Want a Career in CRE? Here Are Some Great Schools and Programs to Get You Started

Want a Career in CRE? Here Are Some Great Schools and Programs to Get You Started

If you’re thinking of starting a career in commercial real estate, or if you’re already a certified agent or broker, but want to further your education in this field, then you should know that there are plenty of resources out there to aid you in this process. Nowadays, becoming a real estate professional is easier than ever, with courses available both in classrooms and online, so you can learn at your own pace and according to your own schedule.

It doesn’t matter where you are, either; you can live and work in New York City and access courses offered by universities or real estate schools in other cities, or even other states. If you’re a licensed real estate broker, but you’re not all that familiar with the commercial side of things, you can find resources and programs that cater to your needs and that work around your busy schedule. All it takes is a willingness to learn, and a little bit of planning, and this is where we come in. We’ve rounded up a list of great schools, programs and resources to help you launch your commercial real estate career, or continue your education in the industry. 


NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is one of the most respected organizations in commercial real estate, so all of their programs and resources are incredibly useful and reliable. They have developed a series of courses that focus on different specialties within the CRE realm. The courses are led by industry experts with a wealth of real-world experience to share, and are based on core competencies that are essential to delivering financially successful projects. NAIOP offers a wide range of on-demand courses, as well as online courses, individual course modules, and live webinars. For commercial real estate professionals who want to further their careers, NAIOP offers the option of earning a Certificate of Advanced Study in Commercial Real Estate Development or a Certificate of Advanced Study in Real Estate Finance.

NAR Realtor

The National Association of Realtors also offers a wide range of courses for those wanting to begin, or further, a career in the commercial real estate industry. The Center for REALTOR® Development, part of the Association, uses state-of-the-art technology to provide continuing education credit, professional development, and designation certification for commercial real estate professionals. Those interested can take the classes they want online, in the convenience of their own home or office. The NAR curriculum also includes a Discovering Commercial Real Estate course that offers a broad overview of the basics of this niche, and how it differentiates from residential real estate. The course is an excellent choice for newly licensed and/or residential agents who want to delve into the commercial side of real estate. NAR also offers a Realtor University Master or Real Estate, which includes a concentration in Commercial Real Estate Investment and Analysis, and an Education Course Matrix, which hosts official NAR education information, as well as the association’s designations and certifications. 


SIOR, or the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, is a great resource for commercial real estate professionals looking to advance their careers in this highly competitive niche. They provide CRE education focused on the industrial and office branches, for both newly licensed brokers and experienced industry professionals, be they SIOR’s or non-SIOR’s. Besides their Broker Bootcamp Courses, which are organized in specific locations, they also provide online courses, such as Introduction to Real Estate Investment & Finance, which costs $350 but offers education credit towards SIOR Designation. Moreover, SIOR offers various webinars on subjects like The Role of Data in CRE, Tax Reform Benefits for Commercial Real Estate Investors and Brokers, or Strategies for Structuring Triple Net (NNN) Investments. 

CCIM Institute

CCIM Institute, The Commercial Real Estate’s Global Standard for Professional Achievement, is another reliable resource for those interested in a career in commercial real estate. At the core of the CCIM program is the designation curriculum, which provides a set of courses that students will have to complete in order to earn a designation and become CCIMs. The designation program takes roughly 1 to 3 years to complete, but it can take even longer, depending on each student’s schedule and pace of learning. If you’re reluctant to commit to the course or don’t have that kind of time to invest in it, you can still further your real estate education with the help of CCIM. For members and non-members alike, the institute also offers webinars, workshops, and various specialized online courses via their Ward Center for Real Estate Studies. 

Charter Real Estate School

Charter Real Estate School was founded in NYC in 2017 and is a great resource for commercial and residential professionals alike, in any stage of their careers. If you’re thinking of switching careers and getting started in real estate, then Charter School is here to help you, offering three distinct pre-licensing packages, starting at $425 for a Silver package and going up to $1,095 for a Platinum package. They also offer four distinct learning packages to help you earn your New York City broker license, which provide you with the 120 combined hours required to pass your exam. Charter School also partners with OnCourse Learning to offer a wide range of online courses for those interested to learn the ins and outs of the commercial real estate industry, courses like Structuring Ownership in a Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Finance and Investment Analysis, Commercial Sales and Exchanges, Commercial Leases, or Principles of Commercial Real Estate.


The Commercial Real Estate Cornell Certificate Program is a perfect choice for those interested in familiarizing themselves with the principles behind commercial real estate. Students/participants will gain the basic knowledge and skills they need to understand this niche, including the development process, project planning and management, investment and financing, property valuation, and real estate asset management. The course takes three months to complete, and requires roughly 3-5 hours per week from the participants. 

