Facilities managers tend to wear many hats. Over time, facilities management titles have evolved to include a variety of tasks and job descriptions. Everything from security to construction to building maintenance to project management to energy management has come to define the average facility director or manager. As the job title has diversified in meaning, so have the qualifications. Experience alone isn’t enough anymore for facilities management. Education and training are a must.
A College Degree or Job Experience
Getting a college degree might sound like a lot of work, but the payoff can outweigh the effort in the long run for facilities management professionals, especially for those who are seeking an engineer, director, manager, or technician position in the field. According to 2015 to 2016 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many facilities management positions typically require an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree for job entry. Higher-paid positions require either a college degree or work experience or a combination of both.
Training and Education Resources
There is no lack of training and educational resources out there for people in the facilities management profession. The following are just some of the resources available from various trade associations and universities.
AEE. The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) is a nonprofit professional society dedicated to furthering education in energy and management. The foundation awards scholarships to outstanding students; offers a full array of informational outreach programs including seminars (live and online), conferences, journals, and books; and offers a list of certification programs including Certified Energy Manager® (CEM), Certified Energy Auditor™ (CEAM), Certified Lighting Efficiency Professional™ (CLEP), Certified Green Building Engineer™ (GBE), Certified Sustainable Development Professional® (CSDP), and more.
AESP. The Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to improving the delivery and implementation of energy efficiency, demand-side management and demand response programs. AESP offers professional development programs, access to a network of energy practitioners, and promotes the transfer of knowledge and experience. ASEP has conferences, webinars, training, online training, and webcasts available.
APPA U. APPA, which used to stand for the Association of Physical Plant Administrators in the late 1960’s through the early 1990’s, and now is simply known as APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities, is an association that works to transform facilities professionals into higher performing managers and leaders. APPA offers APPA U, which is comprised of its Institute for Facilities Management and its Leadership Academy. Participants in the Institute for Facilities Management focus on one of four courses for one week that include General Administration and Management; Maintenance and Operations; Energy and Utilities; and Planning, Design and Construction. Students who complete the course receive a certificate of completion designating their core area of study and 3.0 continuing education units (CEUs). Those who attend the Leadership Academy focus on one of four courses that include Individual Effectiveness Skills; Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills; Managerial Effectiveness Skills; and Organizational Effectiveness Skills—A Seat at the Table.
NIU. Northern Illinois University (NIU) is partnered with the International Facility Management Association™ (IFMA) to deliver credential courses for Facility Management Professional® (FMP), Sustainability Facility Professional® (SFP) and Certified Facility Manager® (CFM) certificate programs.
NYIT. New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers Facilities Management, Advanced Certificate, an 18-credit advanced certificate program. To enter the program, the applicant must have a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university and a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.85. Although it is not required, a background in engineering or management is desirable.
UCSD Extension. The University of California San Diego (UCSD) Extension has a Professional Certificate in Facilities Management, which offers a curriculum designed to teach students how to make effective and sustainable facilities management decisions. According to UCSD Extension, the coursework instructs students to use strategies and techniques recognized by the IFMA. The curriculum includes energy management solutions, current approaches to recycling and waste management, and life cycle costing strategies that improve sustainability.
Advancing Your Education and Training
If you are in the facilities management field, you should advance your knowledge through continuing education courses, training, certification, or college coursework. Given technology today, it’s never been easier for facilities management professionals who want to advance their education to do so online. Though it may sound like a chore, furthering your education and training is never a bad idea in the eyes of an employer. Additional education, certification, and training adds to your resume, makes you a more desirable employee, and shows employers that you have value.