Because many of the entry-level positions within the field provide preliminary on-the-job training, little to no previous work experience is needed. More advanced positions typically require 1-2 years of job experience or a combination of formal training and hands-on experience.
Community colleges and trade schools offer courses and certificates in building maintenance and facilities management. Specializations include heating-ventilation-air conditioning (HVAC) troubleshooting and repair, plumbing, minor electrical work, appliance maintenance, blueprint reading, and carpentry.
Building Maintenance Certificate
Building maintenance students acquire basic skills sets in electricity, plumbing, carpentry, heating, and air conditioning maintenance. Students are also introduced to small appliance repair as well as maintenance safety issues and procedures. Through both classroom study and hands-on instruction, students learn the skills needed to gain entry-level employment in the industry.
Facilities Management Certificate
A more advanced training program, facilities management certificates are typically offered through professional development and continuing education divisions at major universities and colleges. This type of certificate is designed for professionals with experience in building maintenance, management, or a combination at all levels. Most programs design their curriculum to meet the nine competencies required for certification through the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA). Course topics include the following:
- Building systems and technology
- Facility operations and management
- Building maintenance
- Energy management
- HVAC system design
Licenses and Certifications
Licensure requirements for building maintenance professionals vary from state to state and are commonly needed for those working in the specialty areas of plumbing and electrical work. Although not required for employment, a variety of certifications are also available for building maintenance professionals to demonstrate their skill level and maintenance proficiencies. The most widely accepted certifications are offered through the International Maintenance Institute (IMI).
The IMI offers the certified maintenance technician credential at three different levels as well as designations as a certified maintenance professional or certified maintenance manager. IMI certifications are valid for two years and require a number of continuing education credits for renewal.
Additional Professional Development
As technology advances, so do the computerized control systems installed in newer buildings to control building temperatures, timed lighting schedules, and energy efficiency. Because of this, there is a growing need for building maintenance professionals to develop basic computer skills in order to navigate through computer-controlled equipment. Building maintenance workers should also be able to perform physical tasks, possess manual dexterity, and be able to perform basic mathematical operations.
Building maintenance training programs come in two forms, as building maintenance certificates and facilities management certificates. Through these programs, students can learn various methods for maintaining and repairing the essential systems of a building, as well as prepare themselves for licensure, certification, and additional professional development during their careers.