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What are all those letters following my manager’s name and title and why are they important?


Have you ever wondered what all those letters are following your community manager’s name? CMCA, AMS, PCAM, LSM, and RS are some of the initials that may follow your community manager’s name. Keep reading below for an explanation of what these initials stand for, and to learn why they’re important.


CMCA stands for Certified Manager of Community Associations and is the first step in career development for community managers. The CMCA designation is administered through Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB). CAMICB is the professional accreditation body for over ​20,000 community association managers worldwide. CMCAs manage condominium & homeowner associations, housing cooperatives, resort communities, and commercial tenant associations. The mission of CAMICB is to enhance the community association management profession and protect homeowners living in community associations by recognizing people who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the profession's defined body of knowledge.


The second level in the career development track for community association managers is the AMS, Association Management Specialist, designation. The AMS designation demonstrates a higher level of commitment to a manager’s 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.


To qualify for the AMS designation, Managers must currently hold the CMCA designation, pass two 200-level courses offered through CAI, and have at least 2 years of verified experience in financial, administrative, and facilities management of at least one association. Topics for the 200-level study courses include facilities management, association communication, community leadership, community governance, risk management, and financial management.


​The final step toward earning the PCAM (Professional Community Association Manager) designation. To earn this highly coveted designation, managers complete a case study of a real-life community association culminating in a final paper often reaching into the hundreds of pages.


In order for managers to sit for the PCAM case study, they must hold the CMCA designation, complete ALL 200-level classes noted above, possess five years of direct community association management experience, and earn a minimum of 125 points on the PCAM application. Points for the application are earned for through industry-related education, time served on industry-related committees, community outreach, and publication of industry articles, to name a few.


The PCAM Case Study is a comprehensive examination of an actual community association, combining discussion with an extensive host association tour. Managers explore the community in-depth, reviewing its administrative procedures, legal documents, and communications; meeting with its manager, board members, and key personnel; and learning about the local area. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions and openly discuss issues faced by the association. The course culminates with a paper guided by protected questions that help address issues facing the host community. The PCAM designation is the highest professional recognition available nationwide to managers who specialize in community association management.


The CMCA, AMS, and PCAM are the most common designations for community managers, however, there are additional designations available to other industry professions. These include CCAL, college of community association lawyers, LMS, Large-Scale Manager, and RS, Reserve Specialist.


It is important to note that all designations carry continuing education and development requirements that managers are required to complete to recertify their designations. Managers who invest their time and efforts into achieving these designation goals year after year represent the kind of manager associations should be looking for to assist in the management of their communities and associations.



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