What Is a Certification in Real Estate? (10 to Consider)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 7, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As a real estate professional, committing to professional and personal development through online courses, certifications, and licensure can help increase your reputation and income. Numerous certifications exist in the industry from various credible associations covering the entire real estate field. Learning about these different certifications and their awarding bodies can help you decide which aligns with your career and professional goals. In this article, we define a certification in real estate and list ten of these certifications you may consider pursuing.

What is a certification in real estate?

A certification in real estate is a designation by a recognized professional body for real estate practitioners to show their skills, expertise, passion, and commitment to the field. There are multiple designations in real estate covering its various fields, including real estate agency, commercial real estate, appraisal, and property management. You may find a suitable designation for your field and dedicate sufficient time to completing its program and earning it. A real estate certification is helpful because it can enhance your reputation and increase your chances of getting clients.

10 real estate certifications to advance your career

Below are ten popular real estate certifications you may earn:

1. Designated Appraiser Residential

Designated Appraiser Residential (DAR) is a certification from the Canadian Association of Real Estate Appraisers (CNAREA) for professionals who wish to start a career in real estate appraisal. To be eligible for this certification, the CNAREA requires you to be 18 years old and have obtained a high school graduation diploma.

It's also mandatory to become a member of the CNAREA, as the certification requires you to complete certain courses that you can only enrol in as a member. You typically complete courses in cohorts through a video teleconferencing application online. Each course has its allocated completion hours, and the association requires you to have completed at least two years of field experience to take the exam.

Related: 5 Main Differences between Real Estate Brokers vs. Agents

2. Designated Appraiser Commercial

Designated Appraiser Commercial (DAC) is the standard successor to the DAR by the CNAREA. To qualify for this certification, you require a minimum of 3,000 hours of residential appraiser experience as a DAR and successful completion of advanced residential appraisal courses. You also require a deep understanding of university-level micro-and macroeconomics. After you complete all courses, the CNAREA further requires you to display a minimum of five years of full-time appraisal experience, including 1,000 hours of commercial property appraisals. You also submit three commercial appraisal reports, provide peer reviews of these reports, and pass the CNAREA DAC exam.

Related: Real Estate Agent Pros and Cons (With Career Tips)

3. Certified Appraisal Reviewer

You may advance to the Certified Appraisal Reviewer designation from the DAC designation. To qualify, you may be a CNAREA member who has had their DAR designation for two years. This designation is valid for four years, after which you renew it. It's important to be aware of emerging trends in the real estate field and to be successful with your membership and course requirements to avoid the revocation of your designation.

Related: How to Get Into Real Estate (With Skills and Salary)

4. Canadian Residential Appraiser

The Canadian Residential Appraiser (CRA) designation from the Appraiser Institute of Canada (AIC) enables you to appraise houses, semi-detached houses, townhouses, condominiums, and vacant residential plots of land. You may follow two paths to obtain this certification, including as a student or candidate member. Student membership is generally for students in secondary school, is free, and enables you to connect with professionals in the industry.

Becoming a candidate member requires you to have a university degree or be in the process of earning one. This path typically provides you with more opportunities, including working actively in the profession and earning extra income as an appraiser in training. Besides courses you take, the CRA certification also requires experience and work product review. You may visit the institute's website for more information about this certification.

Related: How to Become a Real Estate Broker (Plus a List of Skills)

5. Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute

Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute is the second designation from the Appraiser Institute of Canada. With it, you can appraise various properties, including land, agricultural properties, machinery, equipment, and commercial and residential buildings. This designation typically follows the same path and shares similar requirements with the CRA designation by the same institution. The most significant difference between the two certifications is the required courses to complete to earn the certification. Both are similar in work product review and experience to qualify for the written exam. Consider visiting the institute's website for detailed information regarding the steps to obtain this certification.

Related: How to Become a Real Estate Investor (And Skills and Duties)

6. Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager

Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) is a popular real estate designation from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) in partnership with the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This certification aims to equip brokers, managers, and supervisors with brokerage management expertise through professional standards that strengthen individual and office performance. To obtain it, you may complete three CRB courses and two experience electives and possess at least one year of verifiable management experience. You also require an international realtor membership of the National Association of Realtors.

Related: What Does a Real Estate Accountant Do? (Plus How to Become)

7. Certified International Property Specialist

Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) is a designation from the Canadian Real Estate Association and the National Association of Realtors. It's specifically for realtors, association staff, and volunteering leaders who wish to enhance their understanding of the international real estate business. The certification program requires you to complete five courses, of which two are core and three are electives. A CREA membership is mandatory, and you may pass the exam at the end of each class with a 70% score or higher.

Related: What Is a Real Estate Investor? (Duties and Other Job Info)

8. Certified Reserve Planner

A reserve planner is a real estate professional who advises cooperatives, non-profit organizations, and governmental organizations on a reserve fund, a property asset, that a business or an individual manages. The Certified Reserve Planner (CRP) from the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) requires you to first become a candidate member by applying. If you have reserve planning experience, you submit five reserve fund studies that you authored.

You require three years of experience within the last five years in related industries before applying for the CRP designation if you don't have any reserve planning experience. It's also mandatory to write the certification examination, pass a peer interview, and maintain annual membership with the institute to ensure its continued validity.

Related: What Is CRM in Real Estate? (With Benefits and Tips)

9. Accredited Buyer's Representative

Accredited Buyer's Representative is an internationally awarded designation from the National Association of Realtors. The NAR awards it to real estate buyer agents who focus on working directly with buyer-clients at every stage of the home-buying process. To qualify for this certification, you may complete the two-day ABR course online and be a member of the CREA, which is in a bilateral corporation agreement with the NAR.

Obtaining this certification grants you automatic international membership of the NAR for the rest of the calendar year. To ensure the sustained validity of your designation, the NAR requires you to renew it yearly. It's also important to keep your membership with the association, as your ABR designation goes inactive with your international NAR membership.

Related: Real Estate Agent Salary and Career Opportunities in Real Estate

10. Certified Property Manager

Certified Property Manager (CPM) is a designation from the NAR and the International Real Estate Management (IREM). It's for experienced property managers who manage any asset class and want to get the total value of their properties. It's also suitable for those who wish to add advanced financial and asset management capabilities to their daily operational abilities. With it, you gain knowledge beyond the asset class and can value an entire portfolio, including residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties.

Becoming a CPM takes a minimum of 12 months, but on average, individuals spend 18 to 24 months preparing for the certification. The process begins with you being a member of the NAR and IREM for a year. You then complete the certification courses, sit, and pass the two parts examination. Other requirements for the CPM include having 36 months of qualifying real estate management experience, attending at least two events with your local IREM chapter, and becoming an institute affiliate member of the NAR.

Please note that none of the companies, organizations, or institutions mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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