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The CPM designation remains a symbol of professionalism in property management.

The more things change, the more they stay the same... In this, the 60th anniversary year of IREM's Certified Property Manager (CPM) program, this popular adage has never been so true. While the CPM program has undergone a significant metamorphosis over the last six decades, one thing has not changed - the dedication to professionalism and quality property management that the CPM designation has epitomized since its establishment in 1938.

Sixty years ago, the CPM program began when the membership was essential to the growth of the Institute. The designation Certified Property Manager was created for individual members, and the CPM key was adopted as an emblem. To qualify for the new designation, an individual had to be a member of a local real estate board and have been engaged in management for at least five years. Each member had to subscribe to the Institute's Rules of Professional Conduct and pass a written examination. Dues for new CPM Members were set at $20 a year. The new individual membership program took off. By the end of the 1938, IREM had 71 CPM Members.

During the post-war period of the late 1940's, a tremendous resurgence in the construction of single-family housing, cooperative apartments, office buildings, and pubic and institutional housing offered new opportunities for property managers. The Institute responded with more education for its CPM Members.

In the late 1950's, IREM continued its endeavors to prepare CPM Members for the changing property management industry by conducting its first research studies, establishing a new Education Division which began offering courses such as "Developing and Managing Investment Property."

Recognition of the increased complexity of the management field also prompted IREM leaders to increase the educational requirements for becoming a CPM. Prospective members were now required to complete an IREM course on management principles, as well as pass an examination to qualify for a CPM designation. To enable interested individuals who were not yet fully ready to become CPM Members to participate, IREM initiated a CPM Candidate membership in 1954.

In the 1960's, IREM prospered as the real estate industry experienced a boon. The number of applicants for admission as CPM Candidates doubled every year between 1964 and 1969. By 1969, the total number of CPM Members had reached 1,999.

Strategic planning and increased promotion characterized IREM in the 1970's. The Institute responded to CPM educational needs with courses and publications on such topics as condominium and cooperative management, computer applications in real estate management, energy cost reduction and mini-warehouse management.

This growth continued in the 1980's and 1990's, with increased membership and dramatic changes in the complexity and sophistication of property management. Today, boasting more than 9,000 CPM Members, IREM membership continues to grow as it begins its new "The Right Education" program, which mirrors the changing educational needs of today's property manager. The New York Chapter No. 26, which was founded in 1954 with 38 members, today has 338 members.

A lot has changed in 60 years, but the fundamental principles of the CPM program have remained the same - to identify and certify competent real estate management professionals.

The profile of the CPM has changed dramatically. The 1997 edition of the IREM study of CPM Members find CPM Members interested in continued education. Over two-thirds (70 percent) of CPM Members have an undergraduate or graduate degree. More than half hold a college degree and nearly a fifth of all CPM Members also hold a graduate degree.

Today's CPM Members are very experienced, with more than three-quarters of CPM Members possessing over 14 years of experience in property management. They have a broad range of expertise in property management, ranging from conventional apartments and public housing to shopping centers, office buildings, industrial parks, medical buildings, condominiums and cooperatives. According to the study, a CPM Member, on average, holds an executive level position and personally supervises a staff of 13 employees.

Thanks to the contributions of many CPM Members and Candidates, as well as chapter leaders, the CPM program has grown and experienced many successes and achievements over the past six decades.
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Title Annotation:Focus On: Building Management & Maintenance; Institute of Real Estate Management's Certified Property Manager designation
Author:Duke, Gail P.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 21, 1998
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