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Top 10 Housing Specialist Certifications

This article outlines the top certifications for housing specialists, including their benefits and requirements.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a housing specialist in the job market because they demonstrate that the candidate has taken the time to gain knowledge, skills and experience in this particular field. Certified housing specialists have a better understanding of industry trends and regulations, which can be beneficial when applying for positions. They are also more likely to be trusted by employers and clients due to their specialized knowledge. Furthermore, certifications may provide access to higher-paying jobs or promotions within an organization. Finally, having a certification can give potential employers confidence that the individual is reliable and committed to their chosen profession.

The article reviews some of the top certifications for Housing Specialists and explains how they can help advance a housing specialist's career.

What are Housing Specialist Certifications?

Housing specialist certification is a professional credential offered by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). It is designed to equip housing professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to effectively manage and administer public housing and other forms of subsidized housing. This certification provides an objective measure of competence in housing management, demonstrating expertise in areas such as tenant selection, rent calculation, lease enforcement, and compliance with regulations.

The certification can help those in the field by providing them with the credentials necessary for career advancement opportunities. It also provides recognition from employers that the individual has a strong understanding of the principles associated with managing rental properties. Additionally, it can be used to demonstrate a commitment to continual learning and professional development. Having this credential can also help individuals increase their earning potential by qualifying them for higher-paying positions within their organization or other organizations.

Pro Tip: When considering a housing specialist certification, make sure to research all available programs and certifications. Look for certifications that are accredited by professional organizations and have a proven track record of success. Also, be sure to check the requirements for each program and determine if they meet your individual needs.

Related: What does a Housing Specialist do?

Top 10 Housing Specialist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Housing Specialists today.

1. Certified Housing Professional (CHP)

Certified Housing Professional (CHP) is a professional designation offered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The CHP designation is designed to recognize housing professionals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in their field.

The CHP program requires applicants to complete a comprehensive course and pass an exam. The course covers topics such as housing finance, construction management, marketing, and legal issues related to the housing industry. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that test the applicant’s knowledge of the material covered in the course.

To obtain the CHP designation, applicants must complete the course and pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher. The course can be completed in approximately two months, depending on how much time an individual has available for study.

The cost for obtaining the CHP designation varies depending on whether you are an NAHB member or non-member. For NAHB members, it costs $295; for non-members, it costs $395.

2. Certified Housing Manager (CHM)

Certified Housing Manager (CHM) is a professional certification offered by the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of professional knowledge and experience in the field of residential property management. To obtain the CHM designation, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass an exam, and adhere to a code of ethics.

The educational requirements for the CHM include completing at least six NARPM-approved courses. These courses cover topics such as landlord-tenant law, fair housing laws, accounting principles, marketing and leasing techniques, maintenance and repair procedures, and risk management. Applicants must also have at least two years of full-time property management experience or four years of part-time property management experience.

Once all the requirements are met, applicants can take the CHM exam which consists of multiple choice questions covering topics related to residential property management. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete and costs $150. Upon passing the exam with a score of 70% or higher, applicants will receive their Certified Housing Manager certification from NARPM.

The cost for obtaining the CHM designation varies depending on whether you are already a member of NARPM or not. For non-members, it costs $295 for application fees plus $150 for the exam fee for a total cost of $445. For members, it costs $245 for application fees plus $150 for the exam fee for a total cost of $395.

3. Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)

Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) is a professional certification program offered by the National Apartment Association (NAA). It is designed to recognize apartment managers who demonstrate excellence in their profession and have achieved a high level of knowledge and skills. The program consists of three core courses: Property Management, Maintenance/Operations, and Leasing/Marketing.

It typically takes between six months and two years to complete the CAM program, depending on the individual's experience and learning style. To get certified, candidates must first complete all three core courses, pass an exam for each course, and submit a portfolio demonstrating their professional experience.

The cost of the CAM program varies depending on the provider; however, it usually ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. This cost includes tuition fees for all three courses as well as the exam fees.

4. Certified Property Manager (CPM)

Certified Property Manager (CPM) is a professional designation awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). It is an internationally recognized certification that recognizes individuals who have achieved the highest level of professional excellence in real estate management. The CPM designation is held by more than 8,000 property managers worldwide.

To become a CPM, you must first meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having at least three years of full-time experience in property management, completion of IREM’s Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) or Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) courses, and passing the CPM exam.

The CPM exam consists of four parts: Financial Analysis and Decision Making; Human Resources Management; Operations and Maintenance; and Asset Management. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete and requires a score of at least 75% to pass.

