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

18 January, 2023 / Alan Rosinsky
New York City CRE Learner on Laptop at Office Building Stairs

If you’re new to commercial real estate and do not even know what commercial space means, wonderful. If you are a professional broker looking to further your career, also wonderful. Plenty of resources exist to aid in anyone’s commercial real estate journey, regardless of experience.

Nowadays, building a real estate career is easier than ever. Besides, it doesn’t matter where in the world you’re located. You can live and work in New York City and access courses offered by elite universities or real estate schools from anywhere in the country. You can learn at your own pace, at whatever schedule works, and find whatever resources and programs best cater to your needs.

All it takes is a willingness to learn and a little planning.

Therefore, to help your planning process, we compiled a list of schools, programs, and resources that can help launch or further a career in commercial real estate.


NAIOP (the Commercial Real Estate Development Association) is one of the most respected organizations in commercial real estate. Thus, all of their programs and resources are incredibly useful and reliable.

First, it has a course package focused on different specialties within the CRE realm. The overall focus is on core competencies essential to delivering financially successful projects.

Moreover, NAIOP offers a wide range of on-demand courses, online courses, individual course modules, and live webinars. Most importantly, you will learn directly from industry experts with a wealth of real-world experience.

For commercial real estate professionals who want to further their careers, NAIOP also offers professional certificates. Participants can earn a Certificate of Advanced Study in Commercial Real Estate Development or a Certificate of Advanced Study in Real Estate Finance.

National Association of Realtors

Whether you want to start or advance a career in commercial real estate, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) offers a wide range of courses.

First, the NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development uses state-of-the-art technology to provide continuing education credits, professional development, and professional certificates. Better, participants can take the classes they want online from the comfort of their own home or office.

Moreover, the NAR curriculum includes a Discovering Commercial Real Estate course. The course offers a broad overview of commercial real estate, explains the basics, and explains how it differs from residential real estate. Not only can a course like this can serve as a valuable stepping stone for newly licensed brokers. Residential agents considering branching out to commercial real estate space may also find value in it.

Lastly, NAR offers a Realtor University Master’s program. The Master’s program includes a concentration in Commercial Real Estate Investment and Analysis and an Education Course Matrix. The Martix hosts official NAR education information and the association’s designations and certifications.


SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors), is an excellent resource for commercial real estate professionals looking for ways to advance in a highly competitive niche.

SIOR provides educational resources that focus on the industrial and office sectors. You can find Broker Bootcamp Courses organized in specific locations and online courses, such as Introduction to Real Estate Investment & Finance.

Moreover, SIOR offers various webinars on subjects such as:

  • The Role of Data in Commercial Real Estate
  • Tax Reform Benefits for Commercial Real Estate Investors and Brokers
  • Strategies for Structuring Triple Net (NNN) Investments.

CCIM Institute

The CCIM Institute is another reliable resource for those interested in a career in commercial real estate.

The designation curriculum is the core of CCIM’s curriculum and provides participants with core knowledge applicable to the entire commercial real estate spectrum. Although completing the program takes roughly 1 to 3 years, much of that depends on an individual’s schedule and learning pace.

If you’re reluctant to commit to the designation curriculum, CCIM still has plenty of opportunities to advance your real estate education. For members and non-members alike, there are webinars, workshops, and specialized online courses.

Charter Real Estate School

Founded in NYC in 2017, Charter Real Estate School is a newer school on the list. However, it is still a great resource for commercial and residential real estate professionals, regardless of experience.

Moreover, there are plenty of opportunities for pre-licensed participants. Charter School offers three pre-licensed packages, starting at $425 for a Silver package and rising to $1,095 for a Platinum package. Charter also provides four learning packages to help you earn your New York City broker license. These packages also include the 120 combined study hours required to pass your exam.

