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Top 10 Commercial Real Estate Broker Certifications

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 15 min read

Certifications are important for commercial real estate brokers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and experience in the field. Employers want to know that their potential employees have the necessary skills and knowledge in order to successfully perform their duties. Certifications also provide proof of education and training, which can be beneficial when applying for jobs or promotions. Additionally, certifications can give brokers an edge over competitors by demonstrating a higher level of professionalism and credibility. By having certifications, brokers can show employers that they are committed to their profession and are willing to invest time and money into advancing their careers.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Commercial Real Estate Brokers and explain how they can benefit a commercial real estate broker's career.

What are Commercial Real Estate Broker Certifications?

Commercial real estate broker certification is a type of professional certification that shows prospective employers and clients that an individual has the necessary knowledge, experience, and skills to work as a commercial real estate broker. The certification program typically requires individuals to pass an exam and complete a certain number of hours in continuing education courses related to the field of commercial real estate.

Having a commercial real estate broker certification can help individuals stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs in the field, as it proves they have the qualifications and credentials needed to be successful in this area. Additionally, having this type of certification may also provide access to exclusive resources or networking opportunities that could lead to more job opportunities or better deals with clients. Lastly, having a commercial real estate broker certification can help demonstrate commitment and dedication to the field, which may lead to increased trust from potential employers or clients.

Pro Tip: Make sure you are up-to-date on the latest commercial real estate broker certification requirements before diving into the job market. Knowing what certifications are required and keeping them current will ensure that you have access to the best possible opportunities in this field.

Related: What does a Commercial Real Estate Broker do?

Top 10 Commercial Real Estate Broker Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Commercial Real Estate Brokers today.

1. Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)

Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) is a professional designation awarded by the CCIM Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors. The CCIM designation is recognized as the global standard for commercial and investment real estate expertise. It is held by more than 14,000 professionals in over 30 countries.

The CCIM program consists of four core courses and a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as financial analysis, market analysis, user decision analysis and investment analysis. To earn the CCIM designation, candidates must complete all four core courses and pass the comprehensive exam. Candidates are also required to have three years of full-time experience in commercial real estate or related fields.

It typically takes between one to two years to complete the CCIM program depending on how quickly you can complete the coursework and pass the exam. The cost of obtaining a CCIM designation varies depending on where you take your courses and if you are a member of NAR or not. Generally speaking, it will cost around $2,000 - $3,000 to obtain your CCIM designation.

2. Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB)

A Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) is a professional designation awarded by the Real Estate Business Institute (REBI). The CRB is designed to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated advanced knowledge and experience in managing real estate brokerage operations.

The CRB program consists of three courses: Principles of Real Estate Management, Managing the Brokerage Business, and Advanced Strategies for Brokerage Management. Each course is offered online and must be completed within three months. Upon completion of all three courses, participants must pass a comprehensive exam to earn their CRB designation.

The cost of the program varies depending on the package chosen by the participant. The most popular package includes all three courses, exam fees, and access to REBI's online library for one year. This package costs $1,295 USD.

In order to qualify for the CRB program, applicants must have at least five years of experience in real estate management or brokerage operations and must be currently employed in such a role. Additionally, applicants must submit proof that they are members in good standing with their local real estate board or association.

3. Certified Real Estate Specialist (CRES)

Certified Real Estate Specialist (CRES) is a professional designation awarded by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). It is designed to recognize real estate professionals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in their field. The CRES designation is earned through a combination of education, experience, and commitment to ethical practices.

In order to obtain the CRES designation, applicants must meet certain criteria set forth by NAR. This includes completing at least two years of active real estate practice, having at least 30 hours of approved continuing education courses related to real estate within the last three years, and passing an examination administered by NAR.

The cost for obtaining the CRES designation varies depending on the state in which you are seeking certification. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $200-$400 USD.

Once all requirements have been met and the examination has been passed, applicants will receive their official CRES designation in approximately four to six weeks.

