ICSC: International Council of Shopping Centers

CLS - Leasing

Application Center Non-Member Applications


Languages: English | Spanish

ICSC established the (Certified Leasing Specialist) credential in 1994 to advance professional standards in shopping center leasing worldwide. Candidates for the CLS designation demonstrate at least four years of qualified work experience in center long-term or short-term leasing and must be or have been active in a position with substantial responsibly for leasing shopping centers as an employee representative or agent of an owner and/or tenant. CLS certification is achieved through mastery of a body of knowledge, completion of the eligibility requirements, passage of a rigorous half-day written examination, and commitment to a code of professional ethics. Through the ICSC, an elite group of shopping center leasing professionals enjoys unparalleled opportunities for industry involvement and industry-wide recognition.


Successful CLS candidates are actively engaged in shopping center leasing with a minimum of four years of active, full-time experience obtained within the past six years. Qualifying work experience may include tenant management, trade area analysis, lease negotiation, specialty leasing, financing and retailing. Leasing specialists with a broad knowledge of revenue generation principles who have the ability to apply those principles to effectively lease all types of shopping centers are encouraged to apply. Retail real estate professionals who oversee the leasing functions for a single shopping center or tenant as well as corporate or regional professionals who oversee the leasing function of one or more shopping centers or tenants are also encouraged to apply.

Body of Knowledge

Successful CLS candidates must master a body of knowledge that represents the full scope of the practice of leasing in retail real estate. The composition of the CLS exam is guided by extensive industry research into the knowledge, skills and experience needed for a qualifying candidate to hold the CLS designation. The CLS Admissions & Governing Committee oversaw a methodical and comprehensive investigation into the content that should assessed. Their research resulted in the identification of 62 essential competency areas organized into nine knowledge domains. View the full content details, outline and category weights online.

  • Domain 1: Development and Market Research Fundamentals (10%)
  • Domain 2. Leasing Fundamentals (20%)
  • Domain 3. Long-term Leasing (10%)
  • Domain 4. Short-term Leasing (10%)
  • Domain 5. Legal (13%)
  • Domain 6. Design & Construction (9%)
  • Domain 7. Retailing (13%)
  • Domain 8. Finance (10%)
  • Domain 9. Operations, Marketing and Promotions (5%)