Most condominium and homeowner associations are managed by a licensed manager, either through a management company, or individually-managed. Such managers are the “CEO” of the association, and although answerable to a board of directors, each must be licensed and should be well-versed in attendant responsibilities.
Florida requires community association managers to be licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The manager’s license is called a CAM (Community Association Manager), obtained after taking an 18-hour course at an approved school and passing a state test.
However, there‘s a good deal more to know about association management than what can be taught in just a few days, even in the best schools. Licensed CAMs are required to take a certain amount of Continuing Education Units (CEU) during their tenure, allowing them to renew their license. But that, too, is still wanting in knowledge needed for the increasing complexities involved in managing Florida communities.
Enter: A new initiative just rolled out to prepare association managers for the daunting task of managing more efficiently. Florida Community Association Professionals, a Florida initiative, is dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among managers. A new educational concept it offers is brilliant as it is simple: service providers to community associations will provide Florida-specific training at all levels of the community association industry.
Without a sales pitch involved, these experienced service providers gathered together in one place will instruct managers in their specialized fields. The concept brings together association servicing experts with CAMs for an unparalleled learning opportunity. Ms. Betsy Barbieux, the program founder, developed the concept with the cooperation of the Florida Community Association Journal.
“Boards of Directors and professional regulators are unhappy with the quality of education of new managers,” said Ms. Barbieux in a recent interview. “Actually, no education is required, not even a GED diploma. They simply need to be 18 years old and complete an 18-hour pre-licensing course that prepares them to sit for the state exam.
“They are not required to have any background in accounting, human resources, budgeting, construction, maintenance or law. Currently, the Regulatory Council is reluctant to legislate more education in today’s economy,” she pointed out.
And that’s why there is most definitely a need for this education.
Managers, management companies, and associations should make this investment in their time, not just among current managers but to upgrade association knowledge, as well. This 40-hour advanced studies program was created to bring a new level of excellence to an industry that is getting more and more complicated.
Most significant about this educational opportunity is that it is Florida-specific and that is what makes it stand out. So there you have it – board of directors! A new way to ensure that your manager is up to date and properly- versed in the details of managing your community association.
To learn more about the program, go to <www.fcaponline.net> or tel. 561-277- 8152 to get more information. Background yourself on this opportunity to keep your association on top of community management by having your management better informed. Having been selected as an instructor at this school, I hope to see your manager take part in this outstanding opportunity.
Mitch Drimmer, a licensed CAM and FCAP instructor, is Vice President of Association Financial Services, an accredited collection agency specializing in finance, business process outsourcing and community association management. For more information, visit <www.associationfinancial.com> or tel: 305-677-0022, ext. 804.