Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts

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Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts

Within the sphere of commercial real estate investment and management, real estate investment trusts (REITs) emerge as lucrative career pathways. REITs handle the ownership and operation of income-generating properties, facilitating significant real estate investment opportunities for individuals. As major property holders focused on shareholder returns, REITs need talented professionals across numerous roles. We will explore the best-paying jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts, key duties, and how to break into the competitive commercial real estate industry.

A diverse group of professionals engaged in a meeting, discussing ideas and making decisions at a conference table.

What are REITs?

REITs, which stands for real e­state investment trusts, function as companies that primarily deal with income-gene­rating real estate. These entities manage a diverse array of properties such as apartments, shopping malls, offices, hotels, storage­ units, cell towers, and more. To obtain REIT status, a firm must distribute­ at least 90% of its taxable income to share­holders annually in the form of dividends. This characteristic renders REITs particularly appealing to inve­stors.

As of 2022, the US REIT industry held over $3.5 trillion in gross real estate assets while trading on major stock exchanges. REITs offer the chance to earn steady dividend income from real estate along with long-term growth. And working for a REIT provides opportunities to advance your real estate career and earning potential.

Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts (Highest Paying):

REITs need a wide range of skilled professionals to select, acquire, develop, manage, lease, and service their diversified property portfolios. Here are some of the Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts:

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – The CEO oversees and establishes the strategic vision for the entire REIT. They make major capital decisions, pursue opportunities, and ensure shareholder value. Base salary often exceeds $500,000.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – As head of the finance department, the CFO tracks performance, directs capital planning, manages investor relations, and spearheads mergers & acquisitions. Salary typically over $300,000.

Chief Operations Officer (COO) – The COO manages all daily operations like property management, construction, renovations, compliance, and sustainability initiatives. Earnings are usually around $250,000.

Chief Investment Officer (CIO) – Responsible for the investment strategy, the CIO identifies acquisition opportunities and determines which properties fit the REIT’s portfolio. Six-figure salaries are common.

Vice President of Investments – Supports the CIO in finding potential property investments that align with the REIT’s goals. Commission-based role with total compensation of $150,000+ on average.

Portfolio Manager – Oversees a region of the REIT’s properties to optimize performance and address issues. Salaries range from $80,000-$120,000.

Property Manager – Manages daily operations like maintenance, budgeting, and leasing for an assigned property. Earns $50,000-$85,000 typically.

Investment Analyst – Researches markets and performs financial modeling to evaluate potential property acquisitions and dispositions. The average salary is around $65,000.

Asset Manager – Develops and implements strategic plans for a property portfolio to maximize return. Pays $70,000-$105,000 on average.

Development Manager – Oversees major REIT construction and redevelopment projects like malls, offices, or apartments. Salary can reach and exceed $150,000.

REITs provide some of commercial real estate’s most lucrative compensation given their direct accountability to shareholders and investors.

Breaking into REITs

Education: Earning a bachelor’s in real estate, finance, or related fields provides fundamental knowledge for assessing property values and markets. An MBA or master’s in real estate is preferred for executive roles.

Experience: Entry-level REIT careers start in analyst or associate tracks researching acquisitions or asset management. Having 2-3 years at a real estate consulting or investment firm is ideal preparation.

Skills: Excel modeling, financial analysis, valuation, capital markets, strategic planning, and communication abilities are vital. Portfolio and property management roles also require strong operational experience.

Certifications: Earning the CCIM designation for commercial investment experts or CPM for property management displays specialized expertise.

REITs seek financially savvy professionals with analytical, leadership, and real estate skills. Gaining initial experience at an investment bank, brokerage, appraisal firm or property management company can help qualify you for a REIT position. Understanding asset valuation and market trends is essential. REITs also highlight corporate responsibilities like sustainability, so interest in ESG initiatives is valued.

While competitive, REITs offer ambitious individuals the chance to manage institutional real estate assets and gain expertise across diverse property sectors. The work provides insight into intelligent property investing strategies.

Commercial Real Estate Career Paths

REIT roles allow professionals to advance through the ranks of executive leadership and acquire diversified real estate investment experience. Common career paths at REITs include:

  • Investment Analyst > Portfolio Manager > Asset Manager > AVP Investments
  • Financial Analyst > Asset Manager > Portfolio Manager > CIO
  • Property Manager > Regional Manager > VP Operations > COO
  • Project Manager > Development Manager > VP Construction > COO
  • Investment Associate > Senior Associate > VP Acquisitions > CIO
  • Market Researcher > Investment Analyst > Portfolio Manager > CIO
  • Sustainability Analyst > ESG Manager > Leader of Sustainability > COO

REITs provide a direct path into commercial real estate finance, investment, and operations. Young professionals gain invaluable experience managing large property portfolios and billion-dollar acquisitions. The merits of climbing the REIT ladder include industry clout, executive compensation, and advanced real estate investing expertise.

Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts FAQs:

Here are some frequently asked questions and their respective answers regarding pursuing a career in the Real Estate Investment Trust sector:

Question: What credentials do I need to get employed by a REIT?
Answer: An undergraduate degree coupled with one to three years of professional experience in fields such as finance, business, or real estate is needed. Holding professional accreditations like CCIM or CPM can enhance your chances.

Question: How could I secure employment at a REIT without any prior experience?
You might want to explore opportunities for internships, temporary roles, or assistant positions which may provide you with an entry point into the industry. Possessing academic backgrounds in areas like accounting, financial studies or real estate could make you eligible. Highlighting your enthusiasm towards property markets and investments would also prove beneficial.

Question: What types of REITs pay the most?
Retail REITs that own malls and shopping centers tend to be the largest and most profitable. Health care, cell towers, and data storage REITs also compensate well.

Question: Do REITs prefer to promote from within?
Answer: Yes, REITs often nurture talent by providing advancement opportunities to those who demonstrate success and align with company values. But external hires also occur.

Question: What is the career outlook for REIT jobs?
Answer: Favorable. As major property holders, REITs offer stable real estate careers. The industry continues to grow with over 225 publicly traded REITs in the US as of 2022.

Question: How can I advance my REIT career?
Answer: Pursue promotions by exemplifying your investment analysis, asset management, leadership, and operational skills. Earning an MBA also boosts qualifications for executive roles.


With over $3 trillion in real estate assets, REITs are a major gateway into lucrative commercial property investment management. Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts provides a range of well-compensated career opportunities in real estate finance, operations, investments, sustainability, and executive leadership. Though competitive to enter, REITs allow professionals to gain expertise across diverse property sectors while maximizing returns for shareholders. Through demonstrated success in analytical, strategic, and leadership competencies, REIT team members can advance to steer institutional real estate portfolios and achieve multimillion-dollar careers.


Amethyst Wytiu has had an amazing life full of colorful experiences. Throughout her career in various industries, Amethyst took advantage of this exposure to learn more of the world. From business development in the mining industry to writing, her professional path has been eclectic and enriching. Beyond her diverse talents and interests, Amethyst leads an active and health-conscious lifestyle. From swimming to yoga, pickleball to tennis, these activities are woven into her daily routine. Her dedication to staying active mirrors her approach to life: embracing challenges, pursuing excellence, and savoring every moment. Amethyst’s story serves as an inspiring reminder that one has to have a deep passion for learning, an openness to embrace diverse experiences, and an unwavering commitment to living life to the fullest. Her journey is what it means to be a global citizen with a boundless spirit.

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