Multifamily Career Development: Eight Designations and Certifications Worth Investing In


Multifamily Career Development: Eight Designations and Certifications Worth Investing In

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan

Property owners may have spent Apartment Career Month in February cultivating new talent into the multifamily industry, but promoting career development any time of the year for key leaders and managers already on board can be just as rewarding.

Achievements ring clear in the apartment industry through designations and certifications. These powerful tools, many of which are available through the National Apartment Association (NAA), National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA), and Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), can not only make a difference for the individual but also the property. A successful property isn’t always measured by its aesthetics or amenities but how well it’s managed in the eye of the resident. A trained, knowledgeable staff is essential.

Earning a certification gives your employees a competitive edge and distinguishes them from the rest as experts in the multifamily industry. Not only do certifications help professionally, but they are a personal benefit as well. Employees become more confident, driven, and have a sense of accomplishment. And an employee who knows the ropes can be an asset to property managers.

NAA, IREM, and NAHMA offer a number of industry designation and training programs focusing on everything from first impressions to creating a greener apartment complex at various locations either on site, through webinars or online. In some instances, fees can be paid through Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding.

NAA has long invested in industry education through its Education Institute (NAAEI), and last summer conducted a survey revealing that apartment industry managers believe sending employees to continuing education courses and professional designation programs are worth the time and expense. Eighty-six percent of supervisors saw an improvement in employee work performance following completion of the designations. Others saw a marked improvement in how employees approached their jobs, how they performed duties such as analyzing a property’s financial operations and how they made on-the-job decisions.

NAAEI President Jeff Lowry, CAPS, said designation and certification programs can benefit everyone.

“The results from our survey provide valuable insight into the importance of career education to our industry,” he said. “They also indicate the significant role our designation programs are playing in helping people further their careers and in obtaining new skills and knowledge that benefit employers.”

Here are some of the more popular industry designation and certification programs available:

National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) – Strong first impressions are essential. This certification offers skills to handle everything at the leasing level such as successes in leasing, telephone skills, Internet leasing, policies and procedures, legal aspects and market surveys.

Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)Apartment managers can learn to manage residential issues, legal responsibilities, human resources, fair housing marketing, property maintenance, risk management, financial management and community analysis.

National Affordable Housing Professional (NAHP)This certification is available for top industry leaders and caters to the affordable housing industry.

Independent Rental Owner Professional (IROP)Independent rental owners are trained in media relations, personal safety, disaster planning, human resources, lease terminations and resident and neighbor relations.

Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS)For professional supervisors, this certification provides an in-depth review of property management techniques and principals, and helps make the connection between knowledge and on-the-job performance.

Fair Housing Certification (FHC)Managers will understand complex fair housing laws and regulations.

Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM)Management professionals involved with properties developed and operated under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program can learn more about the housing credit property management industry.

Credential for Green Property Management (CGPM)This certification – tailored for on-site managers, maintenance staff, and supervisors of front-line staff – provides management companies and owners a mechanism for meeting initial and ongoing training commitments to the Office of Affordable Preservation (OAHP) if they have opted for a green Market-to-Market restructuring.

Invest in your employees with continuing education and give them the tools they need to manage the day-to-day needs of your property. The investment will not only energize your employees but give your property a competitive edge.

Never quit learning.


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
Marketing Specialist, RealPage

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Stacey Blackwell is a Contributing Editor for She is also a Marketing Specialist for RealPage, a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multi-family rental property management business functions, where she is responsible for planning and coordinating corporate events including trade shows, conferences, meetings, an incentive trip, and more. Stacey received her education at The University of North Texas where she majored in marketing. She is certified in trade show marketing (CTSM) and meeting planning (CMP).

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