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What It Takes to Become a Licensed Property Manager

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A property manager administers residential and commercial real estate on behalf of its owner. A property manager’s responsibilities may vary but typically includes setting, adjusting and collecting rent, managing tenants and taking care of building maintenance. State laws determine requirements for becoming a property manager.

Education and Training

Property managers need at least a high school diploma or a GED. A college education isn’t required but a degree can increase your chances with an employer. Classes in real estate, business and accounting are helpful in this career. You can also take courses in aspects of property management and from other providers such as real estate trade organizations. These organizations provide a designation when you complete a series of classes, which can improve your marketability. Depending on the provider, you can take classes online, in a classroom or at workshops.


In most states, you must have a real estate broker license to work as a property manager, especially if your duties include leasing or renting property. It might not be necessary if your duties are limited to collecting rent or general maintenance. If a license is necessary, you would have to study for and pass the state’s real estate exam. Some states allow unlicensed property managers to work under a licensed real estate broker.

Gaining Experience

Many property managers start their careers under the supervision of a seasoned professional, usually as employees of a property-management firm or as assistants to property managers. When they have acquired some experience, they can advance to positions of greater responsibility, such as managing an apartment building. If you have experience in real estate sales, your knowledge and skills could help you advance faster.

Professional Affiliation

Membership in a real estate trade organization can help you advance your career. These organizations provide educational opportunities, information and resources that are not readily available to non-members. For instance, members enjoy considerable discounts on courses.They also provide opportunities to network with experienced professionals who can guide new members. Nationally recognized companies include the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), the Building Owners and Management Institute (BOMI) and the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM).

2016 Salary Information for Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

Property, real estate, and community association managers earned a median annual salary of $57,040 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, property, real estate, and community association managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,910, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $83,110, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 317,300 people were employed in the U.S. as property, real estate, and community association managers.