About the Community Association Management Profession
Community association management is a relatively new occupation, but it has become vital and sophisticated. It has evolved into a career path that embraces tradition, business acumen, credentialing, and a grasp of increasingly complex state, federal and international laws. When the profession was formed - in the 1970s - most managers entered it from a wide range of other occupations. Professionals in real estate, law, construction, accounting, finance, insurance, hospitality, facilities management, and even military service have become the leaders whose combined talents and abilities helped build a rich foundation for this vocation.
There are between 55,000–60,000 community association managers and more than 355000 community associations in the U.S. alone, according to the 2020 Community Association Fact Book published by the Foundation for Community Association Research. As of December 2021, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median annual wage for community association managers was $59,660, and employment in the industry is projected to continue to grow over the next decade. These figures do not include the growing number of management companies, managers and support staff in other parts of the world. The momentum of developing communities will continue. And as common-interest community living becomes more widespread— and the number of retiring industry leaders also grows—the need for qualified, well-trained managers also will increase.
The community association manager is many professions' skills rolled into one. The community association board of directors may hire a community manager (or a community management company) to assist in managing the operations and activities of the community.
The manager is generally responsible for:
- Managing the operating and reserve funds of the association
- Organizing meetings of the association
- Assisting the board with the financial management, budgeting, and cash flow of the association
- Helping the board by obtaining and maintaining insurance for the association
- Helping the board to get bids managing contractors, such as maintenance and construction vendors
- Assisting the board by directing the development and enforcement of community rules
- Answering questions regarding regulations about the association and helping the board follow fair procedures
- Helping the board by ensuring homeowners adhere to the bylaws of the community association
- They liaise with service providers at the board's direction, including snow removal, pool management, park management, roadways, municipal services, landscaping providers, etc.
- Resolving conflicts within the association
- Creating a sense of community for residents living within the association
An efficient, successful community association manager must have a specialized body of knowledge. A manager should have a thorough understanding of the rules and policies in a community association and stay up-to-date on any legislative or regulatory changes that affect the industry. Attention to detail, flexibility and good organizational skills are essential characteristics of good community association managers. The best managers also have excellent interpersonal skills, as they regularly work closely with residents, board members, and business partners. They are generally able to communicate effectively and thrive on multitasking.
Well-trained managers are needed to fill openings in the growing number of new communities in the U.S. and abroad. Novice managers are highly in demand to prepare to fill leadership roles in the not-too-distant future, and employers are always on the lookout for dedicated professionals.
The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) credential is key to building a successful career in community association management. It shows employers that an applicant has competence in specific management practices and commitment to professional excellence, ethical business standards, and continuing education.
The CMCA credential is highly accessible and a significant investment when pivoting to a career in community association management. Professionals can achieve it at a relatively low cost and in a short amount of time; it takes a few days of prerequisite course work, some time for study, and one day for taking the exam. Earning the CMCA credential opens the door to higher earnings—on average 20% more than non-credentialed community association managers. It also is a great way to build a professional image and showcase expertise.
Earning the CMCA is not merely a designation; it elevates credibility and makes employers more confident in hiring a community association manager. The credential offers a wealth of opportunity, stability, and growth in an exciting career that shows no sign of slowing down.