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Required Courses for a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Updated on February 19, 2013
Business Possiblities!
Business Possiblities! | Source

Required Courses for a Commercial Real Estate Agent


There are few universities that offer any classes specific to the commercial real estate student.

Most Universities do offer business degrees and courses for their students. The basic business school offerings are where the student needs to begin their studies. Couple those university business courses with securing a state real estate license and then look for a job using those strong foundations.

That said, it must be noted that at least one university offers an MB in Commercial Real Estate. However, the program is mostly about the developing, purchasing, and selling of hugely expensive real estate projects. That is only a small part of the business. The student and professional commercial real estate practitioner needs to be versed in many more facets of the business. So, while such a program is beneficial, it is for the more advanced student. Another deterrent is that this program costs in excess of $45,000 to complete The $45,000 does not include room and board. This is a nearly full immersion program and allows little time for any work study options.

So, what classes can the student study and learn in order to help them in their chosen career of commercial real estate? Let’s discuss the rudimentary skills that will aid the student in securing a career in commercial real estate.

Here is a broad look at the methods an aspiring commercial real estate professional may take.

University of New Mexico


University Courses

Courses and Corresponding Skills Taught

Here are the core courses from a very good school, the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management.

BBA Core Courses

MGMT 300 - Operations Management

MGMT 303 - Managerial Accounting

MGMT 306 - Organizational Behavior & Diversity

MGMT 308 - Ethical, Political, and Social Environment of Business

MGMT 310 - Legal Issues for Managers

MGMT 322 - Marketing Management

MGMT 326 - Financial Management

MGMT 328 - International Management

MGMT 450 - Computer Based Information Systems

MGMT 498 - Strategic Management

NOTE: The author has taught both MGMT 300 Operations Management and MGMT 322 Marketing Management at the Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico and has a high opinion of the professors and students.

All of these courses have one commonality. They address basic business concepts. The student is then allowed to delve further into the concept.

Operations Management introduces the student to production processes, shipping of merchandise, shop floor space management, cloud computing, and service processes.

Managerial Accounting offers the understanding of the financial tools needed to run the business. The student most likely will run their own financial spreadsheets at some time in their career. Even if the student hires out the financial facet of their company they must have the basic tools to understand all the financial aspects of their business.

Organizational Behavior and Diversity prepares the business student with the ability to manage staff, contractors, and clients. It also gives an overview of the legalities in the management of a diverse work place.

Ethical Political and Social Environment of Business is a course that provides the tools to perform within the systems that exist in business in a moral and socially accountable method. The waters are deep and treacherous in the business world when it comes to combining success and ethics.

Legal Issues for Managers provides the background of common legal issues and explores liabilities as well as strategies to mitigate business liabilities.

Marketing Management provides a comprehensive overview marketing topics. These topics range from understanding the market (demographics) to managing marketing budgets, Internet and social marketing, competition and marketing decision making using these tools.

Financial Management explores funds management in terms of capital requirements, obtaining capital, financial forecasting and making decisions using sophisticated modalities.

International Management explores the reality of doing business in an ever more Global world. The structure, legalities, cultural norms, and decision making models vary from country to country.

Computer Based Systems provides an overview of hardware/software as it exists as well as providing a foundation for the systems that will emerge. Business is a leader in optimizing computer methodologies.

Strategic Management emphasizes the top functions of management. It provides a real life exploration of business actions through case studies.

Company Training Programs

Apprenticeships and In-House Company Training

There are many smaller and some larger companies that will provide in-house training for the aspiring commercial real estate professional. However, you will need to arrive with a college education and real estate license to be accepted. Gone are the days of even being considered for an in-house training program without a college degree.

You will not necessarily need a business degree. Many companies will hire you with other college degrees, if you show during your interview the spark and interest to perform well. So, do approach companies even with your B.A. or B.S in other disciplines.

One company provides an 18 month program where the employee is considered an assistant to the commercial real estate professional. As the assistant you assist in every project done by the professional as well as work with any employees and departments supervised by the manager or leasing agent.

This is how the author began. This is also how the author can claim the ability to plow a snow packed parking lot and completely assess a roof as well as create an operating spreadsheet and design a media plan!

One smaller company hires college graduates with a real estate license and sends them out with the leasing professional with this admonition; “Have a business card, calculator and pencil on you at ALL TIMES.” This made some very accomplished commercial real estate professionals. The author was a Director of Property at this company.

Professional Organizations


The professional commercial real estate student should belong to both the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC.)

These organizations provide a wealth of publications, on-line information, courses, and networking opportunities.

ULI’s Mission Statement

The Urban Land Institute provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI is an independent global nonprofit supported by members representing the entire spectrum of real estate development and land use disciplines.

A student membership may be purchased for $90 USA currency, €60 in Europe and $65 all other regions.

ICSC’s Mission Statement:

The purpose of the Council is to advance the shopping center industry and to promote its role in the commercial distribution of consumer goods and services by:

Providing educational programs and publications in all aspects of shopping center development, finance, management, marketing and other specialized areas of professional interest;

Conducting meetings and other programs designed to promote the exchange of ideas among members and to facilitate the conduct of their business;

Collecting and disseminating information pertaining to the shopping center industry, including statistical data and other statistical research;

Developing and maintaining professional certification programs to encourage high standards for shopping center professionals;

Advocating the interest of the shopping center industry to local, state/provincial, federal and international governmental bodies; and

Publicizing to the general public promotional and educational shopping center business information.

Here is an ICSC link regarding student internships:

The author has an ICSC Certification.

Visit the web sites of both the ULI and ICSC. The articles are quite interesting and the non-member may mine many topics before they are locked out due to not being a paying member.

State Licensing Programs

State Real Estate Licenses

A state real estate license is a legal requirement. However, the courses required (in most states) to complete the real estate course and the exams given are directly related to home sales and not commercial real estate. The student can add this information to their repertoire of real estate information. The author, in thirty years of commercial real estate, only used these licenses when purchasing or selling personal real estate! Only a small educational section on pro-rating costs was even relevant to the work performed on the commercial level.

Hopefully, the states will offer more commercially geared classes in the future.


If this is the work passion that you have, above all do not let any of the above information deter you. There are many avenues to becoming a commercial real estate professional.

Good selling, leasing, management, and marketing to you!

Comments and Questions?


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    • NMLady profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Thanks CZ And Millionaire.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      I had a real estate license for selling personal real estate at one time. It would be very interesting to study and pursue real estate as a commercial venture. You have provided great information on how to do that. Voted up.

    • CZCZCZ profile image


      6 years ago from Oregon

      Interesting information and perfect for anyone looking at education options for becoming a real estate agent.


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