the credentialing world, there’s a certain degree of confusion around some of the terminology used to describe specific paths professionals take to further their careers and skill sets. The field of community association management is no different so it’s important to educate managers, homeowners, and other community association professionals about the different options the profession has to offer and the value they hold.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), “credentialing” is an umbrella term used to refer to concepts such as professional certification, certificate programs, accreditation, licensure, and regulation.

ICE defines certification, licensure, assessment-based certificate, and accreditation in the following ways:

  • certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence, such as a community manager who has achieved the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®).  In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice.
  • Similarly, licensure tests an individual’s competence but is a mandatory process by which the government grants time-limited permission for that licensed individual to practice his or her profession, such as a real estate salesperson or real estate broker.
  • In contrast to certification and licensure, an assessment-based certificate program is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether those objectives were achieved by the student.
  • Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it is in compliance with those standards. The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is such a program. ICE currently offers accreditation to professional certification programs through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The CMCA credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) confirming it complies with NCCA’s stringent standards for a professional certification program. Accreditation validates the integrity of the CMCA program and is a mark of quality.

Specialty Designations

Community association professionals may also choose to bolster their careers and expand their level of expertise in certain areas. This is where specialty designations come into play. A “designation” is recognition of professional knowledge and expertise in a given subject matter or job skill.  To earn designations, membership is required in a professional organization and usually requires work experience.  Certain specialty designations are offered through the Community Associations Institute (CAI) including, the Association Management Specialist (AMS), Large Scale Manager (LSM), Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist (CIRMS) and Reserve Specialist (RS). This allows a community association professional to drill down into a specialized aspect of the business.  In some cases, for example the PCAM and AMS designations, passing the CMCA examination is a prerequisite to applying for these designations.

I’ve experienced a wide disparity in the background and quality of the managers with whom I’ve worked,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group.  “A manager who holds the CMCA assures me they have an important foundation in place – the ongoing education and knowledge necessary to successfully manage millions of dollars worth of other people’s property and a serious commitment to high ethical standards.”

Stephen Castle, CMCA, AMS, PCAM agrees all committed community association managers should hold the CMCA certification. “The CMCA certification demonstrates to employees and new managers a commitment to professionalism,” said Castle. “Further, CMCAs show their support for established national and international standards of knowledge and professional conduct for community association managers.”

The Certified Manager of Community Associations – The only accredited certification program in the world for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives.

The CMCA Goes Global

As CAMICB grew to be the premiere certification body in the United States for community association managers, it also gained international recognition for its established body of knowledge and strict ethical standards. Over the past two decades, the CMCA certification program crossed borders and oceans in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. This global expansion secured a high level of professionalism for association management and common interest communities worldwide. In 2017, CAMICB launched the international CMCA examination.

About ICE

The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, or ICE, is a professional membership association that provides education, networking, and other resources for organizations and individuals who work in and serve the credentialing industry.  ICE is a leading developer of standards for both certification and certificate programs and it is both a provider of and a clearing house for information on trends in certification, test development and delivery, assessment-based certificate programs, and other information relevant to the credentialing community.

Adequate Reserves – (FINALLY!) Defined

Robert M. Nordlund, PE, RS is the CEO/Founder of Association ReservesAssociationReservesLogo.

Many, if not most Governing Documents require the Board to set aside “adequate Reserves” to care for the common areas. But what exactly are “adequate Reserves”?

I was recently challenged to define the concept of adequate Reserves by a number of attorneys and D&O carriers. The attorneys wanted to know how to give liability exposure counsel to Boards to help them avoid claims of “inadequate Reserves”. The D&O carriers wish to understand what is and isn’t responsible behavior, as it affects their loss exposure from claims levied by disgruntled homeowners. So I enlisted a number of Reserve Study providers from other esteemed Reserve Study firms across the country (among them Mitch Frumkin from Kipcon, John Poehlmann and Ted Salgado from Reserve Advisors, Peter Miller from Miller Dodson Associates, and Bob Browning from Browning Reserve Group) to join me in crafting a long-needed definition. It is not yet endorsed by any governing body, but I’m excited to share our results with you:

“Adequate Replacement Reserves” is defined as a Replacement Reserve Fund and stable and equitable multi-yr Funding Plan that together provide for the timely execution of the association’s major repair and replacement expenses as defined by National Reserve Study Standards, without reliance on additional supplemental funding.”

