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Be a Certified Facilities Manager: Certification and Career Information

Feb 27, 2019

Learn how to become a certified facilities manager. Review the job description, explore the education and certification requirements, and find out how to start a career in facilities management.

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  • 0:00 Certified Facilities Managers
  • 0:41 Earn a Relevant Degree
  • 2:29 Gain Work Experience
  • 3:29 Get CFM Certification

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Certified Facilities Managers

Degree Level None; bachelor's helpful
Degree Field Facility management, business, engineering
Licensure or Certification Voluntary
Experience 5-10 years
Key Skills Good analytical, communication, and leadership skills; strong attention to detail; ability to use accounting, spreadsheet, enterprise resource planning, and desktop publishing software; familiarity with scanners, photocopiers, mobile phones, and calculators
Salary $62,743 (2016 median for all facilities managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O Net OnLine, Employer job postings (November 2012), PayScale.com

Facilities managers are responsible for the supervision of support services in an organization, which can include the management of grounds, buildings, and equipment, as well as the planning and developmental stages of facilities. They also direct personnel involved in maintenance and development, keep records, and handle mail distribution. In some cases, these administrators must be available around the clock to deal with any situations that arise. The median annual wage for all facilities managers is $62,743 as of October 2016 according to PayScale.com.

Earn a Relevant Degree

If an individual's goal is to earn the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) credential from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), the first step to consider might be earning a bachelor's degree from an IFMA-approved program in facility management. Other options that meet CFM credentialing requirements include having a bachelor's degree in a relevant area, having a non-relevant associate or bachelor's degree, or completing some postsecondary education (such as a standalone certificate program). Depending on how much education a candidate possesses, IFMA work experience requirements for certification can vary from three to eight years.

Facilities management bachelor's degree programs can include prerequisites, such as accounting, leadership, property management, and statistics coursework, that must be completed prior to acceptance into the professional program. Programs can also include internships, and often feature core topics of study including construction management, light systems, mechanical systems, environmental compliance, and regulations. Certificate programs in facility management generally have open enrollment and do not include prerequisites for program admission. Certificate programs can typically be completed in one year, and students may take up to five years for completion.

Success Tip:

Develop communication and interpersonal skills. Facilities managers work with a wide variety of people and need to have excellent listening, speaking, and relational abilities. An individual might opt to take electives in skill-building areas, such as public speaking, communications, or human resources. Joining various campus or community organizations may also help an individual with networking and people skills.

Gain Work Experience

Many facilities management positions require a candidate to have several years of work experience for consideration. Obtaining experience in related positions or industries, such as real estate or hospitality, can give aspiring managers what's needed to advance in their careers. The number of years of experience needed depends on how much education an individual has completed. For example, a bachelor's degree-holder needs to complete three to four years of work experience to qualify for certification. An aspiring CFM should look for jobs that build experience in handling purchasing, sales, inventory stock, machinery, and equipment.

Success Tip:

Consider earning the Facility Management Professional (FMP) credential. The FMP designation is also offered through the IFMA and can be earned without work experience or education requirements. FMP certification requires completing training offered through the IFMA and taking a series of online exams.

Get CFM Certification

Once an individual has gained enough years of work experience, the final step to becoming a certified facilities manager entails successfully passing the certification examination. After passing, the CFM designation can be used professionally. Certification lasts for three years and includes requirements for recertification. To gain recertification, CFMs need to earn 120 maintenance points that can be met by completing online education, professional involvement, or development.

In summary, in order to become a certified facilities manager, aspiring supervisors must earn a relevant bachelor's degree, gain some related work experience, and obtain CFM certification.

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