Back to School Continuining Education for Property Managers

 With multifamily buildings, who is in charge of the property and how well those  people are trained are critically important factors in the successful operation  of the community. Board members are a part of this management class, which is  often shepherded by a competent property manager. But all property managers are  not equal in their abilities and knowledge; the smarter ones try to bridge the  gap.  

 The best property managers stay current in their industry by keeping abreast of  new developments in building technology, administration and communication.  While networking with other professionals is a way to stay up to date and  reading industry publications like The Chicagoland Cooperator also helps, few things are better for a manager’s professional development than taking continuing education courses.  

 Where to Learn?

 Opportunities abound, since there are many classes and enrichment programs  available to Chicagoland’s property management professionals. These programs are not only an industry  requirement for some, they also help improve one’s professional skills and can help advance careers. Maintaining certain  professional accreditations with industry associations also necessitates taking  such classes. And to professionals like Randy Rosen, president of Rosen  Management Services in Chicago, continuing education is essential to  competency. “I am a big believer in people being licensed, getting professional designations  and continuing to learn their trade,” Rosen says. “I also believe that formal classes—whether in a classroom setting or online—are essential to property managers keeping abreast new innovations, ethics and  so forth.”  

 According to Alan Toban, founder of the Real Estate Institute in Niles, the  state of Illinois requires property managers have a brokers license if they  provide any service that aids in the selling or leasing of property, as of  2012. Community Association Managers (CAMs) are also required to hold licenses,  according to the Community Association Institute’s Illinois chapter (CAI-IL). There is a 12-credit-hour continuing education  requirement for each two-year renewal cycle that property managers must fulfill  in order keep their licenses valid. Out of the 12 required CEU hours, six have  to be out of a category considered to mandatory and cover topics such as fair  housing, federal anti-trust issues, Illinois property law updates, instruction  on working with the public and handling agency relationships, Toban explains.  Elective courses include topics such as risk management and ethical practice.  Property managers looking to gain CEU credits to renew their licenses can earn  12-credit hours through REI’s self-study program for $85. If only interested in taking a single enrichment  course, REI has options starting at $35.  

 Multiply & Diversify

 Property managers must wear many hats in their jobs, and this means having a  strong understanding of all the different facets their position entails and  more. “The marketplace needs are always changing, so in order for property managers to  really stay on top of changes, they really need to keep up educationally,” says Sharon Peters, public relations manager of the Institute of Real Estate  Management (IREM) based in Chicago. “The requirements and duties that they had 20 years ago have evolved. A lot of them are getting into asset management in addition to being responsible  for bricks and mortar. If they really want to up their mobility in a career,  then we encourage all of our members to take classes. Because things are changing, and if you want to succeed you really need to  pursue lifelong education,” Peters says.  

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