Certified Property Manager Education Requirements and Career Info

The Certified Property Manager (CPM) credential is generally a way for property managers to demonstrate expertise in their field. Continue reading for an overview of the qualifications for certification, as well as job growth and salary info for a few career options for certified professionals.

Property managers handle all aspects of a property's functions, from maintenance to collecting rent, to paying necessary fees and managing complaints. Some education in the field is required, but there are a few options to the types of programs that one can take. After completing some education or certificate program, a property manager can become certified.

Essential Information

The Certified Property Manager (CPM) credential is a professional certification awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). CPMs maintain private and commercial real estate investments and ensure their appreciation. Prerequisites needed to take the CPM exam can be completed through degree programs or by taking courses offered by the IREM.

Required Education A bachelor's or master's degree in real estate or property management is the most common prerequisite; in lieu of a degree, applicants can complete courses offered by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)
Exam Requirements Exam offered by the IREM
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for property, real estate, and community association managers)*
Average Salary (2015) $68,240 (for property, real estate, and community association managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for CPMs

The IREM sets the education requirements for the CPM designation and requires a person to hold a bachelor's or master's degree in real estate or property management (www.irem.org). A real estate or property management program may cover topics ranging from real estate terminology to investment properties. You may also learn about valuation, financial reporting and property management.

Another option to meet education requirements is to complete seven IREM required courses. The seven IREM courses will cover topics including marketing, human resources, property maintenance and real estate investment.

Certification Information

The IREM has implemented a three-step process for property managers to become certified. First, applicants must establish candidacy by submitting a completed CPM application and pledging to maintain the IREM code of ethics. Second, applicants must complete education requirements or show proof of other accepted certification. Lastly, candidates must pass management, ethics and certification examinations.

Career Information for Certified Property Managers

In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that about 40% of property managers were self-employed (www.bls.gov). The rest work for a variety of organizations, ranging from property management companies to government agencies. Although these professionals typically work in an office environment, those who oversee multiple properties may need to travel frequently.


Property managers oversee the maintenance and financial performance of residential and commercial buildings. They handle tenant complaints and concerns, collect rents or association dues and ensure that service and repairs are completed. Additionally, they may be required to market properties to prospective tenants and negotiate lease agreements with contractors, like janitorial service companies. Other duties may include managing payrolls and maintaining compliance with government regulations and city ordinances.

Career Outlook

According to the BLS, property managers with professional certification and a college degree have the best opportunities. Due to a rising elderly population, professionals with experience managing retirement homes and healthcare facilities may find additional job prospects. The BLS also indicates that in 2015, the average annual salary for property, real estate, and community association managers was $68,240. Professionals in this field in the state of New York earned the highest wages among all states, with an average annual salary of $107,120.

Education and experience are the two aspects that will push a certified property manager ahead in the job field. An understanding of property needs, property markets, and regulatory requirements can help increase a candidates work potential. Certification for property managers is obtained after passing the exams issued by the Institute of Real Estate Management.

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