Introduce Your Students to the Exciting Career Opportunities that Await Them in Residential Property Management

Summer is almost over and soon, thousands of high school and college students will be heading back to the classroom.

For some, thoughts about a career after graduation – from high school or college – weigh heavily on their minds. Inviting a Residential Property Management (RPM) professional to speak to your students is a great way to introduce them to a career option that may not have occurred to them.

Susan Sherfield, national director of education for Mercy Housing, said hearing from somebody who works in the field offers great value to students because they can hear how that person started in RPM, how they built their career, what they like most about the industry, what they feel are its most challenging aspects and what they recommend to students who are interested in the industry.

“There are many unique aspects of our industry that should be shared with students,” she said. “Students can enter the industry right out of high school. They can work while attending college. Students who choose not to go to college can begin to build a career through learning the industry by working in it."

Experience in the industry will help students identify the career path that best fits them – whether that path is in maintenance/facilities management, leasing/property management or one that leads them to a corporate support or leadership position, she said.

The RPM industry provides career opportunities with good pay and benefits, and the demand for rental housing will not go away, Sherfield said. In fact, many people are choosing to rent instead of own a place to live. Almost every community has rental housing. People working in RPM will find jobs wherever life takes them.

“Residential property management offers unlimited opportunity for people of all backgrounds, all levels of education and in a variety of career paths,” she said.  “There are rewarding positions for people with and without college degrees. I know of people in senior leadership positions who started in the industry right out of high school and worked their way up.”

Sherfield said that students and young professionals are looking for a career that is not only financially rewarding but also meaningful. Residential property management is both because it offers many opportunities for advancement and provides people with homes.

Even students planning to go into a different career will benefit from hearing from an RPM professional because most will likely live in an apartment at some point in their lives, she said.

If you are interested in inviting someone from our industry to speak to your class, I am happy to connect you with your local apartment association or a National Apartment Association member company in your area. Please email me at You also can visit

Or, connect with one of our career ambassadors in your area. You can find a list of them at This website features many resources for students and teachers interested in learning more about working in RPM.

Follow NAAEI on Twitter @NAAEI.

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