The Profession of A Community Association Manager

Successful community association managers must possess knowledge and skills relating to finance, strategic planning, maintenance, personnel management, insurance, human relations, laws and regulations, communications and covenants enforcement.  More than manage, these professionals must also provide sound advice on the vast array of topics addressed by the volunteers who serve on community association boards.

Mike Madson, CMCA, president-elect of Idaho’s CAI Chapter and founder of MGM Association Management, states “those who are considering a management service should be careful to select individuals who can bring expertise and guidance to a variety of situations.  Not all associations can be managed the same, and those who have a history of association experiences are more likely to guide their Boards and their communities successfully.”

The profession of association management has become increasingly specialized and challenging as communities have become more complex and demanding. The position has taken on even greater importance as local governments have ceded more and more responsibility to community associations— from road maintenance and street lighting to recreational amenities and communications (satellite and cable).

It was with these responsibilities in mind that CAI developed the only national certification program designed specifically for community association managers.  Created in 1995 and administered by the Community Association Manager International Certification Board (CAMICB), the program established community association management as a distinct profession and continues to offer professional development opportunities specifically tailored to the professionals who choose this career path.  Managers who take CAI’s course—Essentials of Community Association Management—and pass the National Certification Examination earn CAMICB’s Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) certification.

CAI provides educational opportunities toward even more advanced accreditation, such as the Association Management Specialist (AMS), Large-Scale Manager (LSM) and the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). All are designed to elevate the professional abilities of association managers.  Thousands of managers have earned CMCA certification and AMS, LSM and PCAM designations.

State legislatures occasionally have sought—inappropriately—to license community association managers as real estate brokers or property managers.  But community association management is a specific profession requiring unique skills.  By definition, property managers perform facilities management and leasing services.  Association managers are hired to work with volunteer boards of directors to enhance, preserve and protect communities.  While licensure of real estate brokers, agents or property managers protects consumers in sales transactions, it does not protect consumers—homeowners—in the ongoing management and operation of their communities.

While CAI opposes the regulation of community association managers as real estate brokers, agents or property managers, we encourage the certification of community association managers.  In states that propose mandatory regulation of these professionals, CAI supports a regulatory system that incorporates adequate protections for homeowners, mandatory education and testing on fundamental management knowledge, standards of conduct, continuing education and appropriate insurance requirements.

For more information regarding association managers, contact MGM Association Management at (208) 846-9189 or visit