In commercial real estate, a CCIM designation is one of the top ways to create some distance between you and your competitors.

Designees are recognized as leading experts in commercial real estate, across a number of different industry roles.

To earn a designation, however, it’s required that candidates meet specific educational components first.

Below, we cover CCIM’s required courses and electives in great depth (including course descriptions and credit counts), to help you better understand the curriculum and prepare yourself as a candidate.

Your CCIM Designation: Available Courses Explained

CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member.

According to CCIM’s website:

“The CCIM label pin denotes that the wearer has completed advanced coursework in financial and market analysis, and demonstrated extensive experience in the commercial real estate industry.”

To earn a designation, candidates must:

  • Complete 4 required CCIM courses, an ethics course, negotiation training, and two elective credits.
  • Submit a portfolio of activities, transactions, projects, and work products to prove that they meet a certain threshold of past experience.
  • Pass the CCIM comprehensive full-day exam.

The courses are offered as part of the CCIM Institute, and are taught by actively practicing industry experts.

Actively practicing members are not just brokers, either. Current designees include:

  • Brokers
  • Leasing professionals
  • Investment managers
  • Asset managers
  • Appraisers
  • Developers
  • Property managers
  • Institutional investors
  • Commercial lenders
  • Portfolio managers
  • Attorneys
  • Bankers

All of these professionals and more use the CCIM designation as a way to advance their careers.

According to the Institute itself, 95% of CCIM members said the CCIM designation is important to their careers.

CCIM designation generally takes one to three years for a person to complete, though some people have completed the certification process in as little as six months.

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Required CCIM Courses for Designation

In order to obtain CCIM designation, candidates must complete the following core courses:

CI 101 | Financial Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate

This course is a pre-requisite to CI 103 and CI 104.

It teaches students key financial concepts such as IRR, Net Present Value, Cap Rates, Capital Accumulation, and the Annual Growth Rate of Capital.

These concepts are especially helpful to brokers, investors and others looking to compare various investment opportunities.

CI 102 | Market Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate

This course teaches students how to use big data, predictive analytics, and other advanced tools to asses market demand for multifamily, retail, office and industrial property.

The course also includes an overview for those interested in learning how to assess the political, legal, locational, and financial risks associated with a specific deal.

CI 103 | User Decision Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate

Those who lack formal CRE training often fail to understand the requirements and priorities of all sides in a transaction.

CI 103 has students look at real estate problems from the tenant’s perspective.

This course teaches how to perform a comparative lease analysis, how to structure a sale-leaseback, and how to assist clients with deciding whether they should lease or purchase real estate.

Understanding this perspective is beneficial even for CRE professionals who work exclusively as owner’s reps.

CI 104 | Investment Analysis for Commercial Real Estate

There are many investment-related decisions associated with a single real estate deal, such as:

  1. How to acquire the property.
  2. Whether to put debt on the property (including how much and what kind).
  3. Whether to invest in property improvements.
  4. Whether to hold or sell the property (and when).

CI 104 looks at financial considerations throughout the entire life cycle of an investment.

Students learn how to utilize sensitivity analyses to identify potential investment risks, and how to mitigate those risks to achieve the owner’s investment goals.

Negotiations Training

This course teaches students how to use the CCIM Interest-based Negotiations Model, a tried-and-true model that’s been customized and refined specifically for those in the commercial real estate industry.

This is an interactive course that can be taken either online or in person. It is a pre-requisite to CI 103 and CI 104.

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Online Ethics Course

This ethics course is required for anyone pursuing the CCIM designation but is free to CCIM Institute members.

The course provides information about the CCIM Code and CCIM Institute Standards of Practice.

CCIM Elective Courses

In addition to the core courses listed above, the CCIM designation also requires CRE professionals to obtain 2.0 elective credits as part of the accreditation process.

Electives range from 0.25 credits to 1.0 credits each.

In other words, this requirement can be fulfilled with as few as two classes (1.0 credit each) or as many as eight (0.25 credits each).

Below is an overview of the electives offered by the CCIM Institute:

Foundations for Success in Commercial Real Estate (1.0 credit)

This course uses real world case studies to teach students how to be successful in the commercial real estate industry, regardless of their entry point (broker, analyst, appraiser, lender, etc.).

This course is offered as a two-day course of five-session online course.

Global CRE Investment Bootcamp (1.0 credit)

With global investment pouring into U.S. commercial real estate, it’s more important than ever for providers to learn how to qualify inbound investment prospects, understand how to utilize the EB-5 program, assess current fluctuations and more.

