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Career Info for a Degree in Property Management & Maintenance

Property management and maintenance is generally a field that teaches about the overall operation and upkeep of residential and commercial properties. Continue reading for an overview of the training, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Within the field of property management there are onsite property managers, community association property managers, and property and real estate managers. A high school diploma or GED is required to become an onsite property manager, and an associate's or bachelor's degree is required to become a community association property manager or property and real estate manager. Property managers may need to be licensed, although certification is optional.

Essential Information

Coursework in property management and maintenance can be found in several degree programs, including real estate, business management, or public administration. These courses provide lessons about tenant managing strategies, investment property maintenance, and laws that govern the rights of renters and property owners. There are many different types of property managers, and these professionals vary by the size of the properties they manage or by specific job duties.

Employers may only require managers to hold the equivalent of high school diplomas, although many employers prefer managers who have undergraduate degrees in related fields. Licensure may be required for some types of property managers, but not all, and certification remains voluntary for this profession.

Career Titles Onsite Property Manager Community Association Property Manager Property and Real Estate Managers
Education Requirements High school diploma or equivalent Associate's or bachelor's degree Associate's or bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for property, real estate, and community association managers 8% for property, real estate, and community association managers 8% for property, real estate, and community association managers
Median Salary $46,352 for property managers (2016)** $48,792 (2016)** $55,380 (2015)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.

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Career Options

Onsite Property Manager

These professionals usually manage over a single property, such as a shopping center, an apartment complex, or an office building. Onsite property managers review the property on a frequent basis, schedule maintenance, respond to tenant complaints, and meet with potential tenants. They also manage the administrative side of the business, including collecting rents, negotiating rental contracts and agreements, maintaining budget reports, and meeting with property owners. Onsite property managers may also manage a staff of assistants and grounds keepers, depending on the size of the property and the needs of the manager.

Preparation for a career in property management and maintenance varies according to the type, size, and complexity of the property. Qualification requirements for a career in onsite property management generally include some relevant college coursework in such subjects as accounting or real estate, and those with an undergraduate degree may be seen as preferable candidates. Certification may be required if onsite property managers work at federally subsidized facilities. Some states also have additional licensing requirements for property managers, but this varies.

Community Association Property Manager

Community association property management focuses on resident-owned properties, such as condominium complexes. Instead of collecting rents and filling vacancies, since community properties are typically owner-occupied, managers focus on protecting property values for the benefit of the resident-owners. The community's board of directors is typically in charge of hiring this designated professional on behalf of all the individual property owners or investors.

Those who manage larger or more complex properties may need additional experience and an associate's or bachelor's degree in property management or business management. Employers may also look for proficiency with industry-specific data management software, such as Yardi Voyager. Professional certification may also open employment opportunities. One such certification is the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation offered by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). Candidates must either complete some approved coursework through IREM if they don't already hold a college degree in real estate or property management.

Property and Real Estate Managers

Owners and investors commonly use the services of property and real estate managers to protect their properties' value and maximize the potential income. Usually, professionals manage over multiple properties at the same time. These properties can include such types as single-family homes, apartment complexes, senior residence facilities, and commercial real estate units. Property and real estate managers may market properties to fill vacancies, meet with prospective tenants, collect rents, schedule maintenance, oversee repairs and remodels, handle finances, prepare budget reports, and report to property owners. These managers ensure that each property meets the standards of all applicable laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.

Due to the amount of properties and responsibilities involved with this career, most employers prefer property and real estate managers who have undergraduate degrees as well as experience in real estate sales. Managers who purchase or sell properties on behalf of their employers will also require real estate agent licenses in accordance with state laws, and the licensure process for most states involves passing exams with questions about industry laws and practices. Certification is voluntary, but employers may prefer property and real estate managers who hold one or more industry credentials.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected that from 2014-2024, employment would increase by 8% for all property, real estate and community association managers, which is average for all occupations. Records reported in 2016 by PayScale.com showed that property managers in general earned a median salary of $46,352. That same source reported that property, real estate or community association managers earned a median salary of $48,792 during that same year.

Job options for individuals with a high school diploma include positions as onsite property managers who typically manage a single property. Individuals with an undergraduate degree related to property management can also pursue careers as property and real estate managers who oversee several properties at a time, such as homes, commercial properties, or apartment buildings, or as community association property managers responsible for overseeing the properties within their association and ensuring property values are maintained.

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