This definition combines two concepts:

  1. The size of the Reserve Fund (measured by cash or Percent Funded); and
  2. A responsible multi-yr Funding Plan

It takes both for an association to claim they have adequate Reserves. A small Reserve fund which requires crippling high Reserve contributions may pencil out as “cash positive”, but one would not describe their situation as “adequate”. On the other hand, an impressively large Reserve fund in an association that is recklessly making inadequate contributions is also not “adequate”, as such a Reserve fund will soon require supplemental funds in the form of a loan or special assessment. In addition, our expectation is that the component expenses will be all reasonably foreseeable projects that meet the standard National Reserve Study Standards four-part test, not just a few carefully selected components in the next X years, or a short list of required components that barely meets a local statutory requirement.

So “adequacy” is not defined as a particular cash balance, Percent Funded, Funding Methodology, or Funding Goal. Adequacy it also is not defined by the type (or date!) of your most recent Reserve Study update. So I present to you the above definition of “Adequate Reserves”. Now Boards and industry professionals know what that means!

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments and thoughts on this topic.

 

 

 

What Should I Study for the CMCA Exam?

A variety of study aids are available to CMCA exam candidates online at CAMICB.org. Because CAMICB recognizes that people have different learning styles, multiple resources are available in various formats. A quick glance at those resources can be overwhelming. Here, we offer a roadmap designed to help you select and properly use those resources towards a successful outcome.

STEP 1. CMCA Study Guide. Download this FREE guide for an overview of how the CMCA exam was developed and how it’s structured. This is important to developing a study strategy. Here, you will also find the key to your studying success: The CMCA Knowledge

cmca-study-graphic-2

8 Knowledge Areas

Areas. You will be evaluated on these 8 knowledge areas, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area, as well as how each knowledge area is weighted, will help you properly prepare a solid study plan.

STEP 2. CMCA Handbook. Download the FREE handbook for an overview of the program, paying particular attention to:

  • Section 2: Taking the CMCA Exam highlights the policies and procedures of the exam.
  • Section 3: CMCA Examination Content and Study Materials offers just that, as well as strategies for standardized test-taking.

STEP 3. If you took CAI’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management, you are not fully prepared to sit for the CMCA exam. The M-100 will provide you with concrete knowledge (i.e., terms and definitions) but will not give you the knowledge to apply those terms and definitions to concepts. For example, What is a Quorum? is not a question you will see on the CMCA exam. You may, however, see a question like this, Quorum requirements conflicts are resolved by which of the following? That doesn’t mean you can skip this step. It’s still important to know the definitions in order to be able to apply them.

CMCAExamPrepSTEP 4. Quizlet is a FREE online tool that uses fun games and exercises to test your concrete knowledge. If after reviewing the M-100 course material, you find that your knowledge of terms and definitions is lacking, Quizlet is an excellent way to help you master those key terms and phrases, and prepare you for the next step in your study plan.

STEP 5. Best Practices Reports are FREE resource guides courtesy of the Foundation for Community Association Research. These Reports will help you gain applied knowledge in key areas found on the exam. Each report also contains case studies to help you understand how best practices are applied in real life situations, which is key to grasping an applied knowledge of these topics. If you’re a seasoned manager, spend a little extra time here. What you’ve learned on the job, may not be deemed best practices in the industry.

STEP 6. The CMCA Study Kit is available for purchase from the CAI Bookstore. A great tool for developing applied knowledge, you may purchase individual titles or the entire package depending on your needs.

STEP 7. CMCA Practice Exam is available online at a cost of $25 for one attempt and $40 for two. The Practice Exam includes questions that have been rotated off the exam and offers real time feedback on whether you were right or wrong on a question and why, offering real-world insight into the CMCA exam experience.

All of these materials to prepare you for the CMCA Exam can be found at CAMICB.org on the Exam Preparation web page. We encourage you to spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the Exam, and if you have any questions you can contact us at 866-779-CMCA or info@camicb.org.

We’d like to hear from managers who are studying for the exam. What’s working for you? What’s not? Please use the Comments section to let us know how you’re doing.

Understanding the Important Distinction Between Community Association Managers and Property Managers

By John Ganoe, CAE, CAMICB Executive Director

A common mistake in state legislatures considering community association manager licensing – and among the general public – is to lump community association managers and property managers into the same bucket. While both are very important roles, they are distinctly different professions with functions, skill sets and responsibilities specific to each.

A community association manager can manage every type of community: condominium associations, homeowner associations, resort communities and commercial tenant associations.  A community association manager works directly with prcommunity-property-managementoperty owners and homeowners.

Property managers oversee individual rental units or a group of rental units, such as an apartment complex. They’re responsible for managing the entire property while community association managers are responsible for common areas – not individually owned properties.

