Facilities management offers many opportunities to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Thanks to skills like problem-solving and adaptability, facilities management professionals play a pivotal role in supporting a wide range of businesses.
But first, what is facilities management? Facilities management oversees the seamless functioning of physical infrastructure for various organizations, ranging from K-12 education to healthcare institutions. These operational roles are vital for everything to run smoothly.
“Facility Management is an organizational function that integrates people, places, and processes within the built environment to improve the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.”International Facilities Management Association (IFMA)
Let’s dive into four reasons why facilities management is an attractive career, including the diversity of roles and the high demand for skilled workers.
1. Grow your skills in a multifaceted field
When choosing a career in facilities management, you can build your knowledge and skills through education, certifications, and practical experience.
Key skills to succeed in facilities management include:
- Technical proficiency
- Customer service
- Time management
Entry-level and technician positions typically do not require degrees. In other words, you can enter this field more easily based on your skill sets and previous experience.
If you plan to pursue a management position, you may consider degrees like a bachelor’s in business administration, construction management, or engineering, depending on your specific interests. Institutions may also offer a Bachelor of Science in facility management.
No matter which degree you are interested in, make sure it’s recognized by the IFMA. They offer the internationally recognized examination to become a Certified Facility Manager (CFM). You can also look up degrees based on location, type, concentration, and accreditation through the IFMA website.
Something else to keep in mind when deciding on a facility management degree is whether the course provides practical experience with local organizations. While you can look up opportunities on your own, joining a course that incorporates this simplifies the process.
What are common job titles in facilities management?
The role of a facilities manager might be a professional goal when you start your career in the field, but you may serve in different roles over the years, depending on your area of expertise and interests.
Common facilities management jobs include:
- Facilities Coordinator: Assists the Facilities Manager with administrative and project coordination tasks. This may include contractor and vendor management, inventory management for facility supplies and equipment, and ensuring proper communication across all teams about facility-related information.
- Maintenance Technician: Handles repair and maintenance tasks to ensure facilities operate as intended, from buildings to hardware and software.
- Energy Efficiency Specialist: Focuses on implementing energy-saving measures and sustainable practices to reduce the organization’s environmental impact.
- Space Planner: Optimizes facility layouts and uses them to create efficient and productive workspaces.
- Health and Safety Officer: Ensures compliance with safety regulations and promotes a safe environment for employees, customers, or facility residents.
- Facilities Manager: Overlooks day-to-day operations and strategic planning to maintain an efficient facility.
- Director of Facilities: Manages multiple facilities and develops long-term strategies for cost-effectiveness and business growth.
Learning through multiple facilities management roles gives you a thorough understanding of what institutions need to maintain and improve their operations to serve their community safely and effectively.
What is a typical career path?
Depending on your education, previous experience, and current industry, you may enter a facilities management career at different stages of a typical career path. However, if you are an early-career professional, getting a clear idea of what to expect in facilities management can help you optimize your credentials and practical development.
A facilities management career often starts on one of these key paths:
- Entry-level positions: These positions offer hands-on experience and allow individuals to understand facilities management fundamentals. Common roles include maintenance technicians, administrative assistants, and facilities coordinators.
- Specialization: As you gain experience, you may specialize in areas such as energy efficiency, sustainability, space planning, or health and safety. You may also continue to develop your skills across multiple areas depending on your opportunities and preferences.
- Mid-level management: Facilities managers oversee day-to-day operations, lead a team, and coordinate facility maintenance efforts. This position builds on previous hands-on experiences, like facility upkeep and improvement, and requires an increased strategy to drive operational efforts.
- Senior management: Directors of facilities play a central role in strategic planning, budgeting, and long-term facilities management strategies.
- Executive leadership: You may work your way up to an executive leadership role, like Chief Operating Officer (COO). In these positions, you take on broader responsibilities, collaborating with top-level executives to drive the organization’s overall direction.
