Earning the Certified Commercial Investment Membership (CCIM) designation takes a lot of hard work and even more dedication. It’s a prestigious title that recognizes each member as an industry expert who’s proficient in both theory and practice. Now that I’ve earned my designation, it’s an honor to be Southpace’s 13th CCIM designee.
While earning your CCIM includes two hundred hours of case study-driven education, the process can be lengthy to say the least. These case studies are on a range of topics such as interest-based negotiation, financial analysis, market analysis, user decision analysis, investment analysis and ethics for commercial investment real estate.
You begin the process with taking four core classes. Though some of these are offered online, they’re typically one week classes that are offered around the country throughout the year. I had a combination of classroom and online class settings. Each class is Monday through Thursday from eight to five followed by a final exam that Friday. Once you’ve completed the core classes, it’s time for the online ethics class along with eight hours of electives. I chose to take an advanced negotiations class as well as a class on Financial Analysis using Excel. From start to finish it took about two and half years to complete the entire coursework.
After finishing the courses, you must assemble a portfolio and send it to the CCIM Institute’s Chicago headquarters. This is seen as a formal request to take the final exam. The portfolio must show that you’re actively involved in commercial real estate and demonstrate the depth of your commercial real estate experience.
My portfolio included three different sources of recommendations and proof I had met certain benchmarks. The benchmarks were based on number of transactions and total volume of transactions. For me, I gave them the basics on 10 transactions of $5 million or more. I’ve only been a broker for 3 years, but was able to apply my prior experience in a corporate real estate position with Books-A-Million. Once the portfolio was sent in for review, I waited for approval to take the final exam.
Passing the comprehensive exam is the final step in becoming a CCIM. It’s only offered twice a year, which you can image can put quite a bit of pressure on a person. The exam I took was in Denver and there were two days during the week of the test that were dedicated to reviewing all core classes. Finally, on Thursday it was time for the six hour comprehensive exam. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait very long to learn our results and later that evening the CCIM Institute held a ceremony to pin all the new designees who passed the test.
There was a lot of time and effort involved, but the knowledge and gained expertise made it well worth the journey. With only 6% of industry professionals earning this title, I’m proud to have achieved this goal.