“From a legislative standpoint, this incorrect categorization occurs because state legislators misunderstand the nature of community association management,” said Matthew Green, CAMICB’s Director of Credentialing Services. “They believe that community association management skills are identical to those of a property manager without recognizing the vastly different responsibilities of these two positions.”

This misunderstanding of the two professions often bleeds into more general conversations occurring in this space. Compounding this is the reality that there’s a slight overlap in a couple of the duties performed. For example, both property managers and community association managers supervise certain maintenance activities, such as swimming pool upkeep and trash removal. But it’s important to understand that community association managers oversee and direct all aspects of running the business operation. This means, they authorize payment for association services; develop budgets and present association financial reports to Board members; direct the enforcement of restrictive covenants; perform site inspections; solicit, evaluate and assist in insurance purchases; and, even supervise the design and delivery of association recreational programs.

Property managers are responsible for managing the actual property and therefore handle the physical assets of the unit at the owner’s request. Property managers generally oversee rental units and leases. Their responsibilities might include finding or evicting tenants, collecting rent and responding to tenant complaints or specific requests. If a property manager is responsible for a vacation or second home, he or she may arrange for services such as house sitting or local sub-contracting necessary to maintain that property.  Alternatively, an owner may opt to delegate specific tasks to a property manager and choose to handle other duties directly.

Stephanie Durner, CMCA, AMS, who is the Director of Community Management at River Landing, a private gated golf course community in Wallace, NC, views the distinction this way,

“While property managers are generally charged with overseeing physical structures that are used by people who are not the owners of the property, association managers represent the property owners themselves and are involved in just about every aspect of the overall community. For instance, if a garage door is broken at a rental house, the tenant would call a property manager or owner/landlord. But if there’s a pothole that needs repair or if a neighbor’s dog is running loose through the neighborhood, that’s a task for the community association manager who both maintains the common areas and upholds the governing rules. To me, community association management is a more holistic approach that contributes to the overall quality of life for all the owners in a community.”

Green emphasized, “While some job responsibilities are similar, community association managers have additional functions. It’s critical that community association management be recognized as distinct from property management, because association management requires a wider variety of knowledge and skills.”

“Because of this, the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) offers and maintains the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential, the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives,” added Green. “Earning the CMCA credential means an individual has taken and passed the rigorous CMCA examination, proving they have a solid understanding of the business operations involved in being a community association manager.”

For community association managers, the bottom line is they understand and are experienced and knowledgeable in the many facets of running a business operation, assuring they provide the best possible service to the associations for which they are responsible.

CAMICB was established in 1995 to develop and administer the CMCA program. CAMICB insists on high ethical standards for community association managers because it not only strengthens the CMCA program, but protects consumers and associations that hire community association managers.

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.

How To Embed the CMCA Digital Badge into your Email Signature

Adding a hyperlinked badge image to your email signature is a great way to make sure your professional network is aware of your certifications, credentials and other badge-worthy recognition.  Watch this video for a quick tutorial on how to add your badge to an email signature, using Outlook and Gmail as examples. 

These instructions are for PC users. If you’re on a Mac, click here for instructions on adding your badge to email using Gmail.  If you’re having any trouble with adding your badge to your particular email client, contact the Acclaim Support TeamThey’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot. 

Step-by-step: Outlook

  1. ​From Acclaim, click the badge you’d like to embed in your email signature. Click the blue ‘Share’ button. 
  2. Click the ‘Download’ icon. Choose the small image – that will fit best in your email signature. 
  3. Click the ‘URL’ icon and copy it to your clipboard. 
  4. Over in Outlook, create your new email signature by opening a new message, then clicking ‘Signature.’
  5. Click ‘New’ to create a new signature. If you’d like to modify an existing signature, highlight it. 
  6. Name your new signature.
  7. Type any text you’d like in the signature, then click the ‘Image’ icon. 
  8. Locate the badge image you downloaded, then click ‘Insert.’
  9. Next, hyperlink the image  by clicking the badge, then selecting the ‘Hyperlink’ icon.
  10. Paste the URL you copied from Acclaim. 
  11. Click OK to save your new signature. 

Step-by-step instructions: Gmail

  1. From Acclaim, click the badge you’d like to embed in your email signature. Hover your mouse over the badge and right click to copy it.
  2. Within Gmail’s settings, access your email signature.
  3. Right click to paste the badge image into the signature. If the image appears too large, click the badge and select Small from the options presented.
  4. Back in Acclaim, click the blue ‘Share’ button underneath your badge.
  5. Next, click the ‘URL’ icon and copy it to your clipboard.
  6. Within your email signature, highlight the badge image and create a hyperlink with the URL you just copied. 
  7. Click OK to save your new signature.