The course takes place online, led by experienced and qualified instructors who have a wealth of CRE knowledge to share. The program is targeted towards professionals who have financial or operational responsibilities for real estate investments or financing, people who work for (or want to work for) real estate funds, REITs, developers, and so on, and asset management professionals. At the end of the program, participants will obtain a Commercial Real Estate Certificate from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, as well as 48 Professional Development Hours (4.8 CEUs). 


IREM, or the Institute of Real Estate Management, offers a plethora of information and resources for those interested in furthering their career in the real estate business. They offer classroom and on-demand property management courses for those wishing to earn CPM®, ARM® or ACoM, or AMO® certifications. They also offer live webinars, and provide access to industry publications and news, so you can keep up to speed with the latest trends and developments in commercial real estate. Furthermore, IREM offers more than 250 property management forms, checklists and templates that can ease the work of a real estate professional on a daily basis, and also provides research and reports backed by both IREM and NAR. 

The IREM course curriculum offers two options: certification courses, focused on subjects like marketing and leasing training to asset management strategies, and accelerator courses, consisting of live webinars and on-demand courses on emerging trends and topics, that can take as little as one hour. 

MIT Center for Real Estate

The MIT Center for Real Estate offers individuals the opportunity to earn a Commercial RE Analysis and Investment Online Certificate. The program is separate from MIT’s On-Campus Program in Real Estate Development and Finance, and it includes tools and theories pioneered by Faculty Director and leading MIT/CRE Professor David Geltner. The program will teach participants how to: evaluate and select property investments by applying financial economic methods; assess the feasibility of real estate development projects using economic principles; study the micro- and macroeconomic features of the commercial real estate market; use modern portfolio theory to manage real estate investments; measure the performance of real estate investments using benchmarks; and use performance attribution to improve the performance of an investment. 

If you’re willing to make the trip to Massachusetts to take their on-campus Real Estate Development and Finance course, which takes place in June 2020, you can register for that one as well via the MIT/CRE website. Participants will have two summers at their disposal to complete a package of five courses, including Real Estate Finance:Fundamentals, Evaluating Real Estate Markets, Real Estate Finance: Advanced, Commercial Real Estate Development, and Global Real Estate Markets. In total, the five courses will take 10 days to complete. 


NAREA, the National Association of Real Estate Advisors, offers various online classes for those interested in learning more about commercial real estate. They offer classes fit for both beginners and experienced professionals in the industry, but if you’re serious about getting into CRE, they recommend pursuing the Certified Commercial Advisor program. Participants will save over $200 on courses, earn a coveted CCA designation, become part of the CCA network of commercial real estate advisors, and gain access to exclusive CRE forms and investment analysis tools. 

The NAREA commercial course curriculum includes bundles like Commercial Real Estate Basics, Listing and Selling Commercial Real Estate, Marketing Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate Contracts & Forms, Accounting & Taxation of Commercial Real Estate, and more. Depending on where you are in your real estate career, and what your areas of interest are, you’ll be able to find a course to help you advance your knowledge of this highly competitive commercial niche. 

The CE Shop

The CE Shop offers a wide range of online courses, catering to those just starting out, newly licensed agents or brokers, as well as experienced professionals looking to keep learning about the industry. They offer four different 75-hour New York Salesperson Real Estate License Packages, for those interested in obtaining their license. Prices range from $325 for a standard package to $829 for the premium+broker package; they do have promo codes from time to time, so be sure to keep an eye on any offers. If you’re unsure of how much time you have at your disposal, The CE Shop offers your money back within 30 days of purchase, if your course isn’t yet 50% complete. 

They also offer a whole bunch of continuing education courses, for those who have the experience but are curious to learn more about the ins and outs of the industry. Courses focus on subjects like Current Issues and Trends in Real Estate, Foundations of Real Estate Finance, Marketing, Advertising, and Social Media Compliance, and Going Green: The Environmental Movement in Real Estate. 

The CE Shop CEO Ken Horner told us that ‘Our mobile-friendly courses are the most convenient option for new and existing real estate agents to complete their requirements and learn what they need to grow their business.’

These are just some of the schools, programs and resources available for those interested in a career in commercial real estate. The list is, of course, not exhaustive, and we’re willing to expand it, so if you think a certain school or program is missing, contact us and let us know about it.

Are you thinking of setting up your business in a convenient location in Manhattan, and are looking to lease space in a modern building offering state-of-the-art amenities? Then reach out to us and we will show you worthwhile space situated right in the heart of New York City. To learn about available office space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 444-2241 or email us at [email protected]

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