Become a Director of Maintenance and Environmental Services

Mar 11, 2020

Find out how to become a director of maintenance and environmental services. Research the education requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in maintenance and environmental services.

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Director of Maintenance

A Director of maintenance and environmental services oversee facilities maintenance, sanitation, and laundry services in hospitals, schools, industrial facilities, and other locations. This occupation requires office work to handle administrative tasks; directors also regularly circulate throughout the building (or buildings) to oversee and follow up on work related to the mission of the department.

These professionals work full-time, and most work overtime. Because of their leadership and management roles, directors are typically on-call for emergencies. Competition for jobs can be strong, especially with the growing prominence of environmental awareness. Candidates with demonstrable experience in carrying out and managing multiple kinds of tasks may have better job prospects.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma; undergraduate degree might be preferred
Degree Field Facilities management
Experience Varies by employer; at least 1-5 years of related experience might be required
Certification Voluntary professional certification is available
Key Skills Leadership, analytical and communication skills; detail-oriented; familiarity with budgeting techniques; basic maintenance skills in areas like carpentry, plumbing, housekeeping and electricity
Median Salary (2020)* $72,731 yearly (for facilities/maintenance director)
$68,869 (for director of environmental services)

Sources: Job postings from employers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), * (February 2020)

Step 1: Complete Required Education

Directors of maintenance and environmental services, sometimes referred to as facilities managers, can begin their career path by earning a high school diploma or GED equivalent. However, some employers prefer applicants with a college degree in an area like engineering, facilities management, or business. Associate's degree programs typically include courses in mechanical systems and code compliance, as well as general education topics. Bachelor's degree programs offer advanced training in construction management, engineering design, budgeting, and other relevant areas. Some programs require an internship that can show students how to design and coordinate facilities maintenance and services.

Success Tip:

One way to get a career as a facilities manager off to a good start can be to take related classes while in high school. High school classes in mechanical or wood shop skills could provide some relevant training for aspiring directors of maintenance and environmental services.

Step 2: Find Entry-Level Work

Prospective directors of maintenance and environmental services can enter the field as maintenance employees, environmental services aides, or participants in a management trainee program. New hires typically begin with routine maintenance and service work, like replacing filters, vacuuming rooms, or changing sheets. Additional duties might include administrative tasks, such as making, faxing, storing, and distributing documents.

Step 3: Get Certified

Voluntary certification can display a level of competency in general maintenance or management skills to prospective employers. One option is the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) designation offered by the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals. The CMRP designation doesn't have any education or experience requirements, but candidates will need to pass an examination. Another option is the International Facility Management Association's Certified Facility Manager credential, which requires anywhere from 3-8 years of experience based on type and level of education. The latest topics and issues regarding facilities maintenance and environmental services are addressed in continuing education and conference sessions provided by such professional associations and certification bodies. Participation in these organizations may increase one's chances for advancement.

A career as a director of maintenance and environmental services will require a minimum of a high school diploma, several years of experience, and the possibility of postsecondary education and certifications, depending on the employer's requirements. These professionals may start in entry-level positions in which they are assigned basic maintenance tasks, but the ability to complete work and show management skills can lead to a director position that involves overseeing other employees and ensuring all required facility needs and services are completed.

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