How to ‘Level Up’ Your Facility Management Career

by James McDonald on May 29, 2019
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Sometimes you don’t choose a job; it chooses you.

There’s certainly some truth to that in facility management. The facility management career path isn’t always obvious, but the profession is gaining more recognition. Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics created a new job listing specific to facilities managers (SOC code 11-3013). This was a huge win that increases the likelihood more educational institutions will develop degree programs for the field.

Whether you’re a longtime facility management veteran or you’re interviewing for your first facility management job, here are a few ways to take the next step in your career.

5 Ways to Advance Your Facility Management Career

1. Get Facility Management Certification

Success in facility management requires a certain set of skills. More colleges and universities are beginning to offer facility management degree programs, and there are also a number of certifications available.

Becoming certified isn’t necessarily required to start your career, but it’s a great way to learn the vocabulary and fundamentals. It also shows potential employers you’re serious and committed to the role.

When it comes to getting certified, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is a great place to start. IFMA offers a number of professional credentials and certifications, including:

  • Facility Management Professional (FMP)
  • Certified Facility Manager (CFM)
  • Facility Management Learning System
  • Sustainability Facility Professional
  • RICS Chartered Qualification
  • RICS Associate Qualification

If you’re more involved in the day-to-day operations of a building, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International offers continuing education courses in specific areas, such as:

  • Asset management
  • Energy efficiency and sustainability (BEEP)
  • Foundations and real estate management
  • Industrial real estate

BOMI International, an independent institute for property management and facility management education, also offers a variety of designations and certifications, including:

  • Real Property Administrator (RPA)
  • Facilities Management Administrator (FMA)
  • System Maintenance Administrator (SMA)
  • Property Administrator (PAC)
  • Property Management Financial Proficiency (PMFP)

While many of the skills you need to succeed are learned on the job, these certifications will give you the foundational knowledge you need to speak the language of facility operations. They can also increase your earning power.

2. Become Well-Versed in Workplace Technology and Data

Today’s facility managers are expected to be strategic thinkers who play a key role in business operations. That means they need to be comfortable using workplace technology to make data-driven decisions about things like space management and maintenance.

At a minimum, FMs need a workplace management platform that allows them to keep track of occupancy, room reservations, service requests, and other critical functions. They also need to be familiar with facility management metrics and dashboards that can help them identify trends and present high-level recommendations to the C-suite.

3. Become an Advocate for the Employee Experience

Today’s facility managers are just as likely to hold the title “workplace strategist” or “head of workplace experience.” This shift reflects the changing nature of the role and the increased emphasis on employee engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

It’s a role that requires considering all the elements that make up the employee experience, from office design to technology in the workplace.

Facility managers seeking to advance in their careers should stay in close contact with the workforce and ask for frequent feedback through employee surveys and in other informal ways.

They should also stay up on the latest workplace trends and make recommendations based on what’s best for their organization.

4. Take on Stretch Assignments

Don’t know much about HVAC systems or the new lease accounting standards? All the more reason to get involved. Taking on new responsibilities is one of the best ways to grow in your facility management career. If you’re not sure where to get involved, listen closely during meetings to see what concerns come up most. Offer to find a solution, even if you’re not sure where to start.

The more you expand your skill set, the more value you’ll bring to your organization — and the more likely you are to be in the running for that next promotion!

5. Keep Learning

Just when you think you know all there is to know about facility management, something changes.

That’s why it’s so important to keep learning.

Commit to attending workplace conferences at least once a year—there are plenty of options! There are also tons of great workplace blogs you can follow and podcasts you can listen to.


In Facility Management, the Possibilities are Endless

It’s an exciting time to have a career in facility management. It’s one of the fastest-growing industries today, and although new technology is making facility management professionals more efficient, it’s not likely to replace them anytime soon.

While certain functions are becoming more automated, there’s no substitute for the strategic thinking this role requires.

To stay current on the latest technologies and trends in facility management, subscribe to our Workplace Innovator Podcast!


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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