The cost for the CPM exam varies depending on your membership status with IREM. For non-members, the cost is $500 USD per attempt. For members, it is $400 USD per attempt. In addition to the exam fee, there are also fees associated with taking the ARM/ACoM courses ($1,200 USD for members/$1,500 USD for non-members).

Once you have passed the CPM exam and met all other requirements, you will receive your official Certified Property Manager designation from IREM. This typically takes about 4-6 weeks after passing the exam.

5. National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Certified Green Professional (CGP)

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Certified Green Professional (CGP) is an accreditation program designed to recognize professionals in the home building industry who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in green building practices. The CGP designation is awarded to individuals who demonstrate their commitment to sustainable building practices and are dedicated to helping their clients build healthier, more energy efficient homes.

To become a NAHB Certified Green Professional, candidates must complete a comprehensive training program that covers topics such as green building principles, energy efficiency, resource conservation, indoor air quality, and water conservation. The training also includes hands-on projects related to green building techniques.

The certification process typically takes about 6 months from start to finish and involves completing the required coursework and passing the final exam with a score of 80% or higher. Candidates must also submit proof of at least two years of experience in the homebuilding industry prior to applying for the certification.

The cost for the NAHB Certified Green Professional program varies depending on whether you are an NAHB member or not. For non-members, the cost is $1,000 while members pay only $750. In addition, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam or other requirements that vary by state or jurisdiction.

6. National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS)

The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS) is a professional certification program that provides housing professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage affordable housing programs. The COS program is designed to help housing professionals understand the complexities of the affordable housing industry, including topics such as tenant selection, rent calculations, occupancy standards, fair housing laws, and more.

The COS program consists of two parts: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as HUD regulations, tenant eligibility requirements, rent calculations, inspection procedures, and other important information related to managing affordable housing programs. The exam tests the participant’s knowledge of these topics.

In order to obtain the COS certification, participants must complete both the online course and pass the exam with a score of 80% or higher. The online course takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete; however, this can vary depending on individual learning styles. The exam takes approximately 2 hours to complete.

The cost for the NAHMA COS certification program is $295 for members of NAHMA and $395 for non-members.

7. National Center for Housing Management Certification Program (NCHMCP)

The National Center for Housing Management Certification Program (NCHMCP) is a certification program that provides individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage housing programs. The NCHMCP is designed to provide a comprehensive set of standards and competencies to ensure that housing professionals have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage their housing programs effectively.

The NCHMCP consists of three levels of certification: Certified Housing Manager (CHM), Certified Senior Housing Manager (CSHM), and Certified Executive Housing Manager (CEHM). To obtain any of these certifications, applicants must pass an exam administered by the National Center for Housing Management.

To become certified at any level, applicants must first complete a series of approved courses in housing management. These courses cover topics such as finance, budgeting, human resources, marketing, legal issues, tenant relations, and more. After completing the required courses, applicants must then take and pass the exam administered by the National Center for Housing Management.

The time it takes to get certified depends on how quickly you are able to complete the required courses. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year or longer depending on your individual circumstances.

In order to get certified through the NCHMCP program, you will need to submit an application along with proof of completion of all required courses. You will also need to pay a fee which varies depending on which level of certification you are applying for. The fees range from $150-$500 USD depending on your level of certification.

Once your application has been approved and you have taken and passed the exam administered by the National Center for Housing Management, you will be officially certified as a housing manager at your chosen level.

8. Institute of Real Estate Management's (IREM) Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) is a professional designation that recognizes managers who demonstrate the highest level of competency in managing residential properties. This certification is designed to help property managers enhance their skills and knowledge, as well as demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the field.

In order to obtain the ARM certification, an applicant must first complete an application and pay a fee. The application process includes submitting proof of experience, education, and other credentials. Once approved, applicants must pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as financial management, tenant relations, legal issues, and marketing.

The ARM certification is valid for three years and can be renewed by completing continuing education requirements or taking additional exams. In addition to the initial application fee, there are fees associated with taking the exam and renewing the certification every three years. The cost of obtaining the ARM certification varies depending on the individual's specific situation and requirements.

9. International Council of Shopping Centers' Accredited Shopping Center Manager (ASCM)

The International Council of Shopping Centers’ Accredited Shopping Center Manager (ASCM) is a professional certification program that recognizes the expertise and knowledge of shopping center professionals. The ASCM designation is awarded to those who demonstrate mastery in the field of shopping center management and have achieved a high level of professional development.

