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    Industry Credential: A Professional's Secret Weapon

    Although it’s almost a decade after the 2008 economic crash and the U.S. unemployment rate is at a nine year low, there is still competition for jobs, especially good ones. Ensuring you are the most qualified and desirable candidate for a position requires hard work. So, what’s the best way to stand out? There are several ways to increase your appeal such as experience, personality, connections, and education. Now, when you read education you probably thought I meant a college education, right? Actually, I am referring to earning an industry credential.

    Industry certification is a process of program evaluation ensuring that individuals gain expansive knowledge in a given field while also achieving certification that validates his/her skills for an employer. For the real estate management industry, The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) provides several certifications for professionals with our most highly regarded one being the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation. Initially, IREM created these certifications to establish a baseline of professionalism and ethical integrity within the industry during the Great Depression; a time where “property managers” were more likely referred to as “slum lords.” Since its establishment it has been recognized by both property management firms and building owners as the mark of a true real estate management professional.

    As with most industry credentials, the IREM CPM credential offers three key benefits:

    Knowledge

    The goal of most credentialing programs is to offer targeted, trade specific education to fast track students towards the knowledge base and skill-sets required to advance within the industry. For IREM, this means instructing our students on topics very specific to property management such as generating building budgets, lease negotiations, and managing maintenance operations. These are skills a professional can bring to any position and already have a base for an employer to easily build on.

    Qualification

    The primary focus for most IREM students is, of course, earning the designation. In obtaining the designation, you earn industry certified confirmation of your experience and credibility. This certification signals to employers that you already “know your stuff” and it speaks to your dedication to the field. By committing time and money to training for such a specific career, you’ve prequalified yourself to employers as someone who’s ready to grow within the industry.

    Career Advancement

    Most professionals, and certainly property management professionals, strive towards advancement. This can mean a promotion, raise, or even a job within a larger firm. No matter your goal, having the CPM designation all but guarantees you have a better chance of achieving it. According to an IREM 2014 Young Professionals Survey, 69% of CPM Members said that their designation helped them secure a promotion. Additionally, the 2016 IREM Compensation Study found property managers in the US that maintain a CPM credential earn roughly 58% more annually than property managers without the designation. Several Houston Commercial real estate firms actually require employees to obtain the designation before holding certain positions.

     

    There are a myriad of ways to advance your career and make yourself more marketable, but it’s important to look beyond the traditional avenues. In the evolving professional and educational landscape of our nation, industry certifications are worth the investment.

    To learn more about IREM designations, visit http://www.irem.org/credentials or call 713-783-9225.

    To learn about accredited designations within other industries, visit https://www.careeronestop.org/Toolkit/Training/find-certifications.aspx

     

    About the Author: Lindsay Konlande currently serves as the Association Assistant for IREM Houston. Lindsay earned her Bachelor Degree in Communication from Texas A&M and has several years of experience in marketing, public relations and copywriting. 

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