CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a property manager.
Is becoming a property manager right for me?
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While there are no specific high school courses that are required to become a property manager, there are several subjects that can be helpful in preparing for a career in this field. These include:
- Business and Finance: Property managers need to have a solid understanding of financial management, budgeting, and accounting principles. Taking courses in business and finance can help students develop these skills.
- Mathematics: Property managers need to be comfortable working with numbers, including calculating rent payments, preparing budgets, and analyzing financial reports. Taking courses in mathematics, such as algebra and statistics, can be beneficial.
- Communication: Property managers must be able to communicate effectively with tenants, property owners, and other stakeholders. Taking courses in communication, such as public speaking, writing, and interpersonal communication, can help students develop these skills.
- Law and Government: Property managers must have a basic understanding of local, state, and federal laws related to real estate and property management. Taking courses in government and law can help students understand these complex regulations.
- Construction and Maintenance: While not required, courses in construction and maintenance can be helpful for property managers who are responsible for overseeing building repairs and maintenance. These courses can help students understand the basics of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
Formal Education Steps
The formal education steps to become a property manager can vary depending on the state and the employer, but generally include the following:
- Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: Most property management positions require a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED.
- Pursue a college degree: While not always required, many property management employers prefer candidates with a Bachelor's Degree in Business, Business Management, Real Estate, or a related field. A degree program in business or real estate may cover topics such as finance, accounting, property management, real estate law, marketing, and communication.
- Gain work experience: Many property managers begin their careers in related fields such as real estate sales, leasing, or administration. This can provide valuable experience and help develop the skills necessary to manage properties.
- Obtain state licensing: Many states require property managers to hold a real estate broker's license or a property management license. This typically involves completing pre-licensing education, passing a licensing exam, and meeting other requirements such as a background check.
- Seek professional certifications: While not required, obtaining a professional certification such as the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) can demonstrate a commitment to the field and provide additional opportunities for career advancement.
There are several certifications available for property managers that can demonstrate their expertise and commitment to the field. Some of the most popular certifications include:
- Certified Property Manager (CPM) - Offered by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), the CPM certification is a globally recognized credential for property managers. To obtain this certification, candidates must have at least three years of experience in property management, complete a series of courses, and pass a certification exam.
- Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) - Also offered by IREM, the ARM certification is specifically designed for professionals who manage residential properties. To obtain this certification, candidates must have at least one year of experience in residential property management, complete a series of courses, and pass a certification exam.
- Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) - Offered by the National Apartment Association (NAA), the CAM certification is designed for professionals who manage apartment communities. To obtain this certification, candidates must complete a series of courses and pass a certification exam.
- Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) - Offered by the CCIM Institute, the CCIM certification is a globally recognized credential for professionals who work in commercial real estate. To obtain this certification, candidates must have at least two years of experience in commercial real estate, complete a series of courses, and pass a certification exam.
- Real Property Administrator (RPA) - Offered by BOMI International, the RPA certification is designed for professionals who manage commercial properties. To obtain this certification, candidates must complete a series of courses and pass a certification exam.
There are several professional organizations for property managers that provide resources, networking opportunities, and continuing education to members. Some of the most popular organizations include:
- Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) - IREM is an international organization for property managers that offers education, training, and certification programs. Members can access networking opportunities, industry research, and other resources.
- National Apartment Association (NAA) - NAA is a trade association for apartment owners, managers, and developers. The organization provides advocacy, education, and networking opportunities for members.
- Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International - BOMA is a professional association for commercial real estate professionals, including property managers. The organization offers education, advocacy, and networking opportunities for members.
- National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) - NARPM is a professional association for residential property managers. Members can access education, networking opportunities, and resources to help them better serve their clients.
- International Facility Management Association (IFMA) - IFMA is a professional association for facility managers, including those who manage commercial properties. Members can access education, research, and networking opportunities to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.