Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

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Real estate investment trusts (REITs) own and operate income-producing real estate throughout the United States and abroad. These companies make it possible for non-accredited investors to take part in real estate investing without having to actively manage properties or participate in the maintenance of commercial real estate.


Working for a real estate investment trust is a career path that can be lucrative if you work for the right company. But what are some of the most popular career paths and best paying jobs in real estate investment trusts? 


This article covers the answer to these questions and more so you can start a successful career working for a real estate investment trust.


Why work for a real estate investment trust?


Real estate investment trusts are public companies that own and operate real estate in the United States and countries around the world. The REIT uses the funds from its investors to finance the buying and selling of commercial real estate properties.


Since most real estate investment trusts manage billions of dollars, they can pay their managers and employees very well, making a career in REITs that much more attractive for aspiring real estate professionals.


If you’re looking to work in the real estate industry and make a lot of money, working for a real estate investment trust could be a good career path for you. 


Requirements to work for a real estate investment trust


Most REITs want to see that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in a real estate or business-related field. For executive-level positions in real estate investment trusts, you’ll need a Master’s in Business Administration from a top MBA program.


Luckily, more and more colleges and universities are starting to offer coursework in real estate investing and other real estate-related fields to prepare graduates for a lucrative career in real estate.


If you want to get a great education in real estate to land the job of your dreams, you’ll want to go to one of the schools with the best real estate programs in the United States. As of November 2022, the best colleges for real estate includes the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and the University of Texas-Austin.


The best paying jobs in real estate investment trusts


People who want to work in real estate investment trusts should have an understanding of the common career paths and options that most people take in their careers working in REITs. Below are some of the best paying jobs in real estate investment trusts.


Property Manager


One of the best ways to get your foot in the door with a real estate investment trust is to get started as a property manager. Property managers oversee the day-to-day activities of operating income-producing real estate. Most property managers work for a property management company that has one or more commercial properties in its portfolio. 


It’s common to work for a property management company that manages apartment buildings and deals with evictions, enforcing lease terms, and ensuring a positive experience for their tenants. Property managers are the ones responsible for handling the maintenance of commercial properties and making sure that tenants have a livable space and are happy with their housing situation.


As a property manager, you may work with a team and be responsible for a specific function of the property management process. For example, one of your job responsibilities could be collecting and ensuring rent payments are accurate and that each tenant pays by the due date each month.


Other functions of property management include scheduling tours for potential tenants and maintaining the amenities on the property. 


Most property managers aspire to advance their careers and don’t want to be property managers forever. Working for a property management company is one of the best ways to get started working your way up to a real estate investment trust.


Asset Manager


Asset Managers work on a team that aims to maximize the financial performance of the assets contained in the real estate investment trust. Asset managers also ensure that the fund is following all regulations relating to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other special considerations involved in the management of a real estate investment trust.


Most asset managers start out as entry-level analysts that do the backend work for the Executive Asset Managers. You will most likely be assigned to a team that manages one or more sectors of the real estate investment trust.


Entry-level Asset Managers tend to make about $84,000 per year while upper-level managers can make $200,000 or more. To be an Asset Manager, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a business or real estate-related field and most likely an MBA for executive positions. 


Investor Relations Manager


Investor relations managers work for real estate investment trusts and are tasked with maintaining relationships with the investors of the REIT. They work to strengthen their relationship with shareholders in hopes that they invest more money with the trust.


Investor relations managers attend board meetings and make sure that the REIT is up to date on its reporting and analytics when presenting to shareholders. They handle proxy statements and other required disclosures that are sent to the trust's investors.


Investor relations managers should have good communication skills since they are talking with investors and co-workers constantly. You’ll need a degree from a reputable university with a specialization in public relations, real estate, finance, or business.


Entry-level investor relations managers should expect to make about $60,000 while upper-level managers who oversee teams of investor relations associates can make $150,000 or more.


Top REITs in the United States


If you want to work for a real estate investment trust, you should be aware of the top REITs in the United States. These companies have the most employees and are the number one choice for people that want to launch a career in real estate. These companies also pay the best compared to other less-popular REITs with fewer assets under management.


Annaly Capital Management




Annaly Capital Management is one of the largest real estate investment trusts in the world. They are a public company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trading under the ticker symbol NLY.


Annaly Capital Management started in 1997 by former executives from Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan. The company is based in New York City and has over 170 employees as of November 2022. 


Current job openings at Annaly Capital management include Financial Accounting Associate, Audit Specialist, and summer internships for college students. Those who secure an internship or job at Annaly Capital Management can expect to have a long and successful career in real estate since Annaly is one of the top REIT companies in the world and looks good on your resume.





Prologis is the third-largest real estate investment trusts according to SWFI based on their total assets–which are roughly $59 billion. 


Prologis is one of the oldest REITs in the world, started in 1983 and currently headquartered in San Francisco. While their headquarters is right outside of the Silicon Valley tech hub, Prologis also has major offices in Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York City.


Prologis has over 4,700 commercial buildings in its portfolio and routinely generates some of the best returns for investors among other REITs on the market. The company is traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker name PLD. 


The company is active in its acquisitions of smaller investment banks and other firms that they form strategic partnerships with. One of these companies is Duke Realty which was acquired by Prologis in October 2022.


Current positions open at Prologis include Marketing Operations Manager and Investment Analyst. 


American Tower




Traded as AMT on the NYSE, American Tower is another powerful force in the name of real estate investment trusts. 


Started in 1995 and currently based in Boston, American Tower has roughly $69 billion in total assets and holds over 300,000 properties mostly in communications. American Tower specializes in broadcast communication properties around the world and is by far the largest REIT in the space.


American Tower is actively acquiring other companies to add to its portfolio. The company acquired Telxius in 2021 and is expanding its customer base each year, posting above-average growth metrics for the full-year 2021. 


American Tower has plenty of positions open in many of its offices located in North America and international countries. Some of the top job opportunities at American Tower include Project Manager, Business Analyst, and Sales Account Manager.


Final thoughts


Working for a real estate investment trust can be a great career path for new college grads and those looking to break into the real estate industry. You’ll likely need to work your way up and get started with an entry-level position in the field before you land high-paying jobs in upper management.


The best paying jobs in real estate investment trusts are Asset Manager, Property Manager, and other Analyst positions. Most REIT companies will want to see a Bachelor’s Degree in business, real estate, or other related fields while upper management and executive positions will most likely want you to have an MBA.

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