A community association manager handles the day-to-day operations of community associations, including homeowner’s associations, condominium associations, and other planned communities. Community managers handle various tasks, including financial management, vendor management, maintenance, and other responsibilities. Community management is also a well-paying field with high demand, making it a career path worth exploring.
How to Become a Community Manager?
If you are interested in community management and want to become a manager, here are a few steps you can take to reach your goal
Understand the Role of a Community Manager
Knowing the responsibilities of a community manager can help you decide whether it is a good career choice for you. Top community managers are well-versed in all aspects of running a community. As a community manager, you may manage budgets, supervise staff, aid board members, handle resident complaints, and enforce community rules and regulations.
Acquire Relevant Education
There is no degree requirement to become a community manager. The minimum education requirement is often a GED or high school diploma. If you want to gain relevant skills and become a competitive candidate, consider completing a bachelor’s degree in business management or a similar field. You can also complete relevant professional certifications that require less time and money than a 4-year degree to become a more appealing candidate. The Community Associations Institute offers the Certified Manager of Community Associations, CMCA, certification. You can continue to complete certifications as you gain on-the-job experience, including the Association Management Specialist and Professional Community Association Manager certifications. Research your state’s regulatory requirements before applying to a community manager job to make sure you meet the education and certification requirements.
Experience can help you prepare for and get a community management job. You can gain experience as an assistant manager, intern, or volunteer within a community association. You can also gain experience by working in a managerial position in a related field, such as hospitality or retail.
Develop Soft Skills
Developing the right soft skills can be as valuable as having the proper education and experience. Communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills are all soft skills that would be good for a community manager to have. Community association managers must be able to communicate effectively with board members, homeowners, staff members, volunteers, vendors, and other stakeholders. These communication skills can help managers provide clear instructions and delegate tasks effectively. Community managers should also have a strong focus on becoming effective leaders and developing their interpersonal skills. Strong leaders can lead by example and inspire their teams to perform at their best. Interpersonal skills can be a valuable tool in providing quality customer service, clearing up confusion, and settling minor disputes.
Develop the Appropriate Hard Skills
While your soft skills are necessary for the job, developing the appropriate hard skills can also be helpful. Community managers should be able to assist in all aspects of running a successful community. This includes mastering financial management, administrative, and contract management skills.
Familiarize Yourself with Association Management Tools and Techniques
Community association managers should be familiar with specific digital management tools and software. Some popular association management software includes Buildium, TOPS, and Appfolio. This software can help managers view contracts, collect rent online, and create listings. You can learn more about these tools and how to use them by taking online courses, attending webinars, or reading industry blogs and publications. You can also learn on the job through an internship or volunteer position.
Attend Networking Events
Networking with other community association managers can help you learn about industry trends and best practices. If you are looking for a job, networking can help you learn about current and upcoming job openings. Building your connections can lead you to people who may be willing to act as references when you apply for future community manager positions. You can start networking by attending industry conferences. Consider joining industry associations and engaging with other professionals on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Join the Community Management Field Today
If you are interested in joining the community management field, consider volunteering, completing a certificate program, and developing your soft and hard skills. Research the current management software tools and available networking opportunities to start taking steps toward becoming a qualified candidate today.