Finally, Charter School works with OnCourse Learning to offer a wide range of online courses, such as:

  • Principles of Commercial Real Estate.
  • Commercial Finance and Investment Analysis
  • Structuring Ownership in Commercial Real Estate
  • Commercial Sales and Exchanges
  • Leases in Commercial Real Estate


Cornell University’s Commercial Real Estate Certificate Program is a perfect choice for those interested in familiarizing themselves with real estate principles. The program targets professionals with financial or operational responsibilities in real estate, and people who work for (or want to work for) real estate funds, REITs, developers, and asset managers.

Courses take place online. With experienced and qualified instructors leading the way, participants will acquire the basic knowledge and skills to understand the commercial niche, including:

  • The development process
  • Project planning and management
  • Investment and financing,
  • Property valuation
  • Asset management.

The program takes three months to complete and requires roughly 3-5 hours per week from the participants. At the end of the program, participants will obtain a Commercial Real Estate Certificate from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and 48 Professional Development Hours (4.8 CEUs).


IREM, or the Institute of Real Estate Management, offers loads of information and resources for those interested in furthering their real estate career.

The IREM course curriculum offers two options.

First are certification courses. These courses focus on subjects like marketing, lease training, and asset management strategies.

Second are accelerator courses. Accelerator courses consist of live webinars and on-demand lessons on emerging trends and topics. You’ll also receive access to industry publications and news to help you keep up with the latest commercial real estate trends and developments. Furthermore, many of these courses last no longer than one hour.

Other resources include in-person and on-demand property management courses for those wishing to earn CPM®, ARM® or ACoM, or AMO® certifications.

Lastly, IREM offers more than 250 property management forms, checklists, and templates that can ease a real estate professional’s day-to-day work. Not to mention, the exclusive research and reports backed by IREM and NAR.

MIT Center for Real Estate

The MIT Center for Real Estate offers individuals the opportunity to earn a Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investment Online Certificate. However, the program is separate from MIT’s On-Campus Program in Real Estate Development and Finance.

The certificate program includes tools and theories pioneered by Faculty Director and leading Professor David Geltner. You will learn how to do the following:

  • Evaluate and select property investments by applying financial and 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
  • Use performance attribution to improve the performance of an investment

Of course, if you’re willing to make the trip to Massachusetts for their on-campus Real Estate Development and Finance program, you can always register. You will have two summers to complete the following five courses:

  • Real Estate Finance: Fundamentals
  • Evaluating Real Estate Markets
  • Real Estate Finance: Advanced
  • Commercial Real Estate Development
  • Global Real Estate Markets


NAREA, the National Association of Real Estate Advisors, offers various online classes for those interested in learning more about commercial real estate. They offer courses fit for both beginners and experienced industry professionals.

Depending on your areas of interest and where you are in your career and, you will easily find courses to advance your knowledge. The bollow is just a sample of what you can find in NAREA’s course catalog:

  • 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

However, if you’re serious about a career in commercial real estate, NAREA recommends pursuing the Certified Commercial Advisor program. Participants not only will save over $200 on courses and earn a coveted CCA designation. They will become part of the CCA network and gain access to exclusive CRE forms and investment analysis tools.

The CE Shop

The CE Shop offers a wide range of online courses catering to beginners, newly licensed brokers, and experienced professionals.

This school is well known for its four 75-hour New York Salesperson Real Estate License Packages. Prices range from $325 for a standard package to $829 for the premium+broker package. However, The CE Shop offers promo codes from time to time, so keep an eye out. Plus, if you’re uncertain about your time commitment, fear not. The CE Shop will offer your money back if your program isn’t 50% completed within 30 days.

The CE Shop also offers many continuing education courses for professionals curious to learn more about the industry’s ins and outs. You can find classes focusing on subjects like:

  • Current Issues and Trends in Real Estate
  • Foundations of Real Estate Finance
  • Marketing, Advertising, Social Media Compliance
  • Going Green: The Environmental Movement in Real Estate.

As CE Shop’s CEO Ken Horner told us, “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.”

The Key Takeaway

If interested in starting or advancing your career in commercial real estate, these are some of the best schools, programs, and resources. However, the list is not exhaustive. There are plenty of other outstanding ways to boost your knowledge and professional credentials.

If you think we need to include a particular school or program, contact us and let us know. We would be happy to expand the list.

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