When entering the world of property management, there are many things that one must consider.

These can range from the costs, the commitments, and the education that it requires.

One of the most important things that every property manager must consider before starting their practice is the law.

And, one thing that is synonymous with any real estate business is a real estate license. In most states, a real estate license is required to handle any rental properties or some sort of investment property.

More specifically, if you are looking to become a property manager, there is a separate property management license that you must obtain in many states.

In this guide, we will be going over the various kinds of real estate licenses that exist for property managers and any real estate agent.

To begin, let's compare and contrast what it means to be a real estate broker or a property manager.

Real Estate Broker vs. Property Manager: What's the Difference

Although they sound like they may be similar, real estate brokers and property managers are actually very different.

Both of these occupations require licenses from most states and also require some sort of other certification or education. They also have many similarities in that they both work very closely with the property owner and have equal importance in the real estate scene.

Also, most people who have gotten a property management license have gone through some sort of real estate school and have a real estate broker license. This is because your property manager, or property management company, often works very closely with the real estate broker in the purchasing process.

A real estate broker, also called a real estate agent, is an individual who serves to guide the buyer through the entire purchasing process. This licensed real estate broker is responsible for searching through real estate boards and listing websites to find a property for the buyer that matches all of their specifications.

A property manager also serves a key role in the process of buying a property. Property managers may be able to provide more information about the areas where properties are located and which ones are in high/low demand. After that, the property manager is responsible for taking care of the property and any upgrades or maintenance that the property owner would like done to it. They will probably also be the ones to recommend you a real estate attorney if one is needed.

Now that we know some more about the differences between property managers and real estate agents, let's learn about how someone can get into any of these occupations.

How to Become a Property Manager

If you are looking into getting your property management license, you are committing to a large investment of time and money. The size of this investment depends on where you want to become a property manager, but the process is similar across the United States.

Step 1: Learn About State Requirements

The first step in becoming a property manager is to find out about the state-specific requirements specific to your location. This is essential because some states have unique requirements and it is necessary to meet all of them.

Each state has its own requirements for things like:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Examination
  • Licensing
  • Applications
  • Background Checks

All of these factors are important parts of becoming a property manager and you must meet all of your state's requirements to eventually become one. Also, in the majority of the states, a high school diploma is required to get any kind of real estate license.

Step 2: Prelicensing Course

The next step in the process in getting your property management license is to take a prelicensing course. Property managers must take this course from an accredited real estate licensing school before sitting for a licensing exam.

These courses can usually be taken in various modalities, including virtual school and an actual campus. The required number of hours to receive the real estate broker's license varies by state. For example, in Florida, only 63 hours of coursework are required.

It is vital that you pay attention to all coursework because it will help you prepare for exams. Speaking of which, that is the next step.

Step 3: Taking the License Exam

The next step, and the most crucial one, is to take the final licensing exam. This exam covers all of the topics and concepts that you learned in the coursework.

Each exam is split up into two different parts. The first part covers the general real estate practices and principles that span the entire country. The second part covers state-specific rules and regulations and covers all of your local real estate license law.

Each state has its own regulations on how many times the exam can be taken and how long one must wait in between attempts. The price of the exams also differed from state to state.

Step 4: Activating Your License

The last step in becoming licensed in property management is to activate your license. This process involves submitting an application to your state's real estate regulatory organization. Then, the organization will approve your application and mail you your physical license and certification.

Now you are officially a licensed property management professional!

Although we have explained the process of getting your general real estate license, there are still many others that you can get from here. Below, we will explain more about some of the other licenses that real estate professionals get throughout their careers.

Different Licenses and Certifications

Real Estate Broker's License

The real estate broker's license is the most commonly required type of certification in the real estate industry. It is also the most commonly required type for property management professionals and property management companies.

In some states, this license is actually required to become a property manager. As mentioned in the above steps, you must know all about local and national rules and regulations regarding real estate to get this license.

Property Management License

Even though the real estate broker's license is usually all that a person needs to become a property manager, some states require a separate property management license. This license allows the individual to engage in business related to leasing and managing rental properties.

To get a property management license, one must pass through a process very similar to that of getting the real estate broker's license. This process includes pre-licensing coursework from an approved source, examination, and approval of the license. The property management license also holds the same requirements of being 18 years old and having a high school diploma.

Real Estate Salesperson License

In some states, an individual only requires a real estate salesperson license to work under an employer's real estate broker license. The process to obtain this license is just doing some coursework, passing an exam, and paying a fee. The person must also have a clean record as demonstrated by passing a background check.

Leasing Agent License

Leasing agents, very similar to real estate brokers, handle the signing of leases and provide customer service for existing tenants. These leasing agents must be sponsored and employed by a licensed broker. To get this license, one must complete a small amount of coursework and pass an exam.


Now that you know all about how to get your property management license, and many other licenses, you are fully prepared to enter the world of real estate! Just remember to follow all rules and regulations and you should be just fine. It's also a great idea to take advantage of affordable networking and educational opportunities wherever you can; a great way to do this is by joining real estate investor associations in your area.

Want more information?

Visit DoorLoop's Blog Page to learn everything you will ever need about property management.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!