4. Accredited Commercial Professional (ACP)

Accredited Commercial Professional (ACP) is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the commercial real estate industry. It is awarded by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and it is designed to demonstrate an individual's commitment to continuing education and dedication to providing the highest quality service to their clients.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete the ACP program, depending on how quickly you are able to complete the required coursework and pass the necessary exams. The program consists of three parts:

1. Core Courses: These courses provide an introduction to commercial real estate topics such as finance, leasing, and market analysis.

2. Elective Courses: These courses provide more in-depth knowledge on various aspects of commercial real estate, such as investment analysis and asset management.

3. Exam: Once all coursework has been completed, candidates must pass an exam administered by NAR in order to receive their ACP designation.

The cost of obtaining the ACP designation varies depending on which courses you take and how many credits you need for your particular state’s licensing requirements. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $500-$2,500 USD for all coursework and exam fees combined.

5. Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR)

The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) is an international professional organization for commercial real estate brokers and agents. SIOR provides its members with access to a network of experienced professionals, industry resources, and educational opportunities. The organization has more than 3,000 members in over 630 cities in 35 countries around the world.

To become a member of SIOR, you must meet certain criteria including having at least five years of full-time experience as a commercial real estate broker or agent, completing at least three transactions per year for the past three years, and obtaining letters of recommendation from two current SIOR members. It usually takes about six months to complete the application process.

The cost to join SIOR varies depending on your location and membership type. In the United States, it typically costs between $1,500 - $2,500 per year for individual membership. Corporate membership fees are higher. All members are also required to pay annual dues which vary by region but typically range from $400 - $600 per year.

6. Certified Property Manager (CPM)

Certified Property Manager (CPM) is a professional designation awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). It is one of the most respected and sought-after credentials in the real estate management industry. The CPM certification is designed for experienced property managers who have demonstrated excellence in their field. To become a CPM, candidates must demonstrate a high level of knowledge, experience, and professionalism in all aspects of property management.

The process to become a Certified Property Manager typically takes around two years. Candidates must first complete IREM’s pre-qualifying courses which include topics such as financial analysis, legal issues, tenant relations, and marketing. After completing the pre-qualifying courses, candidates must then pass an exam that covers various topics related to property management. Finally, candidates must submit a portfolio of their professional work experience to be reviewed by IREM’s board of directors.

The cost to obtain the CPM certification varies depending on your location and whether or not you are already an IREM member. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $650-$2,000 USD depending on your needs and qualifications.

7. Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE)

Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE) is a certification program offered by the Real Estate Negotiation Institute (RENI), a leading provider of real estate negotiation education and resources. The RENE certification provides real estate professionals with an in-depth understanding of the negotiation process, including how to effectively negotiate with buyers, sellers, lenders, and other parties involved in real estate transactions.

The RENE certification program consists of two components: an online course and a live exam. The online course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and covers topics such as effective communication techniques, negotiation strategies, and legal considerations. The live exam is administered by a qualified RENI instructor and lasts up to four hours. It tests the candidate's knowledge of the material covered in the online course as well as their ability to apply it in real-world situations.

To become certified as a Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE), individuals must successfully complete both components of the program. The cost for the RENE certification program varies depending on location but typically ranges from $500-$1,000 USD.

8. Real Estate Cyberspace Specialist (RECS)

Real Estate Cyberspace Specialist (RECS) is a designation that recognizes real estate professionals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in the use of technology and the Internet to facilitate real estate transactions. To earn this designation, a real estate professional must complete an online course and pass an exam.

The online course consists of four modules: Introduction to Real Estate Cyberspace, Technology for Real Estate Professionals, Online Marketing Strategies, and Legal Issues in Real Estate Cyberspace. Each module takes approximately three hours to complete. Upon successful completion of all four modules, the student will be eligible to take the RECS exam.

The RECS exam is administered by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as technology trends in real estate, ethical considerations for using technology in real estate transactions, and legal issues related to cyberspace use in real estate. The cost for taking the exam is $99 USD.