Some seasoned facility managers may decide to become independent consultants or advisors rather than stay with a single organization. This way, they can provide valuable insights and tailored recommendations to help multiple institutions optimize their facilities management practices.
2. Embrace new equipment and technology
If you’re interested in staying up to date with evolving hardware and software, facilities management may be right for you. This professional field relies on a wide range of equipment and technology to ensure facilities run smoothly.
Commonly referred to as “hard services” and “soft services,” most roles in facilities management require continuous learning about how to operate specific equipment or software.
Facilities management professionals need to familiarize themselves with hard services, including HVAC, plumbing, lighting, fire safety systems, and construction. Soft services may involve space planning, information technology, energy management, or administrative services.
An incredibly valuable type of software that you may encounter is computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). They help facilities management professionals and organizations be more cost-effective and time-efficient.
FMX offers a streamlined solution that keeps all teams connected, allows management from a single interface, and provides personalized workflows. This type of easy-to-use, comprehensive technology plays a vital role in helping facilities managers perform their work and supports a wide range of goals and improvements.
Not all facilities management roles will require a detailed knowledge of every type of equipment and software. However, you will familiarize yourself with many of them throughout your career.
3. Facilities management is in high demand
In addition to ensuring facilities operate smoothly, many institutions and businesses are interested in increasing accessibility to their buildings and implementing energy-efficient and environmentally friendly practices to support their communities better. Integrating advanced software like FMX also requires trained professionals.
How much do facilities managers earn?
As of June 2023, the median salary for a Facilities Manager in the United States stands at $112,053 (Salary.com), compared to $99,290 in 2021, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects a 7% career growth between 2021 and 2031, which would add 23,600 facilities managerial positions.
Many fields like education, healthcare, and government continue to rely heavily on facilities to perform their services. The need for facilities management professionals continues to provide a lucrative career path. Some of these sectors are especially in need of new staff.
For example, K-12 education has been experiencing a staff shortage nationwide and facilities management roles are in high demand. Their skills and experience can help streamline operations and improve school life for both staff members and students.
4. Make a difference in people’s lives
One of the most rewarding aspects of facilities management is providing lasting support to many communities. By helping keep organizations running smoothly, whether you are responsible for keeping areas clean or overseeing the budget for renovations, you help ensure that people can safely spend time in those buildings.
Whether you are giving peace of mind to parents for their kids’ education, allowing doctors and nurses to care for patients, or ensuring a city’s officials can perform tasks for their inhabitants, you positively impact people’s lives on a daily basis.
Thanks to their versatility, facilities management careers can help communities thrive through:
- Safe and healthy environments: You accomplish this by implementing safety protocols, conducting regular inspections, and ensuring compliance with local and federal requirements to protect occupants’ well-being.
- Comfortable workspaces: Your responsibilities may include optimizing and maintaining indoor air quality, temperature, lighting, acoustics, and ergonomics. These tasks improve productivity and employee satisfaction.
- Improved accessibility: Making buildings accessible to all not only ensures compliance with accessibility standards, but also enables institutions to become more inclusive of their employees, customers, and/or residents. By offering equal opportunities to all, schools, hospitals, and other organizations enrich their community.
- Efficient operations: By streamlining maintenance processes and incorporating modern technologies and software, improved efficiency results in cost savings and allows institutions to allocate resources for other critical initiatives.
- Emergency preparedness: You may be involved in developing and implementing emergency response plans to save lives and minimize property damage during crises like fires, natural disasters, or medical emergencies.
- Sustainable and environment-friendly practices: Adopting sustainable practices is becoming increasingly common to reduce energy consumption, water usage, and waste generation.
Following a facilities management career path to fulfill your goals
Government institutions, healthcare facilities, K-12 schools, and other companies that own buildings require facilities management professionals. A career in this field helps you ensure these organizations and businesses can continue to support their communities and scale their operations and quality of service.
If you are ready to find a position in facilities management, you can check out the IFMA job board. It features current openings and resources to support you during the search and application process.