Facility managers oversee the maintenance, repair and upkeep of corporate or office environments in just about every industry—from commercial to residential. They're the backbone that keeps businesses and other operations running smoothly and ensures that the physical location is in tip-top shape. If you are looking to put your business administrative and leadership qualifications to good use, becoming a facility manager will allow you to exercise your full skillset.
In this article, you will learn:
The facility manager role requires keen insight into the day-to-day operations of an organization. Great facility managers have a passion for operations, maintenance, and management of each physical system in an organization's building. They have to know that everything's running smoothly, and they really need to know when something isn't.
There are very few disadvantages in becoming a facility manager. Most are a natural consequence of the responsibilities for an organization’s entire physical facilities (don't worry, you got this).
Most businesses and other organizations have physical facilities that need to be maintained, so most businesses and other organizations need facility managers. Hotel chains, restaurants, hospitals, and universities are among their most prominent employers. A facilities manager is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all a facility's physical systems, including:
As a facility manager, you will delegate repair and maintenance projects, overseeing employees in the completion of routine and emergency projects. You will create cross-functional teams within the organization to help identify and prioritize maintenance projects, and to assign them. You'll be like an orchestra conductor, with your crew as the musicians—when you get them all playing in sync, the result is beautiful music. At least metaphorically, unless the facility you manage is a conservatory.
Here are some of the essential characteristics of a successful building manager, according to the Pratt Institute, where you can earn a master’s degree in facilities management:
A bachelor's degree is not essential for this career path, but it can give you an edge in your job search. Completing a certificate program like this one from Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis can also help, as will joining professional and networking groups such as the International Facility Management Association (IFMA).
A recent review of job postings on Indeed.com indicated that entry-level facilities management positions typically require several years of maintenance and management experience.
Many facility managers majored in business in college. Other popular majors include:
Certificate and master’s degree programs may not be necessary for most jobs but could come in handy if you hope someday to advance to higher management positions. Pursuing a master's degree to advance your career is a multi-faceted decision. You'll need to determine whether it's worth the time and financial resources to you.
An advanced degree can help you:
The IFMA is the largest professional resource for facility management, with members across the industrialized world. The IFMA offers the Facility Management Professional credential, earned by completing a multi-course training. Courses cover project management, operations and maintenance, leadership and strategy, and finance and business. The organization also offers a certification (called the CFM, for Certified Facility Manager) through examination.
A combination of certification and education in facility management is the professional development you'll need to stay up on current facility trends, legal requirements, and facility management techniques. It will also signal potential employers that you are committed to your career.
The International Facility Management Association is the best resource for becoming a facility manager. By becoming a member of the IFMA, you'll gain access to a numerous facility operations and management resources including continuing education, professional development, and networking opportunities.
The IFMA Foundation is a great resource to search for bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the field. You can acquire the facility operations and space management skills you need through their online, on-campus, and hybrid offerings.
Many facilities managers start their career as a repair people or carpenter sand eventually find their way into management positions. If you discover a passion for management, problem solving, and maintenance, you can carve out your individualized education or certification path through customizable training programs, often available online. Training will only take you so far: hands-on experience is at least as important in acquiring the skills you'll need.
Successful facility managers may advance to larger and more complex operations. Some pursue an advanced degree, such as an MBA, in order to upgrade to a higher management position with their current employer. Some employers will even pay for your MBA if you commit to remaining with them for a specified number of years post-graduation.
Do you love schedules and spreadsheets? Does a well-planned, well-executed project give you a sense of deep satisfaction? Can you remain calm even when you're ankle-deep in water from a broken pipe? If you answered yes to all of these questions, facility manager may be the career for you.
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