Students Unlock Opportunities in the Apartment Industry

Teresina Palumbo, assistant property manager with The Dolben Company

For Teresina Palumbo, the hours were too much.

She found herself working three retail jobs while earning a business degree at the University of Baltimore. Her ability to manage her time so that she did her best at both school and work became overwhelming.

In January of her senior year, Teresina found another solution: She became a leasing consultant, helping prospective apartment residents find new homes. “I loved the consistency and knew the schedule, and I was able to maintain it,” she said.

After graduation, Teresina launched a career in the burgeoning apartment industry, which contributes nearly $200 billion to the national economy. There are about 20 million apartment homes nationwide, supporting 469,000 jobs (and counting) managing these properties, according to research by the National Multifamily Housing Council, the National Apartment Association, and George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.

For students looking to make ends meet in school, or for soon-to-be graduates searching for a career path, residential property management offers a promising option. The growing industry features opportunities for quick advancement, a team environment, and benefits such as reduced rent and tuition assistance.

Now Teresina is an assistant property manager with The Dolben Company in Odenton, Maryland. “I am making a difference, helping people find their homes,” she said. She excelled in Dolben’s management trainee program and has already moved up to help oversee a larger property. “You advance quickly,” she said. “There are so many growth opportunities.”

There’s a wide range of positions available across the industry — including community managers, leasing consultants, and maintenance technicians. They open doors to careers for students, like Teresina, graduating from four-year colleges and for those, like William Morales-Merino, who have completed two-year programs.

While working in commercial maintenance, William earned his provisional Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) from Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. The National Apartment Association Education Institute partners with Montgomery College and other colleges and universities to create residential property management programs and connect graduates with industry jobs. That’s how William found his current position as a service technician with Gables Residential in Washington, D.C.

“Every day is different,” he said. “That’s one of the good things about the job. I fix A/C units, water heaters, floors, a hole in the wall. You learn every day.” He has even rescued a resident from a flooding dishwasher.

“It’s great hearing from the residents that they are thankful,” William said. “It makes you feel good.”

Teresina, too, is confident that she made the right move. “For me,” she said, “this was the best decision I could have made coming out of college.”

Interested in learning more about opportunities in residential property management? Visit the National Apartment Association Education Institute’s resource site,, featuring job listings, a career quiz, tips for launching your career, and more.