Property managers in New Jersey are not specifically required to be licensed—although many of them do get accredited through organizations like the Institute of Real Estate Management, or IREM, and the New Jersey chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI-NJ). Numerous programs already exist to license and train property managers, which helps promote ethics and standards in the industry in addition to ensuring that community associations employ the best possible management staff.
License and Accreditation, Please
CAI offers several different levels of certification that range from managing community associations to accrediting companies that specialize in community association management. Some of the available accreditation titles include Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Association Management Specialist (AMS), and Large Scale Manager (LSM).
Curt Macysyn, executive vice president of CAI-NJ in West Trenton, says that at this point becoming a property manager isn't considered a concrete career path, but that with the proliferation of various training programs and even courses that could be offered by community colleges, more people will be attracted to the profession. For those already involved in the industry, Macysyn says, "the whole premise behind the accreditation program is to allow managers to gain professional development, which will allow them to be better in their positions." That benefits associations as well, because they will be more comfortable hiring someone who's gone through the professional development program and thus possesses the proper training and techniques. "The idea of the training is to assist managers in becoming well-rounded leaders in their own community," Macysyn says. Those who take advantage of it, he continues, represent the upper echelon of managers in the industry.
He describes the courses provided by CAI-NJ as being related to the inner workings of an association. Managers would take courses dealing with financial management, such as how to deal with their budget line items and reserve accounts, risk management, which relates to insurance situations and minimizing risk, making sure that the association has proper insurance coverage, and also governance, which covers association bylaws, board relationships and facilities management. "It's a wide range of offerings," Macysyn says, "and there's also a new certification, Large Scale Manager, which gives a distinction to some of these large scale communities that have been popping up that are almost like mini-municipalities."
IREM also promotes ethical real estate management practices through its credentialed membership programs, including the Certified Property Manager®, or CPM designation, the Accredited Residential Manager® (ARM) certification, and the Accredited Management Organization® (AMO) accreditation. The ARM and the CPM are the two main programs offered.