Understanding Common Property Management Credentials


The Alphabet Soup of Property Management Credentials


Understanding the alphabet soup of property management credentials

Making Sense of Property Management Credentials

With multiple national organizations offering professional credentials to property managers, it can be hard to make sense of what each means. What’s the difference in a CPM and an MPM? How about an ARM and an AMS? Below we explore three of the largest national organizations for property managers and the key property management credentials offered by each.

Institute of Real Estate Management Credentials

The Institute of Real Estate Management, or IREM, offers three credentials for property managers. They are some of the most widely recognized in commercial property management.

    • Accredited Residential Manager: Designed for more junior multi-family property managers. ARM candidates will have small to mid-sized multi-family properties in their portfolio.


    • Accredited Commercial Manager: Designed for commercial property managers. ACoM candidates will have small to mid-sized commercial, industrial, or retail shopping centers in their portfolio.


  • Certified Property Manager: The highest credential awarded by IREM. CPM’s oversee teams that manage large portfolios of multi-family, office, retail, or industrial properties.

All of IREM’s designations have minimum experience requirements and certification exams. The ARM and ACoM designations are a first step in becoming a Certified Property Manager. Membership is required to earn and maintain any of IREM’s property management credentials.

Community Association Institute Credentials

The Community Associations Institute, or CAI, offers multiple credentials to property and community managers. The three most recognized CAI designations are:

    • Professional Community Association Manager: The highest designation in the community association industry, the PCAM requires a minimum of 5 years of management experience


    • Association Management Specialist: The second level of in hierarchy of CAI designation’s, the AMS is designed for individuals committed to a career path in community management.


  • Large Scale Manager: This specialty designation is designed for current PCAM’s managing large scale communities. Their communities have a minimum of 1,000 units or 1,000 acres and an annual budget of at least $2 million.

Every CAI designation has minimum experience and educational testing requirements. After earning a designation from CAI they require continuing education to maintain active credentials. Unlike IREM designations, CAI doesn’t require membership to earn or maintain a designation. Members do, however, receive a generous discount on the costs of earning a designation.


National Association of Residential Property Managers Credentials

Last but not least, the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) offers 5 property management credentials. The two most important and widely recognized include:

    • Residential Management Professional: This designation is designed for more junior residential property managers, requiring 2 years of experience managing at least 100 units.


  • Master Property Manager: The highest designation offered by NARPM. Candidates must hold a current RMP designation and have 2 years of experience managing at least 500 units.

Unlike earning a property management credential from IREM or CAI, there are no certification exams required to earn a designation from NARPM. NARPM does require at least 24 hours of education from a list of approved courses among other requirements.


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