Community association management is a relatively new occupation, but it has become a vital and sophisticated profession that has evolved into an international career path that embraces tradition, business acumen, credentialing and a grasp of increasingly complex state, federal and international laws. Most managers and management company owners who came to the profession when it was being formed in the early 1970s—and for many years after—did so 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 new vocation.
There are between 55,000–60,000 community association managers and more than 350,000 community associations in the U.S. alone, according to the 2019–2020 U.S. National and State Statistical Review for Community Association Data published by the Foundation for Community Association Research. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median annual wage for community association managers was just over $58,760 as of May 2019, and employment in the industry is projected to grow 7% through 2028. 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.
A community manager (or a community management company) may be hired by the community association board of directors to assist in the managing the operations and activities of the community.
The manager is responsible for:
- Managing the operating and reserve funds of the association
- Managing meetings of the association
- Assisting the governing board with the financial management, budgeting and cash flow of the association
- Assisting the governing board by obtaining and maintaining insurance for the association
- Assisting the board obtaining bids, managing contractors, such as maintenance and construction vendors
- Assisting the board by directing the development and enforcement of community rules
- Answering questions regarding rules pertaining to the association and helping the board follow fair procedures
- Assisting the board by ensuring homeowners adhere to the by-laws of the community association
- At the direction of the board, being a liaison with service providers; including, snow removal, pool management, park management, roadways, municipal services, landscaping, etc.
- Resolving conflicts within the community association
- Creating a sense of community for residents living within the association
The community association manager is all the above professionals rolled into one person. An efficient, successful community association manager is clearly required to have a specialized body of knowledge and skills.
A manager should have a thorough knowledge 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 that good community association managers possess. The best managers also have excellent interpersonal skills as they work closely with residents, board members, and business partners, are 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 in demand so they can 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 competence in specific management practices and commitment to professional excellence, ethical business standards, and continuing education.
The CMCA credential is highly accessible and a great investment when pivoting to a career in community association management. It can be achieved 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—compared to 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.
The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives. The CMCA recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the fundamental knowledge required to manage community associations. Find out more here