What Are Designations in Real Estate?
Real Estate designations are specialized credentials for REALTORS® that showcase a REALTORS® knowledge, experience, and education in a wide variety of niches and sectors. Additionally, designations and certifications demonstrates to the public and the industry your commitment to professional development and customer service.
Licensees, brokers, office managers, commercial real estate specialists, and seasoned professionals all benefit from the up-to-date information and additional training represented by these REALTOR® designations.
VanEd encourages all agents to work toward additional credentials. We are proud to offer coursework toward the GRI designation, and partner with the Real Estate Learning Library to offer additonal designation courses.
What Is the Best Real Estate Certification or Designation?
VanEd encourages real estate professionals to continue to educate themselves throughout their careers. But, which program is the best? First, take a look at your target market. Do you need a well-rounded base? Are you going to work with many more buyers than sellers? How much do you know about the "green" aspects of real estate and is this the area you want to specialize in?
The education program you select should reflect who your target market is, as well as your marketing program. If you are expanding into a new market, you may want to educate yourself through a real estate designation program focused on that market. If you are new or returning to the industry, you may choose to start with the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation, and then later determine your niche.
Examine the various beneficial programs below. This is not an all-encompassing list of available real estate designations or certifications, but these are some of the most popular and best-run in the industry. Read through the list to find the program that will both help and prepare you to serve clients and customers, AND the program that will give you an additional edge in your marketing.
Real Estate Certifications & Designations List
ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative
A designation from the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (REBAC) which trains experienced REALTORS® in specifically representing the real estate consumer. The ABR designation is awarded to real estate practitioners who complete a comprehensive REBAC course in buyer representation and achieve a passing grade on the written examination. They must also demonstrate practical experience by completing and closing five real estate transactions in which the candidate functions as a buyer's representative.
AHWD® - At Home With Diversity
The At Home with Diversity® course, one of NAR's certification programs, teaches you to transact business in culturally competent ways, maximizing your earning potential with important, expanding markets of the 21st century. The course addresses issues of cultural "Do's and Dont's," fair housing, and applying learning outcomes to a business plan - one that you can take with you after you complete the course.
ALC - Accredited Land Consultant
This designation is geared to individuals that specialize in land brokerage transactions such as farms and ranches; undeveloped tracts of land; transitional and development land; subdivision and wholesaling of lots; and site selection and assemblage of land parcels. This designation is managed by: REALTORS® Land Institute.
ARM - Accredited Residential Manager
This real estate certification reflects today's management practices and new ideas. This certification is managed by: The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).
CCIM - Certified Commercial Investment Member
This can be thought of as the Commercial Real Estate Certification. What does CCIM stand for? CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member. The CCIM lapel pin denotes that the wearer has completed advanced coursework in financial and market analysis and demonstrated extensive experience in the commercial real estate industry. CCIM designees are recognized as leading experts in commercial investment real estate.
CIPS - Certified International Property Specialist
An international real estate education course sponsored by REALTOR® Boards and Associations throughout the United States. Designees are relied upon as a resource for experts in the international real estate market. This designation may be earned after successfully completing an intensive program of study focusing on critical aspects of transnational transactions, including currency and exchange rate issues, cross-cultural relationships, regional market conditions, investment performance, tax issues, and more. U.S. members must be a REALTOR® and a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.
CPM - Certified Property Manager
Acquire valuable real estate management skills through educational offerings leading to the CPM designation. CPM® members have the competitive edge in every area of real estate management from residential to commercial to industrial. The CPM® designation is the oldest and most prestigious achievement in property management. It is awarded to property managers whose experience, education and ethical standards warrant such distinction. CPMs are experts in managing apartments, office buildings, commercial centers, and homeowners' associations and are informed on tax laws insurance regulations, and critical investment factors.
CRB - Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager
This designation is geared toward real estate managing broker professionals and consistently increases their level of industry knowledge and increases their firm's profitability. This designation is managed by The Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers.
CRE - Counselor of Real Estate
The Counselors of Real Estate is a professional membership organization for real estate advisors who have been recognized by their peers and clients for their high-level knowledge, experience, and integrity. All members of the organization hold the CRE designation, which is bestowed by invitation only.
CRP - Certified Relocation Professional
This designation is geared toward professionals who have demonstrated a minimum of two years' experience dealing with relocation issues. This designation is managed by: The Employee Relocation Council.
CRS - Certified Residential Specialist
This designation is awarded to experienced REALTORS® who complete advanced training in listing and selling residential property. This designation is managed by: The Council of Residential Specialists.
E-Pro® is a training program presented entirely online to certify real estate agents and brokers as Internet Professionals. This designation may be earned after successfully completing 5 areas presented entirely online.
The EcoBroker Designation is a positive and profitable way to differentiate yourself in today's real estate market. Becoming an EcoBroker is a great opportunity for you to benefit your community and the planet, while broadening your base of training and earning more business.
EcoBroker Detailed Information
GRI - Graduate REALTOR Institute
This designation is geared towards REALTORS® who are involved in residential real estate and desire a solid base of information for their practice. This designation is managed by: The National Association of REALTORS®.
States with GRI Designation Courses
MRP - Military Relocation Professional
The Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certification is for real estate professionals who want to work with current and former military service members. The MRP certification program educates REALTORS® about working with U.S. service members and their families and veterans to find the housing solutions that best suit their needs and to take full advantage of available benefits and support.
PMN - Performance Management Network
The Performance Management Network (PMN) is a new REALTOR® designation that's built from the ground up to bring you the real-world skills, the know-how and the tools that will keep your business out front and on top of a lightning-fast market. This designation is unique to the REALTOR® family designations, focusing on the idea that in order to enhance your business, you must enhance yourself. The curriculum is driven by the following topics: negotiating strategies and tactics, networking and referrals, business planning & systems, personal performance management and cultural differences in buying and selling.
RSPS - Resort & Second-Home Markets Certification
The RSPS is a certification offered by NAR, for REALTORS® specializing in Resort and Second-Home markets around the world, interested in demonstrating their knowledge and expertise.
SIOR - Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®
This designation is geared towards REALTORS® in industrial and office real estate brokerage. This designation is managed by: Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®.
Visit the SIOR website
SRES® - Seniors Real Estate Specialist
The SRES® Designation course seeks to instill knowledge and understanding of, and empathy for, 55-plus real estate clients and customers. It helps to develop the business building skills and resources needed for specialization in the 55-plus real estate market. By earning the SRES designation, the REALTORS® have demonstrated that they have the requisite knowledge, experience, and expertise to be a senior's real estate specialist and counselor.