The best property managers realize they don't know everything. To be successful, a manager must stay abreast of new legal developments, new building technology, and a host of other specialized areas—as well as best practices in association administration.
Few of those in the business study to become an association manager and step right into a management position as their first job. Most come from other fields, and of course there's nothing wrong with learning on the job.
While many managers network with other professionals as a good way to stay current, going to trade shows and reading industry publications like The Western & Central Florida Cooperator are also smart moves. But few things can contribute more to a manager’s professional development than continuing-education classes.
All Florida managers are required to complete hours of continuing education in order to maintain their licenses. Many of the Sunshine State’s management companies pay for classes and some courses are even offered for free. Community association managers in Florida have a wide range of choices when it comes to continuing education. Courses are offered by the state and by organizations like the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). Many law firms and other professional businesses that service the association-management industry also give classes. Not only do these classes help property-management professionals improve their services, but they can also help advance their careers and their compensation packages. A CAM license is required when managing an association of more than 10 units and/or one that has an annual budget in excess of $100,000. To be considered for licensing, prospective managers must enroll and complete 18 hours of pre-licensure education at least 12 months prior to taking the state examination.
CAI has a program that can unlock an array of professional credentials and designations, says spokesperson Frank Rathbun. “Our Professional Management Development Program (PMDP) features 17 courses, beginning with The Essentials of Community Association Management and including Facilities Management, Community Governance, Financial Management and Managing the Large-Scale Association.” For a complete list of the courses, go to www.caionline.org and click Education for Managers under Education & Events.