Commercial Real Estate Designations

How do I get a Commercial Real Estate Designation?

Commercial investors and corporations will only work with qualified commercial real estate brokers. Period. There’s too much at risk to trust an inexperienced agent who may or may not know how to help them choose a property that’s the right match for their investment strategy,or cause them to lose the deal because of poor negotiation skills, miscalculations, etc.  For this reason, many will only use a known Commercial Broker. Unfortunateley, with Commercial Real Estate, there isn’t any type of certifications or special licenses that qualifies you to handle Commercial transactions. You can go to college and get a degree in Real Estate or Finance, which may prepare you to an extent. For most people who dive into real estate, this is not an option.

So as a brand new Commercial or Resimercial® agent who handles both Commercial & Residential deals, how do you communicate to the world that you are a professional, trained and qualified to handle a Commercial investment transaction?

How do you ensure you’re equipped to successfully carry out a transaction when it lands on your plate?


Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

Commercial Real Estate Designations:

Although a professional designation is not required to handle Commercial Real Estate transactions, if you’re going to operate in this space —  independent of a nationally recognized  Commercial Real Estate Brokerage, like Cushman and Wakefield, Marcus & Millichap, Sperry Van Ness, etc.– you need the strength of a professional real estate designation to signify that you’ve gone the extra mile to learn the trade, and are a trustworthy choice for an investor or business owner to give their business to.

A professional designation helps you separate yourself from the competition. It is a confidence builder for yourself, as well as a confidence builder for the investors and business owners you will serve.

Where Can I find a Commercial Real Estate Designation?

Professional associations such as The National Commercial Real Estate Association, a national training and coaching company for Residential agents and brokers seeking certification in Commercial Real Estate, as well as CCIM and SIOR offer designations to convey that an  agent has gained the knowledge and/or experience to handle the transaction effectively.

 Professional Designations In Commercial Real Estate

Four of the strongest designations for commercial real estate agents are:

  • CCIM
  • SIOR


These designations indicate that you are a professional with property training, knowledge and experience.

The CREIPS designation stands for Certified Real Estate Investment Planning Specialist. Offered by the National Commercial Real Estate Association, it signifies that the agent is uniquely qualified to help a Commercial Investor plan their investment strategy and achieve their investment goals. It accompanies the NCREA Designation, which stands for  National Commercial Real Estate Advisor and is also offered by The National Commercial Real Estate Association.

This designation signifies that an agent has successfully completed the financial and investment  analysis training and has developed a well-rounded understanding of how to handle Commercial Investment transactions from both the buyer and sales side. CREIPS and NCREA designations are popular among Agents and Brokers who service both the Residential and Commercial side of a customer’s business. Based on real world education, taught by the Top 1% Agent in the U.S. and Top 3 Commercial Real Estate Broker in Hawaii/California,  these designations are designed to:

  • engage the customer
  • promote credibility
  • help agents minimize risks and liability
  • become a qualified commercial listing agent
  • service the transaction
  • and build an effective business.

CCIM designation stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member. The CCIM designation signifies that an agent has successfully completed advanced courses in market and financial analysis, and has demonstrated significant experience in the commercial real estate industry. The CCIM designation is the oldest designation in Commercial Real Estate, and takes years to earn.

The other major designation, the SIOR designation, which stands for Society of Industrial and Office Realtors is for agents who specialize in office and/or industrial markets or sales management. The designation is designed specifically for top producing agents who close more than 30 transactions per year, and meets SIOR’s requirements.

Where  Do I Start?

Determining which designation is right for you, depends on what your goals are. If you are new to the industry, and are anxious to get started building Commercial Investment business right away, then you may find The NCREA or CREIPS designation is best for you. The courses required to obtain to designation are offered in 4 day workshop formats. To obtain the designation, an agent is required to take a 1 day training course, followed by a 3 day course. If you have more time on your hands and want university type programming, the CCIM may be right for you. To obtain the designation takes on average between 1 – 3 years, depending on your schedule and level of commitment to finish the training.  The CCIM focuses more on the financials, whereas the NCREA and CREIPS designations focuses on the financials and terminology as well as the relational element of interacting and winning over the investor.

In addition to the time commitment, and course focus, the other main difference between the CCIM and NCREA/CREIPS designation is the cost.  The NCREA/CREIPS ranges between $1,049 – $1,500.00, whereas CCIM ranges between $7,495 – $8,495. Both are great designations for a Commercial Real Estate agent to earn.

Depending on the agent’s goals, some NCREA/CREIPS designation holders also seek the CCIM designation.  Either way, you can’t lose. It’s just a matter of what your priorities are, and what level of speed you want to start working Commercial.


To get started on The NCREA /CREIPS Designation, click here to begin the process by registering  for a 1 Day Course.

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