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Top 10 Leasing Associate Certifications

This article outlines the best certifications for leasing associates to pursue in order to maximize their career potential.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for leasing associates because they demonstrate a commitment to professional development, as well as a deep knowledge and understanding of the leasing industry. A certification shows potential employers that the associate is up-to-date on best practices and trends in the industry, and is capable of providing customers with quality service. The certifications also provide a competitive edge in the job market, allowing leasing associates to stand out from their peers. Finally, certifications provide assurance to employers that their employees have been properly trained and prepared for their jobs.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Leasing Associates and explains how they can help further a leasing associate's career.

What are Leasing Associate Certifications?

Leasing associate certification is a professional certification that demonstrates proficiency in the leasing industry. It is designed to equip leasing associates with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully negotiate and execute commercial leases, as well as manage their portfolios of leased properties. Certified leasing associates are better equipped to provide value-added services to clients and employers alike.

The certification process involves completing a comprehensive training program which covers topics such as legal issues, accounting principles, lease negotiation, marketing strategies, tenant screening, and property management. Upon successful completion of the program, candidates become eligible to take the Leasing Associate Certification Exam administered by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Passing this exam allows individuals to receive their Certified Leasing Associate (CLA) designation.

Having a CLA designation can be beneficial for both employers and employees in many ways. For employers, it indicates that an individual has received specialized training in the field of commercial leasing and is well-equipped to handle complex transactions. It also serves as a form of quality assurance that they are hiring knowledgeable professionals who have demonstrated their expertise through rigorous testing and evaluation.

For employees, having a CLA designation can be seen as an asset when applying for jobs or negotiating salary increases. It shows potential employers that they possess superior knowledge in the field of commercial leasing and understand all aspects of the job from start to finish. Additionally, having a CLA designation may open up opportunities for career advancement or higher paying positions within the organization.

Pro Tip: If you're looking to become a leasing associate, make sure you get certified in the area. This will give you an edge over other job applicants and provide employers with assurance that you are knowledgeable and qualified for the role. Certification can also help boost your confidence as a leasing associate and open up more career opportunities.

Related: What does a Leasing Associate do?

Top 10 Leasing Associate Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Leasing Associates today.

1. Certified Leasing Professional (CLP)

Certified Leasing Professional (CLP) is a certification program designed to recognize and promote professionalism in the leasing industry. It is offered by the National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI). The CLP program is intended to provide leasing professionals with an understanding of the fundamentals of leasing, including legal aspects, marketing, customer service, financials, and more.

The CLP program consists of two parts: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as lease law, marketing strategies, customer service skills, and financial management. It takes approximately 10 hours to complete the course. After completing the course, candidates must pass a proctored exam with a score of 70% or higher to become certified.

The cost of becoming a Certified Leasing Professional varies depending on whether you are an NAAEI member or non-member. For NAAEI members, it costs $299 for both the online course and exam; for non-members it costs $399 for both.

In order to become certified as a CLP, you must meet certain eligibility requirements such as having at least one year of experience in the leasing industry or having completed at least five hours of NAAEI approved training within the last two years.

2. Certified Apartment Leasing Professional (CALP)

Certified Apartment Leasing Professional (CALP) is a certification program designed to provide recognition for leasing professionals who have achieved a level of excellence in their field. The program is offered by the National Apartment Association (NAA).

The CALP certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as property management, customer service, marketing and sales, legal requirements, and fair housing. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

In order to be eligible for the CALP certification, applicants must have at least three years of experience in the apartment industry or have completed an NAA-approved course. Additionally, applicants must be members of the NAA in good standing.

The cost of obtaining the CALP certification varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of the NAA. For non-members, the cost is $325; for members, it is $225. The fee includes access to study materials and a voucher for taking the exam.

Once you have passed the exam and paid all applicable fees, you will receive your official CALP certificate within four weeks.

3. Certified Property Manager (CPM)

Certified Property Manager (CPM) is a professional designation awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). It is the highest level of recognition for real estate management professionals and signifies a commitment to excellence in property management.

To become a CPM, you must have at least five years of experience in the field and complete IREM’s comprehensive CPM program. The program consists of eight courses that cover topics such as financial management, legal issues, marketing, and operations. Each course takes approximately two weeks to complete and can be taken online or in-person.