Understanding the Important Distinction Between Community Association Managers and Property Managers

By John Ganoe, CAE, CAMICB Executive Director

A common mistake in state legislatures considering community association manager licensing – and among the general public – is to lump community association managers and property managers into the same bucket. While both are very important roles, they are distinctly different professions with functions, skill sets and responsibilities specific to each.

A community association manager can manage every type of community: condominium associations, homeowner associations, resort communities and commercial tenant associations.  A community association manager works directly with prcommunity-property-managementoperty owners and homeowners.

Property managers oversee individual rental units or a group of rental units, such as an apartment complex. They’re responsible for managing the entire property while community association managers are responsible for common areas – not individually owned properties.

“From a legislative standpoint, this incorrect categorization occurs because state legislators misunderstand the nature of community association management,” said Matthew Green, Director, State Affairs for the Community Associations Institute (CAI).  “They believe that community association management skills are identical to those of a property manager without recognizing the vastly different responsibilities of these two positions.”

This misunderstanding of the two professions often bleeds into more general conversations occurring in this space. Compounding this is the reality that there’s a slight overlap in a couple of the duties performed. For example, both property managers and community association managers supervise certain maintenance activities, such as swimming pool upkeep and trash removal. But it’s important to understand that community association managers oversee and direct all aspects of running the business operation. This means, they authorize payment for association services; develop budgets and present association financial reports to Board members; direct the enforcement of restrictive covenants; perform site inspections; solicit, evaluate and assist in insurance purchases; and, even supervise the design and delivery of association recreational programs.

Property managers are responsible for managing the actual property and therefore handle the physical assets of the unit at the owner’s request. Property managers generally oversee rental units and leases. Their responsibilities might include finding or evicting tenants, collecting rent and responding to tenant complaints or specific requests. If a property manager is responsible for a vacation or second home, he or she may arrange for services such as house sitting or local sub-contracting necessary to maintain that property.  Alternatively, an owner may opt to delegate specific tasks to a property manager and choose to handle other duties directly.

Stephanie Durner, CMCA, AMS, who is the Director of Community Management at River Landing, a private gated golf course community in Wallace, NC, views the distinction this way,

“While property managers are generally charged with overseeing physical structures that are used by people who are not the owners of the property, association managers represent the property owners themselves and are involved in just about every aspect of the overall community. For instance, if a garage door is broken at a rental house, the tenant would call a property manager or owner/landlord. But if there’s a pothole that needs repair or if a neighbor’s dog is running loose through the neighborhood, that’s a task for the community association manager who both maintains the common areas and upholds the governing rules. To me, community association management is a more holistic approach that contributes to the overall quality of life for all the owners in a community.”

Green emphasized, “While some job responsibilities are similar, community association managers have additional functions. It’s critical that community association management be recognized as distinct from property management, because association management requires a wider variety of knowledge and skills.”

“Because of this, the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) offers and maintains the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential, the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives,” added Sara Duginske, MS, CAMICB’s Director of Credentialing Services. “Earning the CMCA credential means an individual has taken and passed the rigorous CMCA examination, proving they have a solid understanding of the business operations involved in being a community association manager.”

For community association managers, the bottom line is they understand and are experienced and knowledgeable in the many facets of running a business operation, assuring they provide the best possible service to the associations for which they are responsible.

CAMICB was established in 1995 to develop and administer the CMCA program. CAMICB insists on high ethical standards for community association managers because it not only strengthens the CMCA program, but protects consumers and associations that hire community association managers.

Decoding the ABC’s of Credentials, Certificates & Designations

What do those letters behind your name mean?

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director, CAMICB

Even for those deeply entrenched in the credentialing world, there’s a certain degree of confusion around some of the terminology used to describe specific paths professionals take to further their careers and skill sets. The field of community association management is no different so it’s important to educate managers, homeowners, and other community association professionals about the different options the profession has to offer and the value they hold.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), “credentialing” is an umbrella term used to refer to concepts such as professional certification, certificate programs, accreditation, licensure, and regulation.

ICE defines certification, licensure, assessment-based certificate, and accreditation in the following ways:

  • certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence, such as a community manager who has achieved the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®).  In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice.
  • Similarly, licensure tests an individual’s competence but is a mandatory process by which the government grants time-limited permission for that licensed individual to practice his or her profession, such as a real estate salesperson or real estate broker.
  • In contrast to certification and licensure, an assessment-based certificate program is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether those objectives were achieved by the student.
  • Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it is in compliance with those standards. The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is such a program. ICE currently offers accreditation to professional certification programs through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The CMCA credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) confirming it complies with NCCA’s stringent standards for a professional certification program. Accreditation validates the integrity of the CMCA program and is a mark of quality.

