How Many Certifications Do You Need to be a Property Manager in NC?

Here are the required and recommended certifications to become a property manager in North Carolina.
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Stuck in a dead-end job and ready for a fresh start? ‘Tis the season to begin planning for big changes in the year ahead.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in property management will grow 8% through 2024. If property management is something you’ve always dreamed of, now could be the time to boost your chances for the decent salary, steady employment, and job security that come with that position.

Specific property manager licensing requirements and certifications vary from state to state. And additional optional certifications could set you apart from the competition. So which certifications do you need for the Asheville MSA? Here is a list of the required and recommended certifications to become a property manager in North Carolina.


Required: Real Estate Licensing

The State of North Carolina requires people to be licensed real estate brokers before becoming property managers. 

According to the NC Real Estate Commission:

Managing” real property in the brokerage sense often involves the leasing or renting of property. While unlicensed individual property owners may lease their properties themselves, they may not pay or give any consideration to unlicensed friends, siblings, children, etc. to assist them in leasing their properties, whether collecting rents, showing the property to prospective tenants, etc. Only the title owners of real property may buy, lease, sell, or exchange their property without having a broker license. 

Thus, any individual or entity which undertakes to manage real property belonging to others for compensation or consideration must be a licensed real estate broker.

Exceptions may be made for on-site managers and salaried employees of real estate brokers working for property owners if their employment is limited to certain activities, such as showing units to prospective tenants, accepting applications for lease of the units, accepting security deposits and rent (when they are payable to the property owner), and accepting lease applications. However, such employees may not negotiate security deposits, rental payments, or leases.


Recommended: Bachelor’s Degree

Industry experience counts for a lot. But if you’re starting your property management career from scratch, you’d do well to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, finance, public administration, or real estate. Look for degree programs that offer coursework in affordable housing administration, housing for the elderly, property management, real estate development, real estate finance, real estate management, and urban planning. Employers especially value skills in these areas.


Recommended: Certified Property Manager (CPM) Designation

While the State of North Carolina does not require CPM certification, it is the gold standard for property managers and also recognized internationally. According to NAR, “70 percent of those who hold the CPM designation hold the highest management positions in their offices (owner/partner/officer/director).” CPMs also enjoy average base compensation of $70,000 more than the average property manager. 

CPM certifications are designed for the experienced property manager (three years or more) who wants to learn how to maximize the value of their properties. Applicants must manage a portfolio of properties for three years prior to applying and must hold a real estate broker’s license. Trainees must take eight courses, including a course in management ethics, before sitting for two exams.

Learn more: irem.org


Optional: Specialized Certifications

Depending on your interests, there are many specialized certifications that can open up additional career opportunities. These typically require you to complete specific education requirements and pass a test or series of exams. Three of the most valuable specialized certifications for property managers include:

Certified Apartment Manager – Demonstrate your skills, knowledge, and ability to manage an apartment community and achieve owners’ investment goals. Your CAM credential covers everything from occupancy rates and property inspections to property performance analysis and employee recruitment best practices. Learn more: naahq.org

Certified Manager of Community Associations – An estimated 70 million Americans live in nearly 345,000 community associations. The CMCA® is the only internationally accredited certification program for community managers. CMCA-certified professionals manage every type of community, including condominium and homeowner associations, housing cooperatives, resort communities, and commercial tenant associations. Learn more: camicb.org

Residential Management Professional® – NARPM® is the premier professional association of residential property managers. The association currently represents more than 6,000 member real estate agents, brokers, managers, and their employees. The RMP® certification qualifies its members in the standards and practices of the residential property management industry and promotes continuing professional education. Learn more: narpm.org.

For an even higher level of certification from NARPM®, see the Master Property Manager (MPM®) designation.


Learn More about Property Management from the Pros at NAI Beverly-Hanks

Commercial property management is, by necessity, a collaborative enterprise. From the owner and property manager to tenants, maintenance employees, accounting professionals, and others, it takes a lot of expertise to manage a property. 

At NAI Beverly-Hanks, it’s our job to facilitate this collaboration. If you’d like more information about how to start a career in property management, we’re happy to help.

Reach out to an NAI Beverly-Hanks commercial real estate agent today.

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