An apartment leasing agent is hired by owners of residential rental properties to find tenants. Prospective leasing agents can earn professional certification by completing an online training program in apartment leasing. This program covers topics such as legal obligations regarding leasing, showing the property and interviewing prospective tenants. A certificate program in real estate focuses on the buying and selling of property but may include information on leasing. These types of programs prepare graduates to take their state's real estate agent exam.
There are no common education standards for apartment leasing agents. The apartment owners set their own requirements, although state regulations must also be followed. These can range from only a high school education to a real estate license. Some states offer a specialized leasing agent license with pre-licensing requirements that include a short training course in leasing.
Apartment Leasing Professional Program
The National Apartment Association (NAA) is a partnership of affiliates that represents more than 5.9 million apartments in the United States and Canada and the 50,000 companies that own them. The NAA Education Institute (NAAEI) offers coursework and exams that lead to nationally recognized designations for the apartment housing industry, including a National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) credential. Many colleges and universities have courses to prepare students to earn and test for the NALP designation. The course is also available online.
There are no prerequisites for taking the NALP course. However, those who wish to test for the designation must have at least six months of experience in the apartment industry, in addition to taking the required courses. The coursework covers eight areas. These are:
- How to be successful in leasing
- Presenting an apartment over the telephone
- Using the Internet as an aide in leasing
- Interviewing potential customers
- Showing the property and resolving any concerns
- Rental procedures and policies
- Legal elements in leasing
- Presenting leasing information from a market survey
Certificate in Real Estate
Real estate certificates usually offer enough coursework and credit hours to qualify graduates to take a real estate licensing exam in most states. Often a real estate license is required for jobs in apartment leasing. Course titles seldom indicate whether or not leasing training is covered. Students who wish to specialize in leasing will need to read course descriptions to learn how much leasing training is offered. State licensing requirements usually do not include a high school diploma; accordingly, most schools do not require a high school diploma or GED for acceptance into a real estate certificate program.
Often the courses in a real estate certificate program are determined by licensing laws in the state where the school is located. Coursework often includes:
- Basic laws and principles of real estate
- Brokering mortgages
- How to appraise real estate
- Leases, contracts, title searches, deeds and other real estate transactions
- Managing real estate properties
- Real estate financing rules and options
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for managers of property, real estate, and community associations (the occupational group most closely aligned to apartment leasing agents) should grow about 8% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also anticipated that jobs for real estate brokers and sales agents would increase by 3% from 2014 to 2024, a rate that is lower than the average compared to other professions. As of May 2015, the BLS reported that real estate brokers took home a median annual salary of $56,860; real estate sales agents earned a median salary of $43,370 per year.
Continuing Education Information
To renew the NALP designation, individuals must have earned three continuing education credits during the preceding year. The NAA website lists a number of acceptable courses. State real estate guidelines also often have acceptable courses.
Each state has its own licensing and continuing education (CE) requirements. There are major differences in requirements between states. Schools that offer real estate training will often have continuing education programs; states usually offer a list of acceptable training and CE programs. Graduates with certificates in real estate may also choose to earn an associate degree in real estate. If real estate professionals do not have the NALP designation, this is another CE option.
Though the educational standards for apartment leasing agents vary, there are a number of options available. These include the NALP credential or a real estate certificate with coursework in leasing.