Many people enter property management as onsite managers of apartment buildings, office complexes, or community associations, or as employees of property management firms or community association management companies. As they acquire experience working under the direction of a property manager, they may advance to positions with greater responsibility at larger properties. Those who excel as onsite managers often transfer to assistant property manager positions in which they can acquire experience handling a broad range of property management responsibilities.
Previous employment as a real estate sales agent may be an asset to onsite managers because it provides experience useful in showing apartments or office space. In the past, those with backgrounds in building maintenance have advanced to onsite manager positions on the strength of their knowledge of building mechanical systems, but this is becoming less common as employers place greater emphasis on administrative, financial, and communication abilities for managerial jobs.
Although many people entering jobs such as assistant property manager do so by having previously gained onsite management experience, employers increasingly hire inexperienced college graduates with bachelor's or master's degrees in business administration, accounting, finance, or real estate for these positions. Assistants work closely with a property manager and learn how to prepare budgets, analyze insurance coverage and risk options, market property to prospective tenants, and collect overdue rent payments. In time, many assistants advance to property manager positions.