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Commercial Real Estate Agent: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the preparation needed to become a commercial real estate agent. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about salary and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Commercial real estate agents assist clients in selling and leasing commercial properties. A career in commercial real estate incorporates appraisal, finance and land development.

Required EducationHigh school diploma and state-mandated coursework in real estate; postsecondary training may be beneficial
Additional RequirementReal estate license
Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022)11% for real estate sales agents
Median Salary* (2013) $39,800 annually for real estate sales agents

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description for Commercial Real Estate Agents

Commercial real estate agents are very different from residential real estate agents. The selling or leasing of a commercial property usually takes much longer than selling or leasing residential properties. Additionally, the commercial agent is expected to provide a vast amount of financial information and analytical data.

An individual starting in commercial real estate would benefit from having business contacts, as it can take a long time to build up a clientele. Agents can work on their own, for a real estate services firm or for a commercial real estate broker. A commercial typically gets paid strictly on commission.

Educational Requirements

According to the BLS, a basic requirement for real estate agents is a high school diploma, though increasingly agents are college graduates. Many community colleges as well as 4-year colleges and universities offer degree programs in real estate.

Some commercial real estate agent positions require applicants to have a college degree or have at least completed some college coursework. A number of colleges offer 2-year and 4-year degrees in real estate or real estate certifications. Beneficial courses include statistics, finance, business administration, law and economics. A number of brokerage firms offer their own educational courses and on-the-job training. The National Association of Realtors offers industry-specific courses for commercial real estate agents.

Licensure Requirements

Real estate agents and brokers are required in every U.S. state to be licensed, according to the BLS. A real estate license is usually obtained by passing a state-administered exam. Requirements vary by state; some states require a basic real estate license while others require a commercial real estate license to practice commercial real estate.

Typically state requirements entail that an individual is 18-21 years of age, holds a high-school diploma or GED and is a U.S. citizen. Individuals can find out specific state requirements and approved schools by contacting their State Department of Real Estate or State Real Estate Commission.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for real estate agents looks about average for the coming years: employment growth for agents should rise 11% from 2012-2022. While the professional real estate industry is generally easy to enter, the BLS states, beginning agents are likely to experience strong competition from their more experienced colleagues. In 2013, the BLS reported that real estate agents throughout the country made a median wage of $39,800 per year.

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