Getting started as a property manager can be a bit confusing.
Where do you get started?
Do you need a license or any special certifications to act as a property manager?
And what else can you do to get started on the right foot as a property manager?
Unfortunately, finding succinct information online that pools answers to all of these questions together in one place doesn’t really exist.
That’s where these guides come in: to act as the quintessential resource for aspiring property managers who are looking to get started.
In this guide, we’ll talk about common property management certifications you can receive to stay compliant in your state or just give you a better chance at obtaining high-level clients.
Once you’ve learned more about the common property management certifications, check out our guide on getting started as a property manager: Property Management License: A Comprehensive Guide.
What certifications do you need to be a property manager?
Property management certifications can be broken down into two groups:
- Required certification to do business, via a license
- And additional certifications to improve your skills, show you’re an expert to obtain better clients, and therefore earn more
In most states you’re required to have a license to practice property management.
Many states require you to obtain a real estate agent or broker’s license or similar, though not every state does.
Here are a few examples of state licenses certain states will accept as valid to practice property management:
- Real estate broker’s license
- Real estate salesperson license
- CPM or Certified Property Manager certification (this goes by many names)
The last one is often required in addition to a broker’s license, though as mentioned it depends on the state.
Make sure to visit your official state’s website or your state’s National Association of Realtors (NAR) website to find information on what licensing is required.
What is a CPM certificate?
Beyond the required licensing certification, most states have additional certification you can obtain.
Typically, this certification acts like a degree: it increases potential opportunities and earning potential.
One common example is a Certified Property Manager or CPM certificate, which goes by a variety of names based on the state.
In California, for example, you need a broker’s license or to hang your agent’s license with a brokerage.
But beyond that, you also obtain some kind of specific property management certification.
In California, that’s typically through the California Certified Residential Manager (CCRM) program.
The CA program is designed to comply with all California laws and regulations for managing property in the state.
Once you’ve passed the course you’re provided state-approved certification that you’ve been trained in best property management practices and policies for the state.
As mentioned, however, this is highly dependent upon the state. Make sure to check to see what certification programs exist in your state.
Do you need a degree for property management?
Beyond typical certifications, a degree is encouraged but not at all required.
The training you receive to obtain your agent or broker’s license in combination with any typical property management certification is all you need to know how to manage a property in the basic sense.
If you’re interested in looking into degrees, a business administration degree is generally a good option as it allows you to obtain knowledge in a variety of areas that are relevant to property management.
- Accounting and general finance
- Marketing and advertising
Can you get your property management certification online?
Nowadays, many states offer programs that allow you to get your property management certification or licensing almost completely online.
Typically, you’ll need to visit a physical location to take the exam itself.
However, you can usually obtain study material and do all prep work before that point entirely online.
To find out what is necessary to get licensed and/or other certification in your state, check with your official state .org website or office or associated NAR website, where most courses are accredited for licensing with their respective state:
- California Association of Realtors
- The New York State Association of REALTORS
- Florida Realtors
- Texas Real Estate Commission
What else can you do to get started right as a property manager?
If you’re looking to get started on the right foot as a property manager, getting your license and property management certification is definitely the place to start.
But beyond that, there are things you can do to put yourself in a position to be successful sooner.
For one, this blog is designed to help property managers and landlords become better and more efficient at managing their properties.
For example, if you’re interested in becoming a property manager, whether you have experience with investment property or not, check out our guide on property management licensing.
You’ll learn what the difference is between a real estate agent and a property manager as well as steps to becoming a property manager: