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MCL Nov/Dec 2013 - Professional Credentials: What You Need to Know
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Professional Credentials

What You Need to Know

by Janice Pyka, MinuteBids

Similar in some ways to a government, an association is a community and a business, making it a unique type of organization. For some small associations where cost is a significant factor, self-management through a strong volunteer structure can work well. Many associations, however, choose to contract with a professional management company, while others hire on-site managers who become association employees. Some combine elements of different types of management.

If you are a volunteer or board member seeking to hire a manager, insurance and risk management consultant, reserve provider or attorney for your association, hiring a credentialed professional is your best bet to protect yourself and your association.
If you are a manager, insurance and risk management consultant, reserve provider or attorney wishing to enhance your career, this information can help you.

CAI awards qualified professionals with credentials to improve the quality and effectiveness of community management.

CAI awards the following credentials:

CMCA—Certified Manager of Community Associations
Your first step in gaining the fundamental knowledge you need to manage any type of community association.

The CMCA certification, administered by the CAI affiliated organization, National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM), is recommended for all community association managers. It can elevate your credibility and your community association’s confidence in you.

AMS—Association Management Specialist
The second level in the CAI career development track for community association managers. The AMS designation demonstrates a higher level of commitment to your career and the community association industry. An AMS designation is recommended for managers who want to enhance their career opportunities by increasing their knowledge and expertise.

PCAM—Professional Community Association Manager
The pinnacle of community association management. The PCAM designation is the highest professional recognition available nationwide to managers who specialize in community association management. Earn your PCAM and join the elite—the select—the best.

Recommended for experienced managers who want to demonstrate advanced skills and knowledge and who wish to be recognized as one of the best and most experienced managers in the nation.

What are the prerequisites for the PCAM designation?

  • Five years of direct community association management experience.
  • Successful completion of all six M-200 Level Programs
  • Successfully passed the CMCA Examination administered by NBC-CAM.

How do you pursue the PCAM designation?

  • Complete the prerequisites.
  • Earn a minimum total of 125 points on the PCAM application, including:
    • A minimum of 55 points in Section II.
    • A maximum of 20 points is allowed for Professional Designations or Licenses.
    • A maximum of 30 points is allowed for Formal Education.
  • Complete the PCAM application.
  • All applicants have one year from the date of application approval to complete the Case Study. Failure to complete a Case Study will require you to re-apply with payment. Submit the PCAM application after you have met the above qualification criteria before applying to sit for the Case Study.
  • Submit the nonrefundable application fee with the PCAM application.
    • Member: $195 (Individual Manager Membership)
    • Nonmember: $295
  • How do you maintain the PCAM designation?
  • Pay annual maintenance fees.
    • Member: $150 (Individual Manager Membership)
    • Nonmember: $250
  • Re-designate every three years in August and meet continuing education requirements.
  • Comply with the CAI Professional Manager Code of Ethics

If you are looking for additional information or forms, please visit,

Published by Community Associations Institute — Minnesota Chapter, copyright 2013. All articles and paid advertising represent the opinions of authors and advertisers and not necessarily the opinion of either Minnesota Community Living or CAI–Minnesota Chapter. The information contained within should not be construed as a recommendation for any course of action regarding financial, legal, accounting, or other professional services by the CAI–Minnesota Chapter, or by Minnesota Community Living, or its authors. Articles, letters to the editor, and advertising may be sent to Chapter Staff Editor Joanne Penn at, or at CAI–Minnesota Chapter, 1000 Westgate Dr., Suite 252, St. Paul, MN 55114.

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