This CCIM course is a two-day workshop that teaches CRE professionals all they need to know about working with global investors.

Introduction to Development Workshop (1.0 credit)

Real estate development is its own beast, one worthy of its own detailed instruction for professionals who want to learn even just the basics.

This 2.5-day workshop provides a glimpse into the seven stages of real estate development and eight inter-related development task groups.

This course is a must for anyone considering real estate development, or for those who service CRE developers such as lenders, appraisers and general contractors.

Real Estate Financial Analysis Using Excel (1.0 credit)

Although several new software programs exist to assist with real estate financial modeling, most CRE professionals still rely on Microsoft Excel to some degree.

This course teaches students how to create accurate, detailed proformas using Excel.

Advanced Market Analysis (0.5 credit)

This course introduces students to tools like STDB that can be used to identify the best locations for specific asset classes based on market supply and demand—at both the market and sub-market levels.

This CCIM course is particularly valuable for brokers who want to be able to identify areas with the greatest appreciation and cash flow potential.

Financial Analysis Tools for Commercial Real Estate (0.5 credit)

This CCIM course teaches students how to use an array of tools to fine-tune their financial analyses.

By the end of the course, participants will know how to effectively and efficiently provide investment scenarios for their clients.

Residential Real Estate Financial Analysis (0.5 credit)

Most CCIM courses are designed with the commercial real estate professional in mind. However, this course is geared toward residential agents who want to expend their horizons by selling small multifamily and commercial properties.

Participants learn how to use the CCIM Cash Flow Model and learn concepts such as the impact of loan to value (LTV) on equity yield.

Compelling Presentations for Commercial Real Estate (0.5 credit)

Brokers and other CRE professionals are often tasked with creating presentations in their efforts to source and land new deals.

This CCIM course is highly valuable for anyone who needs to brush up on their presentation and communication abilities. This course utilizes role play scenarios to create lifelike scenarios that are commonly encountered in the real world.

1031 Tax Deferred Exchange (0.25 credit)

One of the biggest draws to investing in rental property is the tax advantages associated with doing so.

For example, investors can sell a property and defer paying capital gains tax by rolling the proceeds into a like-kind investment through what’s known as a 1031 Exchange.

This course teaches students the nuances of why, how, and when to utilize a 1031 Exchange, including the stringent requirements that must be followed to qualify.

Capitalizing on Opportunity Zones and Section 199A (0.25 credit)

The new Opportunity Zone program creates an incentive for investors willing to buy commercial real estate in certain federally-designated areas.

However, even long-time CRE professionals don’t understand how to effectively utilize this program.

This CCIM Course provides an overview of the OZ program, and specifically, the new Section 199A deduction for pass-through entities and those who are self-employed – the latter of which can have major implications on CRE professionals’ after-tax income.

Commercial Loan Underwriting (0.25 credit)

CRE loan regulations have become more stringent over the past decade.

This course utilizes a case study format to teach lenders and investors facing underwriting decisions how to remove uncertainty, quantify risk, and determine a project’s viability.

Urban Planning: Affordable Housing (0.25 credit)

Affordable housing has become a hot button issue, with an array of inclusionary housing policies – even rent control – being proposed at municipal and state levels.

This course teaches CRE professionals about the various urban planning initiatives being considered related to affordable housing, as well as how these policies can impact investment decisions.

This course looks at affordable housing trends, how to finance affordable housing, and the broader business and social implications of affordable housing.

This overview provides a sampling of the CCIM courses available to real estate professionals.

There are dozens of additional courses, and specific tracks that can be pursued based upon a person’s specific interest.

A full list of CCIM courses can be found here.

Prices for CCIM Courses

Courses range in price, with the average 0.25 credit course costing about $150-200 and the average 1.0 credit course costing anywhere from $300 to $900+.

Pricing depends on the format and structure of the class (i.e. online or in-person) and can vary depending on when/where the course is being offered.

Generally speaking, those interested in pursuing the full CCIM designation should budget about $10,000 to complete all necessary coursework.

Members-only tuition discounts and scholarships are often available.

CCIM courses are not limited to those interested in pursuing the full CCIM designation, either.

Courses can be taken on an ad-hoc basis for any CRE professional looking to brush up on a specific topic area.

Courses are offered in many formats, ranging from classroom based to self-paced online courses. The CCIM Institute also offers blended learning options (i.e., partially online and partially on-site) as well as online instructor-led courses.

Interested in learning more about CCIM Courses?

Visit the CCIM Institute’s website today.

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