Apartment managers do more than just show and rent properties and respond to resident requests. They also oversee property maintenance and operations, work to preserve rental values, pay bills, keep records and create and adhere to an operating budget. Taking classes in property management and earning certification can give an apartment manager the skills she needs to succeed, though certification is not always a requirement before a property will hire you.
Certified Apartment Manager
The Certification Apartment Management designation that the National Apartment Association (NAA) offers is considered by many to be the gold standard in apartment management certification. Some local certification programs, such as those that the Apartment Association in the Greater Dallas and the San Diego County Apartment Association offer, are adapted from the NAA program. To earn certification, you must complete a range of coursework that includes management of residential issues, human resources management, marketing, financial management and fair housing. You must also have at least 12 months experience working in the apartment industry before you become eligible for certification.
National Associated Builders and Owners
The National Associated Builders and Owners, or NABO, offers credentials for managers who work at market-rate or affordable apartment complexes. Your path to certification includes courses in administrative and financial management, marketing, resident services, maintenance, fair housing, security and ethics. To earn certification, you must have at least two years experience of multifamily housing management experience, take and pass the national Registered in Apartment Management (RAM) exam, and complete a RAM professional profile.
Institute of Real Estate Management
The Institute of Real Estate Management, or IREM, offers a certification program that includes courses in market analysis, leadership, financial tools, financing, management and valuation. It offers an abbreviated version of its certification program for people who have an undergraduate degree in real estate or property management or who have at least 20 years of related experience. You must also take an ethics class and pass an exam on ethics.
General Management Training
Some certification programs tailor general management training for property managers and others who work in real estate. Such training can include classes on managing vs. leading, coping with stress, time management and modeling appropriate behaviors. You might also learn valuable customer service skills that can help when you interact with current and prospective residents and with employees.
Other Education and Licensure
Most properties require property managers to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field, such as administration, accounting, finance, real estate or public administration. Previous experience in real estate sales can also help you succeed. Some properties, and some states, might also require you to hold special licensure. However, most certification programs do not require that applicants meet education and/or licensure thresholds before enrollment.