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Five Reasons to Invest in the RPA/FMA Designation Program

By Nancy Capadona, RPA, General Manager at The Hearn Company

I earned my Real Property Administrator (RPA) about 25 years ago after I was encouraged by my supervisor to take the designation classes. The comprehensive RPA coursework accelerated my understanding of property management and allowed me to immediately use strategies to increase the value of my building. That’s why I encourage all my employees and the emerging leaders of the industry to earn the RPA/FMA (Facilities Management Administrator) designation.

Likewise, the next generation of professionals needs the support of today’s managers to unlock the full potential of the designation experience and career possibilities. Below are five reasons why I believe building owners, asset managers and property managers should invest in their team and budget for RPA/FMA classes for the upcoming year.

Improve job performance: Students will immediately apply classroom knowledge within their own buildings. They will reinforce that knowledge through conversations and deeper questions with team members, engineers, security staff and tenants. This will lead to employees seeing the “entire picture” and excelling in their job. In fact, a recent Building Owners and Managers Institute International (BOMI) study of graduates found that 97 percent of graduates agree the RPA and FMA programs improved their job performance and overall career.

Reduce operational expenses: Graduates are empowered with proper and strategic decision-making skills, equipping them with knowledge of how to increase the value of their building. A recent study of graduates showed that 72 percent of graduates experienced a decrease in monthly operating expenses after completing the courses.

Add a mark of distinction: Earning an RPA or FMA designation is a mark of distinction not only for the employees who earn them, but also for the companies make the investment. Demonstrating that an individual is committed to the commercial real estate industry and able to apply tactics to operate properties at peak performance reflects positively on the employee, the property management company and the building.

Benefit from outside expertise: Students can participate in a mentorship program, where they are paired with a senior-level professional who earned the RPA/FMA designation. This will create another outlet for industry knowledge to be shared, and an opportunity for employees to learn new ideas and apply innovative strategies.

Offset designation costs: RPA/FMA courses may be reimbursable as building operating expenses under tenant leases. Many of these costs are also reimbursable under typical property management agreements.

The RPA/FMA designations offer a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on all aspects of commercial real estate management. The eight classes cover: Budgeting & Accounting, Investment & Finance, Building Systems Part I and Part II, Law & Risk, Ethics, Environmental Health & Safety and one elective Electives include Asset Management, Leasing and Marketing for Property Managers, and Managing the Organization.

The total cost of all eight classes and the enrollment fee is $9,200 – a small investment that reaps large benefits. If your building is not able to pay for classes, then your staff members may be eligible for the needs-based Full Designation Scholarship. Click here to learn more.


Nancy Capadona is a member of BOMA/Chicago’s Board of Directors and Education Committee.