What is the CCIM Designation?
Who Can Earn the CCIM Designation?
Over 20,000 real estate professionals have the CCIM designation, with another 8,000 actively pursuing the certification, according to the CCIM Institute . Anyone involved in commercial and investment real estate can complete the coursework and apply to take the CCIM exam.
The institute has awarded the CCIM designation to real estate brokers, property appraisers, asset and portfolio managers, lenders, attorneys, developers, leasing agents, institutional investors, and corporate real estate executives.
Investors and other real estate professionals who focus on smaller properties may not gain much from the CCIM designation. However, those hoping to break into the commercial space may find the designation valuable; it signifies expertise and lends credibility, especially for brokers and lenders.
Statistics published on the CCIM Institute website show that 67% of CCIM designees  are either owners, brokers, partners, presidents, or vice presidents of their organizations.
How to Earn the CCIM Designation
There are several membership levels with varying requirements for each. However, all CCIM designees must complete the educational requirements, pass the examination, submit a portfolio detailing their commercial real estate experience, and pay annual dues.
The CCIM educational component includes four commercial real estate subject areas:
- Financial analysis
- Investment analysis
- Decision analysis
- Market analysis
Some membership levels also require additional coursework in ethics and negotiation plus elective subjects.
Candidates can choose to complete the coursework in person at any of the scheduled sessions that take place in different international cities each year. The classroom education generally takes between three and five days with classes scheduled from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM each day.
Classes are also available online, either in an instructor-led format or self-paced independent study. Upcoming classes and corresponding portfolio deadlines are available on the CCIM education overview page .
Once candidates complete the coursework, they must pass the CCIM exam with a score of 70% or higher. The exam typically takes about six hours to complete.
All membership levels except for the Fast-Track membership require a Portfolio of Qualifying Experience to prove their professional background in commercial real estate. The portfolio must demonstrate at least 10 separate qualifying activities worth at least $5 million or 20 different activities with no dollar threshold. Detailed records for each activity must be provided, including copies of settlement statements, commission checks, and an activity data form.
The portfolio must demonstrate at least five years of full-time commercial real estate experience and include a resume listing the candidate’s job title and responsibilities. Candidates also need to secure a letter of recommendation from a current CCIM member.
The CCIM Institute states that most candidates complete the educational and portfolio requirements within one to three years. Based on current prices on the organization’s site, earning a CCIM designation costs between $7,500 and $9,000. Annual membership dues are roughly $600.
Pros and Cons of the CCIM Designation
Although the CCIM Institute says that 95% of CCIM members believe the CCIM designation advances their career, the designation may not be right for everyone in commercial real estate. Before pursuing the CCIM designation, commercial real estate professionals should consider the pros and cons, namely:
Pros of the CCIM Designation
- There are relatively few CCIM designees. By earning the credential, real estate professionals join an elite group in the commercial real estate space.
- Local CCIM meetings are excellent opportunities to network with other deal-makers and investors in the area.
- The CCIM designation gives professionals access to the institute’s online resources and tools, such as the net present value and internal rate of return calculators and the ArcGIS mapping tool.
Cons of the CCIM Designation
- The credentialing process is time-consuming and expensive.
- CCIM designees must maintain membership in the CCIM Institute, which means annual dues of $600 or more.
Alternatives to the CCIM Designation
Real estate professionals who don’t want to pursue the CCIM designation have other options for professional associations and certifications:
- SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors)
- Harvard Business School Real Estate Management Program
- NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association)
- ^ CCIM Institute. (n.d.) About CCIM Institute. Retrieved from https://www.ccim.com/about-ccim/?gmSsoPc=1%27
- ^ CCIM Institute. (n.d.) CCIM Institute Facts. Retrieved from https://www.ccim.com/sites/default/files/ccim-facts-2014%20v5_0.pdf
- ^ CCIM Institute. (n.d.). Education Overview. Retrieved from https://www.ccim.com/education/