Obtain Your CCIM Designation to Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd

A CCIM designation sets you apart from other commercial real estate professionals, establishes you as an expert in the field of commercial investment real estate and helps you achieve success in your chosen field. If you have been thinking of earning your Certified Commercial Investment Member designation but wanted to dig a little deeper before taking the time to pursue your CCIM designation, this is a good place to start. Read on as we will provide you with comprehensive look at this highly-regarded designation for commercial real estate professionals.

About CCIM

The CCIM Institute, headquartered in Chicago and an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®, awards the CCIM designation to individuals who complete a process based both on commercial and investment real estate theory and practice. We’ll review this process in a moment. But first, here’s a quick history lesson on Certified Commercial Investment Member designation.

Initially termed the CPE (Certified Property Exchanger) designation and established by the California Association of REALTORS®, the designation began to take shape in 1954. After becoming affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS® in 1967, the designation received the CCIM name two years later in 1969. Then in 1991, NAR assigned institute status to the Commercial Investment Real Estate Council. Today, the CCIM Institute is a global organization serving more than 15,000 members.

Obtaining Your CCIM Designation

REALTORS® and real estate agents are not the only individuals who obtain this professional designation. Some other professions who pursue and are granted a CCIM designation include appraisers, property managers, developers, commercial lenders, attorneys, bankers, asset managers and others interested in increasing their commercial investment real estate knowledge and business. No matter which profession these individuals come from, they must all go through a time-consuming process to achieve this designation.

However, before having the opportunity to earn your credentials as a CCIM, an individual must first become a candidate by becoming an Institute Member. There are also two other membership levels (Associate and Academic) for those individuals who wish to become part of the CCIM Institute without earning their CCIM designation. Once you achieve Institute Membership status, you will then begin the 3-step process toward achieving a Certified Commercial Investment Member designation.

The three parts of the CCIM designation process include education, experience and examination. Candidates must first complete coursework revolving around commercial investment real estate topics such as financial analysis, investment analysis, market analysis and decision analysis. There is also a professional ethics coursework requirement along with other required courses for some candidates.

Next, as CCIM designation candidate, you must show real-world experience in their profession. And it is not just experience the Institute is looking for, you must also show quality, successful, professional experience. You will need to provide transaction paperwork (i.e. settlement statements), a letter of recommendation, summaries of involvement in commercial real estate transactions, and much more. While daunting and time consuming, this portfolio requirement ensures that only the best of the best achieve a CCIM designation.

Finally, candidates must pass a comprehensive examination. This exam tests your knowledge on the CI 101 – 104 coursework. This is a full-day exam and candidates can also prepare ahead of time by taking a two-day review of course concepts.

Before we wrap up this section on obtaining a CCIM designation, we must also mention that there are six types of memberships – Institute Membership, Canada, International, U.S. Government Discount, Fast Track and University Fast Track. Depending on the membership level, a candidate may be able to avoid some of the requirements mentioned above. Before beginning the process, review the official CCIM Institute website to see which category you fall under.

The Value of CCIM Designation

The one question most professionals in the commercial real estate industry want answered is, “Why should I go through the trouble and the cost to obtain a Certified Commercial Investment Member designation?” The value of this designation goes way beyond another title next to your name on a business card. When you obtain your CCIM designation, you are receiving the knowledge needed to take your commercial investment real estate business to a new level.

This designation will not only open you up to a world class education, but it will also instantly connect you to 15,000+ other members all over the world. The CCIM institute makes it very easy to find and connect with other CCIMs, who regularly make deals and exchange knowledge on a private member only email group. Even outside of the CCIM network, the designation also carries a lot of weight. Other commercial real estate professionals will have the confidence to refer business to you and to complete commercial transactions with you.

For us it is easy to see why one should pursue a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation. The value of this designation far outweighs the time and monetary cost involved with obtaining it. If you are a commercial real estate professional or someone who works in a related industry, then do yourself a favor and begin your pursuit of a CCIM designation today.

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