The cost of the CPM program varies depending on how many courses are taken at once. For example, if all eight courses are taken together, it will cost $2,400 plus applicable taxes. However, if only four courses are taken at once, it will cost $1,200 plus applicable taxes.

Once you have completed all eight courses and passed the final exam with a score of 70% or higher, you will receive your CPM designation from IREM.

4. Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)

Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) is a professional designation for individuals who manage residential properties. It is awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), an international organization that provides education and resources to real estate professionals. The ARM designation is recognized as a mark of excellence in the field of residential property management.

The ARM program consists of four courses: Financial Management, Human Resources Management, Maintenance and Risk Management, and Professionalism and Ethics. Each course requires approximately 40 hours of study time. After completing all four courses, candidates must pass a comprehensive exam to earn the ARM designation.

The cost of the program varies depending on which format you choose; self-study or instructor-led classes. Self-study materials typically cost around $1,000 while instructor-led classes may be more expensive due to additional fees for instructors and materials.

To become an Accredited Residential Manager, you must meet certain eligibility requirements such as having at least three years of experience in residential property management or related fields. You must also be a member of IREM in good standing before applying for the program.

Once you have met all eligibility requirements and paid the required fees, it usually takes about six months to complete all four courses and pass the final exam. After successfully completing the program, you will receive your official Accredited Residential Manager certificate from IREM.

5. Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS)

Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS) is a professional certification that recognizes the knowledge and expertise of individuals who work in the field of housing occupancy. COS certification is offered by the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA). This certification demonstrates that an individual has a comprehensive understanding of the laws, regulations, and policies related to affordable housing occupancy.

To become certified as a COS, applicants must complete a course of study and pass an exam. The course consists of six modules covering topics such as eligibility requirements, tenant rights and responsibilities, rent calculation methods, occupancy standards, fair housing laws, and HUD program regulations. The course can be completed online or in person at one of NAHMA’s training centers. The exam is administered online or at a testing center and consists of multiple-choice questions.

It typically takes about two months to complete the COS certification process from start to finish. After completing the coursework and passing the exam, applicants must submit their application for certification along with proof of completion of the required coursework. Once approved by NAHMA, applicants will receive their official COS certificate.

The cost to become certified as a COS varies depending on how you choose to take the coursework and exam. Online courses typically range from $400-$600 while in-person courses can range from $500-$800. Additionally, there is an application fee for certification which is currently $150 for members of NAHMA or $200 for non-members.

6. National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP)

National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) is a certification program offered by the National Apartment Association (NAA). It is designed to provide leasing professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively and ethically lease apartments.

The NALP program consists of three core courses: Leasing Basics, Fair Housing, and Risk Management. Each course is 8 hours in length and must be completed within one year of starting the program. The cost for each course is $175.

To get started, you must first register for the NALP program on the NAA website. Once registered, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your online courses. After completing all three courses, you will receive a certificate of completion from the NAA. You must also pass an exam with a score of 70% or higher in order to become certified as a National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP). The exam fee is $125.

Once certified as a NALP, you will have access to exclusive resources such as discounts on industry events and access to industry experts. You will also be able to list your certification on your resume or LinkedIn profile which can help you stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs in the apartment leasing field.

7. Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE)

Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE) is a certification program offered by the Real Estate Negotiation Institute (RENI). The program is designed to help real estate agents and brokers become more effective negotiators in their transactions. It provides education and training on negotiation techniques, strategies, and tactics to help agents close better deals for their clients.

The RENE certification program consists of two parts: an online course and an in-person exam. The online course takes approximately 8 hours to complete and covers topics such as communication skills, negotiation strategies, legal issues, and ethical considerations. After completing the online course, participants must pass a written exam in order to receive their RENE certification.

The cost of the RENE certification program varies depending on the provider. Generally speaking, it costs between $400-$600 USD to complete the program.

In order to get certified as a Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE), you must first successfully complete the online course and then pass the written exam with a score of 80% or higher. Once you have passed both parts of the program, you will be eligible for your RENE certification.

8. National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)

The National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) is a professional organization that provides education, resources, and networking opportunities to residential property managers. It was founded in 1988 and has grown to over 10,000 members in the United States and Canada. NARPM offers a variety of services including certification programs, continuing education courses, networking events, and more.

