Many employers prefer to hire college graduates for property management positions, particularly for offsite positions dealing with a property’s finances or contract management. Employers also prefer to hire college graduates to manage commercial properties. A bachelor's or master's degree in business administration, accounting, finance, real estate, or public administration is preferred for these positions.
Managers of commercial properties and those dealing with a property’s finances and contract management increasingly are finding that they need a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration, accounting, finance, or real estate management, especially if they do not have much practical experience. Experience in real estate sales is a good background for onsite managers because real estate sales people also show properties to prospective tenants or buyers. Real estate managers who buy or sell property must be licensed. In a few jurisdictions, property association managers must be licensed. Managers of public housing subsidized by the federal government must hold certifications.
Many property managers get professional certification showing competence and professionalism. Oftentimes, employers require managers to attend formal training programs from various professional and trade real estate associations. Employers send managers to these programs to develop their management skills and expand their knowledge of specialized fields, such as how to run and maintain mechanical systems in buildings, how to improve property values, insurance and risk management, personnel management, business and real estate law, community association risks and liabilities, tenant relations, communications, accounting and financial concepts, and reserve funding.
Managers also participate in these programs to prepare themselves for positions of greater responsibility in property management. With related job experience, completing these programs and receiving a satisfactory score on a written exam can lead to certification or the formal award of a professional designation by the sponsoring association. Obtaining these certifications also can help in getting a job.