As one of the safest and highest quality sectors that functions as a wealth preservation and compounding agent, real estate typically constitutes a significant proportion of a discerning investor’s net worth. Consider that by the end of 2024, the real estate market in the US will be worth a whopping $119.80 trillion! Given the amount of cash sloshing around, it makes sense to carve out a career in real estate, and even better if that career path takes one into the wonderfully convoluted world of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).  

What is a REIT?

A REIT is a company that owns income-producing real estate assets. Like a mutual fund, REITs list their units on the stock exchange, allowing investors to gain exposure to high-quality real estate assets. A REIT generates income by leasing the property it owns. This income is then funneled to its shareholders in the form of a dividend.

Do note that Mortgage Real Estate Investment Trusts (mREITs) earn income not by renting the property that they own but by financing it. Such REITs then channel the interest income from their financing activities to their unit holders. 

Private REITs and non-listed public REITs do not list their units on the stock exchange. While private REITs are exempt from the SEC’s reporting requirements, non-listed public REITs are not.

10 Best Career Opportunities in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

With the refresher course over, let’s now explore some of the highest-paying jobs in the REITs sector:

1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

The CEO is one of the most coveted job posts universally, and the apex post at a REIT is no different. This role offers a hefty pay package of between $500,000 and $1 million annually, bolstered by the occasional equity awards or bonuses.

Of course, with big bucks comes big responsibilities. The CEO is responsible for establishing and navigating the REIT’s strategic direction and setting company-wide goals while inspiring others to achieve them. Consequently, this post requires extensive industry experience, usually 20 years or more.

2. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The CFO is the second-highest paying job at a REIT. The post can entail an annual salary of between $250,000 and $500,000 and various bonuses or equity grants. 

The CFO is one of the most critical jobs at a Real Estate Investment Trust, with responsibilities ranging from managing the company's day-to-day finances to optimizing its financial resources for future growth by analyzing the available financial data to identify emerging trends, threats, and opportunities. This post requires a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and extensive industry experience.

3. REIT Analyst

An analyst working at a REIT can easily earn between $80,000 and $112,000 annually, depending on the job holder’s expertise and industry experience.

A REIT analyst scrutinizes the real estate market to identify lucrative opportunities and develops strategies to exploit them effectively. The REIT’s acquisition team then decides whether to exploit the opportunities the analyst identified or continue looking for greener pastures. This post requires a bachelor's degree in either finance or real estate. 

4. Property Developer

As the literal life force of a REIT, property developers play a pivotal role in establishing income-generating real estate assets. These agents can earn an annual salary that ranges between $50,000 and $70,000.

Property developers liaise with architects and engineers and monitor the overall construction of properties per a REIT’s strategic objectives. Job holders usually need an MBA degree and prior industry experience to qualify for this role.

5. Finance Manager

As the CFO’s point-man, the finance manager oversees the nitty-gritty of a REIT’s everyday operations, with an annual salary that ranges between $115,000 and $150,000.

Finance managers oversee budgeting and financial projections. They also liaise with accountants to ensure that a REIT meets its reporting requirements accurately. Job holders need a degree in finance to qualify for this post.

6. Property Manager

A property manager working for a REIT can easily earn an annual salary of between $90,000 and $130,000

The manager oversees the upkeep and maintenance of real estate assets. Although this job requires no formal education experience, an undergraduate degree is generally preferred.

7. Investment Analysts

As one of the most highly paid professionals in the industry, investment analysts can earn an annual salary of between $55,000 and $81,000.

Investment analysts liaise with a REIT’s financial analysts and acquisition specialists to evaluate the bottom-line profitability of various investment opportunities. Their approval is generally considered one of the qualifying requirements for initiating a new project. This job usually requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration or finance.

8. Site Acquisition Specialists

Site Acquisition Specialists offer a gamut of services to REITs, ensuring a high payout. These professionals can earn between $60,000 and $84,000 annually.

These specialists handle all of the intricate requirements for buying up properties, including determining building code compliance and legal and contractual work. This specialized role requires extensive prior industry experience and a firm grasp of the industry’s trends and practices. 

9. Attorney

Attorneys are in high demand in the REIT sector, earning anywhere between $140,000 and $182,000 annually. Attorneys on a retainer can usually expect a stable, long-term relationship with a REIT.

Attorneys advise a REIT not only on compliance with property rules and regulations but also on the SEC’s reporting requirements. They also handle court cases and draw up purchase and leasing contracts. 

10. Marketing Head

With annual salaries ranging between $200,000 and $262,000, the head of marketing strategy is one of the most pivotal jobs at a REIT.

Marketing heads design and execute ad campaigns that align with a REIT’s overall goals. They play a pivotal role in attracting new clients while strengthening relationships with existing customers. Generally, a marketing head post will require a bachelor’s degree in marketing or public relations and extensive industry experience.    


Real Estate Investment Trusts are an attractive career avenue for individuals open to a competitive environment and hands-on interaction with a lot of people. This career path offers sizable growth opportunities in an industry that is not expected to become obsolete anytime soon.