To become a member of NARPM, you must first meet the eligibility requirements which include having at least two years of experience in residential property management or being an owner/operator of a residential property management business. Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for membership online or by mail.

Membership costs vary depending on your level of involvement with NARPM. The basic membership fee is $150 per year for individuals or $250 per year for companies. There are additional fees for certifications, continuing education courses, and other services provided by NARPM.

It typically takes about two weeks to process your application once it has been received by the organization. After your application has been approved, you will receive access to all the benefits associated with being a member of NARPM such as discounts on educational materials and access to exclusive networking events.

9. Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)

Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) is a professional designation given to individuals who have completed a comprehensive training program and passed an exam administered by the National Apartment Association (NAA). The CAM certification is designed to help apartment managers improve their management skills and provide them with the knowledge necessary to effectively manage their properties.

It typically takes about six months to complete the CAM program, depending on how quickly you are able to study and prepare for the exam. To become certified, you must first complete an online or in-person course approved by the NAA. After completing the course, you will need to pass an exam that covers topics such as tenant relations, leasing, maintenance, marketing, and legal issues.

The cost of becoming a Certified Apartment Manager varies depending on the type of course you take and whether or not you choose to take additional classes or workshops. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$1,000 for the entire program. Additionally, there may be other costs associated with taking the exam such as registration fees and travel expenses if you choose to take an in-person course.

10. Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is a professional organization that provides education, certification and resources to real estate management professionals. It was founded in 1933 and is the only organization devoted exclusively to the field of real estate management.

IREM offers certifications that recognize individuals’ knowledge, experience and expertise in the field of real estate management. The most popular certification is the Certified Property Manager (CPM). To become a CPM, individuals must have at least three years of full-time experience as a property manager or related position, complete IREM’s CPM program, pass an exam and adhere to IREM’s Code of Professional Ethics.

The CPM program consists of nine courses spread over two years. Each course can be completed online or in-person at one of IREM’s approved schools. The cost for each course varies depending on the school but typically ranges from $400-$600 per course. In addition, there is an application fee of $100 and an exam fee of $300 for the CPM designation.

Overall, it takes approximately two years to complete all nine courses and receive your CPM designation from IREM.

Do You Really Need a Leasing Associate Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual's goals and ambitions. A leasing associate certificate is a valuable asset for those looking to enter the real estate industry. It can provide an individual with the knowledge, skills, and credentials necessary to succeed in this field.

Those who are already employed in the real estate industry may not need a leasing associate certificate unless they want to move up in their current position or transition into a different role. For example, if someone wants to become a property manager or real estate broker, then obtaining a leasing associate certificate would be beneficial. On the other hand, if someone is content with their current job duties and responsibilities, then they may not need a leasing associate certificate at all.

In short, deciding whether or not you need a leasing associate certificate is entirely up to you and your career goals. If you feel that obtaining this certification would help you achieve your desired objectives, then it might be worth pursuing. However, if your current position is satisfactory and you do not plan on taking any additional steps in the real estate industry, then it may not be necessary for you to obtain a leasing associate certificate at this time.

Related: Leasing Associate Resume Examples

FAQs About Leasing Associate Certifications

1. What is a Leasing Associate Certification?

Answer: A Leasing Associate Certification is a professional designation that recognizes an individual's knowledge and expertise in the leasing industry. It is designed to provide leasing professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage lease transactions.

2. How do I obtain a Leasing Associate Certification?

Answer: To obtain a Leasing Associate Certification, individuals must successfully complete an approved course of study from an accredited institution and pass the certification exam administered by the National Apartment Association (NAA). Some states may have additional requirements for obtaining a certification.

3. What are the benefits of having a Leasing Associate Certification?

Answer: Having a Leasing Associate Certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence in the leasing field, which can help you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs or promotions. It also allows you to access exclusive NAA resources, such as discounts on continuing education courses and access to best practices in the industry.

4. How long does it take to get certified?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to become certified depends on how quickly you can complete the required coursework and pass the exam. Generally, it takes approximately one year to complete all requirements for certification.

5. Is there an expiration date for my certification?

Answer: Yes, certifications expire after three years unless they are renewed through continuing education credits or by completing additional coursework.

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