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Deals & Dealmakers

More army vets jumping into the real estate business

U.S. veterans are taking advantage of the CCIM Veterans in Real Estate Program offered by CCIM Institute in a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Through the program, veterans can fund their education toward earning the CCIM commercial real estate designation through the GI Bill.

“This was the most comprehensive pathway I found into the industry,” said Jeff Guild, who served more than 20 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, with tours of duty in Afghanistan, Europe, South America, and Africa.

“I was constantly researching the best ways to make up for lost time and the answers always returned to CCIM Institute.”

For many veterans enrolled in the program, their previous skills and experiences have helped to make the jump to commercial real estate.

“Like the military, commercial real estate requires due diligence, thorough research, discipline, and a well-planned strategy,” said U.S. Army veteran Jeremy Otto, who served more than seven years as a Staff Sergeant with tours of duty in Iraq. “I enjoy the research and analysis aspects of commercial real estate.”

As a former Human Resources Senior Sergeant in the U.S. Army with combat experience in Iraq, Steven Rosa was tasked with placing personnel in the right positions. He has seen many veterans struggle with finding a career that fits with their previous skill sets. Rosa credits the CCIM Veterans in Real Estate Program in helping to further his own career in real estate.

“I firmly believe veterans bring a lot to the table in any business,” said Rosa. “But the prestigious CCIM Institute program opens further doors and elevates us to the highest levels of commercial real estate professionals.”

The commercial real estate profession is graying with an average practitioner age of 60 years. The field needs an annual influx of 25,000 new professionals both to replenish those who are retiring and to meet the uptick in demand.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median annual income of commercial Realtors was $108,800 in 2015 compared to the median U.S. household income of $55,775 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Any U.S. veteran or eligible beneficiaries (spouse or children) may qualify for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits. CCIM Institute’s designation program is a Non-College-Degree (NCD) certificate which has been approved by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) for use of G.I. Bill Benefits to cover the cost of tuition and fees.

“The veterans bring a strong work ethic and a high level of discipline to the commercial real estate industry,” said 2017 CCIM Institute President Robin L. Webb, CCIM.

“Adding the quality of a CCIM education to that skill set makes these veterans highly sought after real estate practitioners.”

To learn more about the CCIM Institute Veterans in Real Estate Program, visit

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