Upon passing the RECS exam with a score of 70% or higher, the student will receive their official RECS designation certificate from NAR. This certificate can be used as proof of expertise in using technology and cyberspace tools for facilitating real estate transactions.

9. Counselor of Real Estate (CRE)

Counselor of Real Estate (CRE) is a professional designation awarded by the Counselors of Real Estate, a division of the National Association of Realtors. The CRE designation is an elite honor that recognizes expertise in real estate matters. It is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and experience in the field.

It typically takes three to five years to obtain the CRE designation, depending on one's educational background and experience. To become a CRE, applicants must complete an application process which includes submitting evidence of their qualifications and experience, participating in an interview with a panel of CREs, and passing an exam.

The cost for obtaining the CRE designation varies depending on the applicant's individual situation. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000 for all associated fees (application fee, exam fee, etc.).

10. National Association of Realtors Green Designation

The National Association of Realtors Green Designation is a professional certification program that provides real estate professionals with the knowledge and expertise to advise clients on green building and sustainable business practices. The program is designed to help Realtors better serve their clients by providing them with the tools and resources they need to identify, understand, and market properties with green features.

It takes approximately 18 hours of coursework to earn the designation, which includes online courses and an in-person workshop. The online courses cover topics such as green building principles, energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, resource conservation, and more. The in-person workshop focuses on marketing strategies for selling green homes.

To get the Green Designation, you must complete all 18 hours of coursework within two years of starting the program. You must also pass a final exam with a score of at least 75%. After passing the exam, you will receive your official certificate from NAR.

The cost of the program varies depending on whether you are a member or non-member of NAR. For members it costs $400; for non-members it costs $600.

Do You Really Need a Commercial Real Estate Broker Certificate?

Whether or not you need a commercial real estate broker certificate depends on your goals and the nature of the work you are doing. If you are just starting out in the industry, then obtaining a license may be beneficial, as it will give you an edge over other agents who do not have one. However, if you already have experience in the field and are looking to expand your career or specialize in a certain type of property, then a certificate may not be necessary.

In some cases, having a certificate can provide additional credibility and help open up more opportunities for advancement within the industry. It is also important to consider that there are different types of commercial real estate licenses available, depending on what type of work you plan to do. For example, some states require special certifications for those dealing with large-scale projects such as shopping malls or hotels.

At the end of the day, whether or not you need a commercial real estate broker license is really up to your personal goals and objectives. If it makes sense for your career path and will help you advance further in the industry, then it may be worth it to obtain one. Otherwise, spending time and money on obtaining a certificate might not be necessary.

Related: Commercial Real Estate Broker Resume Examples

FAQs About Commercial Real Estate Broker Certifications

1. What types of certifications are available for commercial real estate brokers?

Answer: The two most common certifications for commercial real estate brokers are the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR).

2. How do I become a certified commercial real estate broker?

Answer: To become a certified commercial real estate broker, you must complete an educational program and pass an exam to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the industry. In addition, you must also have several years of experience in the field in order to qualify for certification.

3. What is the difference between CCIM and SIOR designations?

Answer: The CCIM designation focuses more on investment analysis, while the SIOR focuses more on office leasing, industrial transactions, and land brokerage.

4. What type of continuing education is required to maintain certification?

Answer: To maintain certification, commercial real estate brokers must complete ongoing education requirements such as attending seminars, webinars, or conferences; reading professional literature; or taking online classes related to their profession.

5. Are there any advantages to becoming a certified commercial real estate broker?

Answer: Yes! Being certified can help you stand out from other agents in the industry by demonstrating your expertise and professionalism. It can also open up career opportunities with larger firms or higher salaries due to increased marketability.

Editorial staff

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Brenna Goyette

Expert Verified

Brenna is a certified professional resume writer, career expert, and the content manager of the ResumeCat team. She has a background in corporate recruiting and human resources and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. Brenna has experience in recruiting for tech, finance, and marketing roles and has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs. She creates expert resources to help job seekers write the best resumes and cover letters, land the job, and succeed in the workplace.

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