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How to Become a Facilities Director: Education and Career Roadmap

Find out how to become a facilities director. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in facilities management.

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Should I Be a Facilities Director?

Facilities directors oversee the maintenance, safety, and cleanliness of a facility. Job responsibilities may also include management of staff, budgets, vendor contracts, and special projects. Overtime may be required, and many facilities directors work on an on-call basis.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Facilities management or related field
Experience 5-10 years in related positions
Key Skills Project management and leadership skills
Median Salary (2016) $86,036

Source: Payscale.com

Steps to Be a Facilities Director

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Some schools offer undergraduate programs in facilities management. These programs often include courses in architecture, financial analysis, real estate, and contracts. A more common degree is in architectural engineering, where students learn about lighting, mechanical systems, and structural systems of buildings. Students may also take courses in project management.

You will want to strengthen your leadership skills. Facilities directors often have management responsibilities. Students can sharpen their leadership skills by becoming leaders in extracurricular clubs or volunteer organizations.

Step 2: Gain Experience

With a bachelor's degree in facilities management or a related field, individuals can qualify for work as facilities coordinators or assistants. These professionals usually report to facilities managers, and they may help analyze budgets, re-stock supplies, and communicate with facility vendors. They can also gain experience in the day-to-day activities of facilities maintenance and sharpen their customer service skills.

It's a good idea to build a network of contacts. A facilities director needs to know a variety of vendors and specialists to help keep a building running smoothly. In addition, the facilities manager may need guidance from city and government officials related to building codes, fire safety, and permits. Building a network of resources can help prospective facilities directors manage their work more efficiently.

Step 3: Become Certified

Although not required, many employers prefer applicants with professional certification. The International Facility Management Association offers the competency-based Certified Facility Manager (CFM) credential. To be eligible, candidates must have a minimum level of experience and education; they also need to pass an exam.

Individuals with experience in healthcare facilities management can earn the American Hospital Association's Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM) credential. To be eligible for this certification, candidates must have a combination of education and experience in healthcare facility management and pass an exam that contains 110 questions.

Step 4: Maintain Certification

Both the CFM and the CHFM credential are valid for three years. Individuals need to accumulate 120 points in order to renew the CFM certification; points are earned through continuing education courses or professional development activities, such as lecturing, publishing, or consulting. The CHFM designation can be renewed by completing 45 hours of continuing education or re-taking the certification exam. The CFM and the CHFM credential can enhance career advancement and boost career opportunities.

Facilities directors oversee the maintenance, safety, and cleanliness of a facility. They have college degrees and years of relevant experience in addition to project management and leadership skills, and they earn a median annual salary of $86,036.

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