To become an ASCM, individuals must meet certain educational requirements, pass a comprehensive exam, and agree to abide by the ICSC Code of Ethics. The educational requirements include a minimum of three years’ experience in shopping center management or related fields, or at least one year of college-level coursework in real estate, finance, marketing, or other related areas.

The ASCM exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as leasing and tenant relations, marketing and promotion, financial analysis and budgeting, legal issues, operations management, retail trends and technology. Candidates have up to three hours to complete the exam.

To apply for the ASCM certification program, applicants must submit an application form along with their resume and transcripts showing proof of education requirements. Once approved by ICSC staff members, applicants will be sent an email with instructions on how to register for the exam.

The cost for taking the ASCM exam is $225 USD for ICSC members ($325 USD for non-members). Upon passing the exam with a score of 70% or higher, applicants will receive their official certificate from ICSC within 6-8 weeks after passing the exam.

10. National Apartment Association's Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS).

The Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS) is a professional certification program offered by the National Apartment Association (NAA). The CAPS program is designed to equip apartment professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to effectively manage large multi-family portfolios. The certification is intended for experienced apartment professionals who are responsible for managing multiple properties or portfolios of properties.

To qualify for the CAPS program, applicants must have at least two years of experience in multi-family portfolio management and must meet certain educational requirements. Applicants must also pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as financial management, asset protection, customer service and retention, operational efficiency, legal compliance, and marketing strategies.

The CAPS program typically takes between six months to one year to complete depending on the individual's experience level and study habits. To get started on the path towards earning your CAPS certification, you will need to register with the NAA and pay an application fee of $250. Once registered, you will receive a copy of the CAPS curriculum which includes textbooks, online resources, practice exams, and other materials needed to prepare for the exam. After completing all required coursework and passing the exam with a score of 75% or higher, you will be awarded your CAPS certification.

The cost of obtaining your CAPS certification varies depending on whether you choose to take an online or in-person course. Online courses range from $500-$1,000 while in-person courses can cost anywhere from $2,000-$3,000. Additionally there are fees associated with taking the final exam which range from $100-$200 depending on where it is taken.

Do You Really Need a Housing Specialist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and their particular goals. For some, a housing specialist certificate may be necessary in order to obtain employment or advance in a career. For others, a housing specialist certificate might be desired for personal development or to gain recognition within the industry.

For those looking to start a career in the field of housing, obtaining certification can provide an advantage over those who do not have it. It demonstrates that an individual has taken the time and effort to learn about the industry and has acquired knowledge and skills specific to their job role. Additionally, having certification can create opportunities for promotions, higher pay, and increased job security. It is also possible that some employers may require certification before considering an applicant for a position.

For those already employed in the housing industry, pursuing a certificate can lead to enhanced job performance and greater earning potential. Having certification often signals expertise in certain areas of the field, which can make someone more attractive as an employee or consultant. Furthermore, acquiring certification may make one eligible for additional roles or responsibilities within an organization that would otherwise be unavailable without it.

In either case, obtaining certification is no small feat and requires dedication and commitment from the individual seeking it out. However, if you feel like having a housing specialist certificate will help you achieve your professional goals then it is worth considering investing in one.

Related: Housing Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About Housing Specialist Certifications

1. What is a Housing Specialist Certification?

A Housing Specialist Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual's expertise in housing issues and regulations. It is designed to help housing professionals stay informed on current laws, trends, and best practices in the field.

2. How do I become certified as a Housing Specialist?

In order to become certified as a Housing Specialist, you must complete an accredited program or course of study that covers topics such as fair housing law, housing finance, and landlord/tenant relationships. You may also need to pass an exam or complete other requirements depending on the certification program you choose.

3. What are the benefits of becoming a Certified Housing Specialist?

Being certified as a Housing Specialist can provide you with greater professional credibility and recognition from employers or clients when it comes to understanding and applying industry standards for residential property management and development. It can also open up job opportunities in the field or increase earning potential by providing more comprehensive knowledge on housing regulations and policy changes. Additionally, it can help you stay informed on current laws and trends in the industry so that you can better serve your clients' needs.

4. How long does it take to get certified as a Housing Specialist?

The amount of time required to become certified depends on the type of certification program chosen; however, most programs require between 12-18 months of study before taking the certification exam. Additionally, some certifications require continuing education credits to maintain their validity over time.

5. Are there any prerequisites for becoming a Certified Housing Specialist?

Most certification programs will require applicants to have some prior experience in the field of housing or real estate—typically at least two years—as well as basic knowledge about residential property management principles and tenant rights laws. Additionally, some programs may require applicants to be licensed real estate agents prior to enrolling in their certification courses.