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Careers in Association Management
Many homeowners associations (HOAs), community associations and condo associations hire association management companies to enforce their directives and handle the day-to-day operations and management of their buildings or community. The association manager, an associate of the association management company, works closely with the association, Board members and/or developer to oversee the management, maintenance, upkeep and repairs of the common areas, working either on-site or from an off-site location. The association manager’s duties include a combination of business and property-related responsibilities, including managing the budget, hiring and managing vendors and staff, scheduling and overseeing maintenance and repairs, managing renovations and large-scale projects, inspecting the property, attending association meetings, working with homeowners to handle requests and resolve issues, and more.
Licensing and Training
Association management professionals can advance their careers by earning a series of tiered certifications through reputable industry organizations like the CAI (Community Associations Institute). The basic level of certification is the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), progresses to Association Management Specialist (AMS) and advances to the highest certification, Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). Once a property manager fulfills PCAM requirements, he or she is eligible to earn specialty certification as a Large Scale Manager (LSM), a designation granted to experienced, credentialed managers who oversee a portfolio of large communities and projects.
Additionally, while an association management degree is not required to practice in the field, education and training are available through a growing number of colleges, property management seminars, and online course providers. Some association management companies also provide their associates with skills training and professional development courses to help them perform their duties effectively and achieve their career goals.
Lifestyle directors play a key role in active adult and other lifestyle communities and common-interest communities by creating a vibrant and socially-thriving atmosphere that meets the association’s goals and enhances residents’ lifestyles. The lifestyle director typically develops a wide range of lifestyle, fitness, wellness, recreational, educational, and entertainment programs and activities that appeal to residents’ needs and interests. In addition, he or she will plan and oversee parties, clubs, events and other activities designed to welcome new residents, create strong bonds between residents and staff, and enhance homeowners’ engagement, loyalty and quality of life. Additional duties may include scheduling on-site classes and seminars, coordinating volunteers, helping residents plan trips, vacations or getaways, and writing and managing the community’s website and/or newsletter.
A building engineer helps design, monitor and supervise the ongoing operations and upkeep of a building’s services and equipment. This may include overseeing the operations, maintenance and repair of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC (heat, ventilation and air conditioning), water, elevator and security systems and equipment, gas lines, and the ongoing maintenance of landscaping and grounds.
What’s the difference between a portfolio manager and an onsite manager?
A portfolio manager is responsible for managing several communities or properties, usually from an off-site office location. An onsite manager oversees one association, and works on site. Both are responsible for leading and managing the day-to-day operations, maintenance, repairs and upkeep of the properties they serve, under direction of the association Board and in compliance with the governing documents.