Specialty Designations

Community association professionals may also choose to bolster their careers and expand their level of expertise in certain areas. This is where specialty designations come into play. A “designation” is recognition of professional knowledge and expertise in a given subject matter or job skill.  To earn designations, membership is required in a professional organization and usually requires work experience.  Certain specialty designations are offered through the Community Associations Institute (CAI) including, the Association Management Specialist (AMS), Large Scale Manager (LSM), Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist (CIRMS) and Reserve Specialist (RS). This allows a community association professional to drill down into a specialized aspect of the business.  In some cases, for example the PCAM and AMS designations, passing the CMCA examination is a prerequisite to applying for these designations.

I’ve experienced a wide disparity in the background and quality of the managers with whom I’ve worked,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group.  “A manager who holds the CMCA assures me they have an important foundation in place – the ongoing education and knowledge necessary to successfully manage millions of dollars worth of other people’s property and a serious commitment to high ethical standards.”

Stephen Castle, CMCA, AMS, PCAM agrees all committed community association managers should hold the CMCA certification. “The CMCA certification demonstrates to employees and new managers a commitment to professionalism,” said Castle. “Further, CMCAs show their support for established national and international standards of knowledge and professional conduct for community association managers.”

The Certified Manager of Community Associations – The only accredited certification program in the world for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives.

The CMCA Goes Global

As CAMICB grew to be the premiere certification body in the United States for community association managers, it also gained international recognition for its established body of knowledge and strict ethical standards. Over the past two decades, the CMCA certification program crossed borders and oceans in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. This global expansion secured a high level of professionalism for association management and common interest communities worldwide. In 2017, CAMICB launched the international CMCA examination.

About ICE

The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, or ICE, is a professional membership association that provides education, networking, and other resources for organizations and individuals who work in and serve the credentialing industry.  ICE is a leading developer of standards for both certification and certificate programs and it is both a provider of and a clearing house for information on trends in certification, test development and delivery, assessment-based certificate programs, and other information relevant to the credentialing community.

If it looks like a Community Manager and talks like a Community Manager, then it’s a Community Manager

(Not a Property Manager or Real Estate Broker)

When debating the issue of how to regulate community association managers, many state legislators seem to share a mindset that goes something like this …

If licensure requirements are already in place for property managers and real estate brokers, let’s toss community association managers into the same bucket. They all deal with homes and property, right?

What seems like a simple enough solution is a dangerous mischaracterization of the business of community association management. Without recognizing the vastly different responsibilities required of community managers, property managers and real estate brokers may be left unchecked and ill-equipped to carry out the roles and responsibilities required to manage a community association.

Are property managers or real estate brokers versed in the governance, elections of, and oversight of a board of directors? Are they skilled at developing guidelines by which homeowner committees must follow to carry out their roles and responsibilities? And, what about developing budgets, RFPs for contracting services on behalf of an association, or enforcing covenant restrictions?

The short answer is probably not. And, here’s why:

Community Association Managers vs. Property Managers

Community association managers are responsible for managing a corporation, not merely the property. As such, the scope of their responsibilities is much greater than required for property managers. Community association managers are responsible for maintaining common, not individually-owned, property. While some job responsibilities are similar, community association managers have additional functions. Community association management should be recognized as distinct from property management because association management requires a wider variety of knowledge and skills.

Community Association Managers vs. Real Estate Brokers

Managing a community association dramatically differs from selling real estate. The role of community managers is not to represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction. Community managers are not responsible for selling or leasing any property, including individually-owned property.

For these reasons, state legislators should refrain from adding to the confusion by clumping these professions into the same licensure classification.  If community association managers must obtain a broker’s license without intending to enter the profession, they will not be obligated to gain skills in that profession. Any regulatory program that ignores these differences denies community association residents security in the skills and knowledge of a professional community manager.

Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®)

What makes sense is for community managers to educate legislators, homeowners, property managers, and real estate brokers about certification programs, like the CMCA. The CMCA is a well-established, professionally regarded mechanism for evaluating and providing an on-going process of ensuring the competency of community managers.  To recognize programs like the CMCA relieves managers of the burden of having to keep up licensures they do not use, and frees up resources needed to hone and perfect the skills needed to professionally manage a community association.

What are your thoughts? As a community manager, how do you feel about this issue? Please comment and share your ideas.