IREM is known for providing dynamic knowledge for real estate management professionals across the globe. Our prestigious certifications have for years been an integral launch pad for many members’ careers in addition to driving a higher level of professional competency, bringing added value to the properties where our members live, work, and shop.
To maintain the integrity and rigor associated with our certifications, a subjective review of the requirements and core competencies remains a dynamic process and one that the IREM Membership & Credentialing Committee has devoted considerable time to over the years.
There are a few intended outcomes in the review process as well as essential questions that need to be answered. Is the process to earn the certification objective? Are there unnecessary barriers to entry? Are there changes in the industry that should be reflected in the certification process and/or educational requirements?
Over the last several years, IREM has made modifications to certification requirements based on thorough review from the committee, which comprises members from diverse backgrounds. Some recent examples of updates to our certificate requirements include
- The 2019 decision to eliminate letters of recommendation for the Certified Property Manager (CPM), Accredited Residential Manager (ARM), and Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) certifications. These were removed from the process due to their subjective nature, having been determined to not be an accurate tool for measuring one’s competency and knowledge on a specific subject, which is what certifications and designations are specifically designed to support.
- In addition, IREM added a new element to the experience requirements for the ARM and ACoM to accommodate individuals with mixed portfolios. As it stood, individuals who had these types of portfolios were unable to benefit from earning these certifications.
- In 2020, IREM launched a new model for the CPM process, which changed price structure and, more importantly, created a more linear process for earning the CPM designation. This change was made in response to confusion in the marketplace around the CPM requirements, and the new price structure also serves as a balance in providing equitable access to those considering beginning the process.
Lastly, the unintended consequences of COVID-19 have impacted certification requirements, albeit with a silver lining. The Ethics for the Real Estate Manager (ETH800) course is only delivered in the classroom. The course is specifically designed to be interactive and engage students in class discussions. Prior to COVID-19, the necessity of virtual offerings was nowhere near the level it is today.
Being one of the eight certification courses required to earn the CPM designation and only being offered as an in-person course, CPM candidates were left in the unfortunate situation of having no means of accessing and completing the course during the pandemic. The Membership & Credentialing Committee recognized this as a serious barrier for those looking to earn the designation soon. A motion was passed to extend temporarily offering the Real Estate Management Ethics Online (ETH001) course as an alternative until Dec. 31, 2021. This decision has allowed our CPM candidates to focus on their coursework without being interrupted or delayed in their journey toward earning the CPM designation.
COVID-19 has presented numerous opportunities to reexamine the accessibility of our courses. The Membership & Credentialing Committee, along with our colleagues on the Ethics Committee and Education & Knowledge Products Committee, are focusing on reviewing both the ETH800 and ETH001 courses in 2021 to evaluate the content and delivery methods. The future will remain virtual, at least in some capacity, but integrity and content are of the utmost importance.
Accreditation standards should also be evaluated on a continuum, stimulating improvement of real estate management firms’ performance, increasing quality assurance, and benefitting management firms’ clients and tenants.
The Accredited Management Organization (AMO) accreditation sets the standard in property management firm excellence, driven by a combination of rigorous requirements and benchmarking standards. Firms are asked to evaluate their companies based on standards and functions foundationally driven by IREM’s Best Practices: Real Estate Management guide.
Firms that have earned the prestigious AMO accreditation are required to move through a reaccreditation process every three years. This ensures that IREM is holding firms accountable for meeting these expectations and standards as they evolve over time.
Being the main driver of a large portion of the accreditation standards, the newly revised Best Practices: Real Estate Management was released in 2020. The members of the Membership & Credentialing Committee will conduct a thorough review of the AMO accreditation to parallel any modifications to the standards and functions to ensure it mimics the most current version of this important benchmarking tool.
Standards and best practices are integral to our success; the other side of the coin is the value of the benefits and services of IREM membership. One of IREM’s strategic goals is to stay relevant to members and customers. Relevancy is key, especially in the ever-changing real estate industry. The Membership & Credentialing Committee will continue to identify ways to better engage and deliver value to the members we serve.