April 23, 2020| Lester Yat
Condominiums and homeowner associations offer a great way of life for millions of people across the nation and around the world. Shared ownership of common areas — from clubhouses to swimming pools and fitness centers — provides residents with amenities that most single-family homeowners don’t enjoy. For many homeowners, these community associations also bring a welcome sense of freedom from maintenance chores.
But at any property, someone has to keep things running smoothly. Budgets need to be followed. Lawns need to be mowed. Roofs need to be replaced. Parking lots need to be plowed. Fortunately, residents of condos and homeowner associations have teams of professionals to provide those services, and more. And even more fortunately, there’s an organization that offers education to those professionals, along with certifications that can reassure owners that they’re hiring qualified folks to care for the valuable asset they call “home.”
The Virginia-based Community Associations Institute — CAI — is an international membership organization “dedicated to building better communities.” To that end, CAI provides information, education and resources to the homeowner volunteers who govern communities and the professionals who support them.
The organization’s signature educational suite is known as the Professional Management Development Program, or PMDP. Advancing through its course ladder, community association managers can earn well-recognized professional credentials, including CMCA – Certified Manager of Community Associations; AMS – Association Management Specialist; PCAM – Professional Community Association Manager; and LSM – Large-Scale Manager.
Other professionals in the community association field haven’t been forgotten in the CAI education and credential arena. Insurance professionals can earn the CIRMS – Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist designation. There’s also an RS credential for Reserve Specialists, the professionals who assist communities with reserve planning. And a fraction of attorneys practicing association law have been granted membership in the elite College of Community Association Lawyers, carrying the CCAL designation.
Lending a competitive edge to providers of community association business products and services, CAI also confers its CAI Educated Business Partner distinction, carrying special recognition among thousands of companies and professionals who support common-interest communities—accountants, attorneys, bankers, insurance professionals, landscapers, painters, reserve specialists, software providers and many others.
What does this alphabet soup of credentials mean for owners in condo associations and HOAs? Hiring a professional — whether a manager, accountant, or landscaper — can be a daunting task for volunteers who serve on their community’s board. Seeing credentials from an organization like CAI can bolster the board’s confidence that the professionals being considered have learned their craft and earned the recognition of their peers.
And don’t you want to put your most valuable assets in the hands of the most qualified professionals?
For more information about CAI and the professional credentials it confers, visit caionline.org.