What is a CPM?

A CPM or Certified Property Manager is a designation given by the Institute of Real Estate Management and is also recognized by the National Association of Realtors. This is a very highly desired designation and a well-respected credential, however, attaining it is not easy. Those wishing to possess the title will need to go through a long and involved process to prove their competency in property management.


In order to earn the designation of CPM, an interested party must join the IREM and have 36 months of qualified real estate experience. In the most common method, the candidate must then take 7 courses.

  • Budgeting, Cash Flow, and Reporting for Investment Real Estate (FIN402)
  • Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Retail Properties (MKL404) or  Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Multifamily Properties (MKL405) or Marketing and Leasing Strategies for Office Buildings (MKL406)
  • Leading a Winning Property Management Team (HRS402)
  • Managing Maintenance Operations and Property Risk (MNT402)
  • Financing and Loan Analysis for Investment Real Estate (ASM603)
  • Performance and Valuation of Investment Real Estate (ASM604)
  • Asset Analysis of Investment Real Estate (ASM605)

After completing the required courses, he or she must either pass a management plan skills assessment exam or pass a management plan on an actual property. From there the candidate will have to take the CPM Certification Exam. When that exam is passed he or she will move on to the Ethics for the Real Estate Manager (ETH800) class and pass the accompanying exam.

When a candidate is approved, he or she must submit 3 Confidential Letters of Recommendation as references. After references are checked, classes are taken, all fees are paid, and examinations are passed the candidate still is not a Certified Property Manager. They must fulfill a Candidacy period by being a CPM Candidate Member, ARM Member, or ACoM Member in good standing for the 12 months prior to CPM approval. All dues must be paid and in good standing. Then and only then, will the candidate be accepted as a full CPM.

It is clear that in order to earn the designation of Certified Property Manager one must be highly skilled and highly knowledgeable in many different aspects of the business. This guarantees that anyone bearing the credential will know what they are doing. It provides reassurance to a property owner that if they choose to work with this person than can expect an experienced professional.