5 recognized property management certifications

Date Published : Feb-19-2019

Written By : Phillip Livingston

Whether you’re managing an apartment complex or condominium building, it’s helpful to have a certification to help you manage the property more proficiently. In this article, we will share with you the top 5 most recognized property management certifications in the industry. We highly recommend that you consider one of them if you’re serious about sustaining a career in property management.


1. CAM- Certified Apartment Manager:

The Certified Apartment Manager certification is suitable for anyone who wants to manage apartment rentals. The National Apartment Association (NAA) offers this certification to industry professionals. It’s an organization that has an international membership of 750, 000 companies.

The CAM certification comes with certain prerequisites. For example, applicants need one year of on-site experience to qualify for the exam. You must also complete the coursework within 12 months of application. Luckily, you’ll only have 40 hours of coursework to go through so you can go at your own pace.


What you’ll learn

Through this certification, you’ll learn how to:

  • Prepare a comprehensive marketing plan
  • Treat current and potential tenants fairly
  • Determine occupancy rates
  • Conduct property inspections
  • Manage a sales team and ensure product readiness
  • Keep tenants and maintain a positive brand image
  • Communicate consistently with tenants
  • Process service requests
  • Deal with contractors and vendors
  • Conduct property inspections
  • Resolve issues and provide services to your tenants
  • Conduct preventative maintenance programs
  • Find, recruit, hire and train employees
  • Manage accounts by following sound practices and principles
  • Prepare accurate reports on property performance
  • … and more

This certification is a great way to polish your skills as a property manager. Not only will you receive a certification upon passing the exam, but you’ll also get a digital badge that you can use as a website banner. This shows prospective tenants that you operate your property based on sound practices.


2. CPM- Certified Property Manager

The CPM certification is an internationally recognized and sought after qualification. It’s awarded by the National Association of Realtors and offers a wealth of knowledge. A majority of the individuals who hold this certification are property owners or high-ranking members of their respective organizations.

But, it’s difficult to get this qualification because it comes with several strict requirements. For example, candidates must show a thorough understanding of every aspect of the business. The knowledge required to qualify for this certification requires years of experience in the industry. In most cases, they pick candidates who are actual property owners or someone who’s had an active property portfolio for at least three years.

In addition, candidates must hold a real estate broker’s license as well.


What you’ll learn

According to the NAR website, the CPM certification is divided down into seven different categories, namely:

  • Budgeting, Cash Flow, and Reporting for Investment Real Estate (FIN402)
  • Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Retail Properties (MKL404) or Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Multifamily Properties (MKL405) or Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Office Buildings (MKL406)
  • Leading a Winning Property Management Team (HRS402)
  • Managing Maintenance Operations and Property Risk (MNT402)
  • Financing and Loan Analysis for Investment Real Estate (ASM603)
  • Performance and Valuation of Investment Real Estate (ASM604)
  • Asset Analysis of Investment Real Estate (ASM605)

Once you complete these courses, you must write an exam. Then, you’ll undergo a mandatory Ethics Training course followed by another exam. The CPM certification requires a hefty investment not just financially but time-wise. But, the rewards are worth it. Afterward, you’ll receive what is arguably the most widely recognized accreditation in the global property industry.


3. CMCA- Certified Manager of Community Associations

The CMCA certification was developed by the Community Associations Institute. It’s awarded by the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB). The CAMICB designed it specifically for managers of homeowners or condominium associations.

To qualify for this certification, you must complete a prerequisite course that’s offered by the CAMICB. An example would be the “Associations Institute’s (CAI) M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management”. You must also prove that you have five years’ experience managing a property portfolio.


What you’ll learn

Here’s what you’ll learn through the CMCA course:

  • Property maintenance procedures
  • Contracting
  • Financial controls
  • Governance and legal issues
  • How to organize and manage meetings
  • How to manage budgets, Reserves, Investments, and Assessments
  • Human resource management
  • Risk management and insurance
  • Ethics of property management

This certification is perfect for anyone that’s interested in advancing their career in the property business. It is a very hands-on course that keeps members up to date on the latest property management state regulations. It also grants you access to a network of CMCAs so you can learn from experienced property experts in your region.


4. NAHP- National Affordable Housing Professional

Awarded by the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAMHA), the aim of the NAHP certification is to promote fair and proper management of affordable housing. It has strict application requirements. For instance, it requires applicants to have a minimum of 2 years’ experience in managing affordable housing.

Affordable housing units operated by individuals with this qualification often demonstrate a high level of efficiency and professionalism. The NAHP certification is ideal for anyone that wants to improve their competency and achieve recognition in the affordable housing industry.


What you’ll learn:

To become certified, applicants must complete:

  • 40 hours of training as a CPM, ARM or CAM
  • The Fair Housing Compliance course by NAMHA
  • Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO) course or the Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM) course by NAMHA

All told, the NAHP accreditation offers a highly specialized form of training. It’s perfect for industry professionals that want to stand out in their given field. Gaining this certification will distinguish you as a well-respected member of the affordable housing community and you’ll walk away with knowledge that will sharpen your management skills.

The best part is that NAHMA offers ongoing training to its members in keeping with the latest industry regulations and procedures.


5. RPA- Real Property Administrator

The Real Property Administrator (RPA) certification is administered by the Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI) International. Its aim is to equip property owners and managers with the knowledge and expertise required to minimize risk and maximize the net income of a building.

Participants are taught how to design, operate and maintain commercial and residential real estate. Applicants must have at least three years of verifiable property management experience to qualify.


What you’ll learn

Participants in the RPA certification course learn the following:

  • Budgeting and accounting
  • Environmental health and safety
  • Ethical conduct in property management
  • Law and risk management
  • Real estate investment and finance
  • Part I and II of a course called “The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Building Systems”

Apart from these requisite courses, participants may add one of the following three elective courses:

  • Leasing and Marketing for Property Managers
  • Asset Management
  • Managing the Organisation

There are currently 4, 200 individuals with the RPA property management certification in the US and Canada.


Why is Certification Important?

Gaining a property management certification is an important milestone in any real estate professional’s career. It’s a great way to learn more about the business because there’s no formal college education qualification available for property managers.

Most of these courses are offered by professional bodies within the real estate and property industry. Their aim is to improve the overall standard of operations within the entire sector. Being certified also gives you access to a network of experienced mentors and colleagues from whom you can gain a lot of practical knowledge.

Plus, most property owners nowadays prefer to hire candidates that have an industry qualification. That’s because certification is a sign of reliability, credibility, and authority. So, gaining one of these qualifications is a smart career move, no matter how much experience you have.

Most of the property management certification courses cited in this article are available online which means you can learn at your own pace and from anywhere in the world. But, you must submit supporting documents to prove your level of experience according to the prerequisites of each certification.



As a property manager, you need to wear many hats every day as your job requires several different skills. You must maintain the property, keep the tenants happy, market the property to fill vacancies and maximize profits for the owner.

Taking a property management course will prepare you to understand how to maximize profits while minimizing risk in your operations. After receiving your certification, your peers will recognize you as an industry expert that’s able to manage any real estate asset.

You can start with a comprehensive course like the CPM or CMCA certification. Or opt for a specialized qualification like the NAHP or CAM. The choice is yours.

But, even with a property management certification property management software like Condo Control Central can help to make your life easier. There are also training options available that allow you to fully utilize all aspects of the software. Although it is not mandatory to receive training on different property management software, it is always a good idea to keep up with digital trends that emerge in your industry. You can use it to put your knowledge to good use and digitize your operations for better efficiency. 

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