Faded Red Certified Stamp Top Property Management Certifications Blog

Benefits of Property Management Certifications


Benefits to Property Managers

Property management certifications offer numerous benefits to property managers. First and foremost, certified property managers earn higher salaries. Additionally, it is a proven way to advance your property management career. Organizations want to hire the best talent, and earning a certification demonstrates direct industry knowledge. Lastly, it is easier to find new career opportunities if you hold a professional certification.

Benefits to Property Owners

Real estate owners need great property managers to maintain and maximize returns on their investments. As a result, hiring a certified property manager is a great decision. While certified property managers command higher annual salaries, it is worth the investment by property owners. While slightly different by property type, the top property management certifications all require:

  • Over 1 year of on-site management experience
  • Online or in classroom educational courses
  • Comprehensive final exams covering requires course work
  • Continuing education requirements to maintain certification

In addition to the above requirements, most certifications require ongoing membership in the affiliated property management association. This is just one more reason property owners can be confident they made a great choice when hiring a certified property manager.

Top Property Management Certifications by Industry


CAM – Certified Apartment Manager

The CAM certification is for property managers working in the multi-family industry and is especially relevant to professionals early in their career. Only requiring 1 year of on-site experience, the CAM certification can is a great way for younger apartment managers to increase their paychecks.

Even better, there are no property specific requirements to earn the certification. While there are a wide range of multi-family property types, such as student, assisted, and senior living, the CAM designation is applicable across all of them. Offered by the National Apartment Association, click here to learn more about earning the Certified Apartment Manager credential.

CPM – Certified Property Manager

Perhaps the most well known property management certification, the CPM is also one of the most widely respected. As a result, it is not easy to become a certified property manager. It starts with a 3 year experience requirement combined with minimum property sizes.

Once a professional earns a CPM, however, it pays career long dividends. CPM’s are paid higher salaries than uncertified colleagues and are often targeted by recruiters for career advancement opportunities. Click here to begin the process of joining IREM and earning a Certified Property Manager designation.

CMCA – Certified Manager of Community Associations

While specific to community management, the CMCA certification is extremely common and one of the top property management certifications. Managed by the Community Associations Institute, the CMCA is unique in a few ways. First, it allows for five years of direct industry experience to waive the required education courses. This is the only major industry certification that allows this substitution.

The CMCA is especially relevant in states dominated by HOA’s, where it is common for board members to eran the CMCA designation. This is the second way it is unique among its peers. Lastly, the CMCA is typically a career stepping stone for industry professionals. Often it is the first step in earning the AMS or PCAM designation. This does not mean the CMCA is not valuable on its own. Historically, CMCA’s earn 18% higher salaries after completing the certification process. Watch this quick video on the benefits of becoming a CMCA or click here to start the process online.

NAHP – National Affordable Housing Professional

The NAHP certification is one of the few property management credentials offered at different levels. In fact, it has 4 tiers of certification: Professional, Executive, Honorary, and Emeritus. Certification requirements change based on the tier of designation. A Professional certification only requires 2 years of experience while an Executive certification requires 5, for example.

Additionally, it is one of the few certifications that is very resident/tenant specific. A CPM could manage a shopping center or office property while a CAM could manage student housing or normal apartments. An NAHP must exclusively work on a property with residents who qualify for affordable housing. Offered by NAHMA, anyone currently managing an affordable housing property can click here to learn more about the certification process.

RPA – Real Property Administrator

One of the top credentials offered by BOMI International, the RPA program focuses heavily on financial aspects of property management. The program requires coursework, testing, and a three years of experience. Core topics covered in the program include property accounting, the budgeting process, bidding on vendor contractors, and overall risk management. RPA’s typically manage commercial properties.

The RPA program is a very attractive option for property owners when deciding to hire a property manager. The overall goal of the RPA program is teaching property managers who to enhance the value of managed properties for owners. RPA’s have proven skills in financial operations and decision making. Click here to learn more about the RPA program.

Investing in Personal and Career Development

Due to the long term career benefits, earning a property management certification is always a good decision. In fact, it is one of the single best investments a property manager can make in themselves and their career. Unlike a college degree, a property management certification demonstrates industry specific skills and expertise. In the long run, this helps certified property managers advance in their careers multiple ways.

First and foremost, certified property managers are traditionally given more responsibility than non-certified colleagues. As a result, they are more likely to be identified for promotion and given opportunities to work on marquee properties. It is because of these opportunities and promotions, that certified property managers earn higher salaries. Combining these factors, it is easy to see why earning one of the top property management certifications is an excellent personal development investment and proven way to change your property management career path.

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