Is a Community Association License Necessary to Work in the Industry?

A student earning a community association license by taking an exam

The certification you’ll require depends on your location, but training provides valuable skill development regardless

Key takeaways:

  • A community association license is only mandatory in some states
  • Earning credentials makes it easier to market your business and find clients
  • Training classes offer skill development as you progress in the industry
  • Various courses are available depending on your needs

Community managers are in high demand around the country, making this industry an excellent career choice. However, this job is also fast-paced and incredibly hands-on, especially if you end up managing the day-to-day operations of multiple buildings or HOAs. 

Completing some professional training ensures that you’re ready to handle the job, and this certification could be mandatory depending on where you live. Either way, though, the skills you’ll acquire as you earn these credentials are invaluable as your career as a community manager progresses.

States with mandatory licensing

Nine states have regulations regarding the community management industry, but only four require state licensing. These states – Florida, Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia – require community managers to earn credentials before working in the industry.

Florida’s Regulatory Council of Community Association Managers requires every association manager to have a license. Before attaining this licensing, parties must complete 16 hours of education, submit their fingerprints, send in a license application, and pass a state exam.

The Illinois Community Association Manager Licensing Act states that all community managers working in the state must have a license. Earning this certification requires a high school diploma and passing either the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers Certified Manager of Community Associations exam or the Institute of Real Estate Management Common Interest Developments: Managing Condominium Association Properties exam. There’s a $300 application fee, as well.

In Nevada, you’ll have to fill out an application form, take 24 hours of pre-licensing education, and obtain a Nevada real estate license before working as a property manager. You also have to pass an exam before earning your certification.

Property management in Virginia requires completing a 60-hour course, submitting a background check, paying an application fee, and passing the state licensing exam. Community management professionals must also follow some strict rules while on the job.

These four states have clear licensing requirements you must meet before starting work as a community manager. However, other states have rules you must follow that don’t necessarily require you to earn a state-specific license.

Locations with other prerequisites

Four other states and the District of Columbia have specific regulations for community managers but don’t require a state license to work. These states are Alaska, California, Connecticut, and Georgia.

In Alaska, Chapter 88 of the Alaska Real Estate Commission’s Statutes and Regulations states that all community managers must be licensed as real estate salespersons, brokers, or associate brokers. So, you can only work as a community manager in Alaska if you’re already a real estate professional. 

California’s laws include language on voluntary certification to market your services as a certified community association manager. In short, you must complete 30 hours of coursework and pass an exam to label yourself as an accredited community association manager in the state. This designation could aid your business. 

Community managers in Connecticut must register with the state’s Department of Consumer Protection. You can only handle money, prepare budgets, conduct meetings, or assist with insurance once you complete this registration. 

You can’t call yourself a community association manager in DC unless you have a license. You can still work in the industry, but you can’t use the words “property manager” or “community manager” when describing your services. Licensing in DC requires 15 hours of education and passing an examination.

Much like in Alaska, community managers in Georgia must be licensed real estate professionals. Earning your real estate license requires 25 hours of coursework, two semesters of study in real estate from an accredited university, and the passage of an approved exam. 

As you can see, the requirements vary greatly from place to place, so you’ll need to learn about the specific laws in your state. And even if your state doesn’t have any requirements, earning a certification can further your career.

Types of training available

A community association license isn’t mandatory everywhere, but the skills you’ll acquire can help you take your career to the next level. You can also market yourself as a certified community manager, potentially attracting new clients.

One popular option is taking an exam through the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA). This exam quizzes you on the CMCA Handbook, which teaches prospective property managers about crucial functions like conducting meetings, navigating legal issues, hiring and managing contractors, and preparing budgets, as well as risk management, property maintenance, and ethics. 

Other options for education include Certified Property Manager certification through the Institute of Real Estate Management, professional credentials from the Community Associations Institute, or Registered in Apartment Management certification from National Associated Builders and Owners. These options will enhance your value as a property management professional, furthering your career.

Putting your best foot forward

Your goal as a property manager should be to provide the best possible service to your clients. That way, you can keep your existing residents happy while acquiring new clients and growing your business. Continuing your education is perhaps the best way to further your career because it enables you to market yourself better and provides the skills necessary to thrive in this profession.

Hiring reputable vendors to handle repairs and maintenance around the communities you manage is one aspect of the job you’ll want to take seriously because it ensures your buildings and properties are in good hands. VendorSmart offers a vendor management platform that makes finding service providers easier than ever. Contact us for more information on how our platform can help take your business to the next level.