Learn About Being a Facilities Manager
What does a facilities manager do?
Facilities managers oversee the maintenance and upkeep of commercial properties, making sure the buildings and grounds are properly cared for. They supervise on-site staffing and handle scheduling and budgeting for everything from regular repairs to major construction projects. Facilities managers are also referred to as business services managers, support services managers or contracts managers. Their responsibilities include:
Making sure that buildings meet all health and safety standards and are kept up to code
Hiring third-party services as needed for maintenance, repairs, cleaning, landscaping, parking and other needs
Maintaining records of all payments to and contracts with third-party services, and managing the budget to make sure these services are handled in a cost-effective manner
Scheduling and coordinating refurbishments, maintenance and new installations for projects that may range from the installation of new lights to the construction of amenities
Inspecting the facility and grounds to identify areas that need maintenance, cleaning, updates or other types of attention
Overseeing maintenance, cleaning, groundskeeping, repair, construction and parking crews on the property and instructing them on the necessary tasks
Facilities managers are typically employed full time, working 40 hours a week. Common hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. These professionals may work overtime hours on occasion, particularly when there’s a pressing maintenance issue or emergency that they need to handle immediately.
Common salary in the U.S.: $60,749 per year
Some salaries range from $15,000 to $136,000 per year.
Facilities manager requirements
There are many forms of education, training and credentialing available to prepare you for a job as a facilities manager.
Some businesses will hire facilities managers with as little as a high school diploma or equivalent, particularly if the applicant has extensive experience with building maintenance. However, a related degree will increase your employability in this field.
You may choose to pursue an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Facilities Management. These programs focus on basic maintenance and repair topics related to heating and cooling, security systems and plumbing. They also cover subjects like project management, labor relations, facility assessment, financial management, space planning, building operations and sustainability.
Some schools offer a Master of Science in Technology, Facilities Management degree. This advanced degree includes courses on contract management, telecommunications infrastructure, emergency management and facilities engineering systems.
Individuals who aren’t interested in a full degree program can often attend a brief training course in facilities management at a local college or technical school. These typically last for three or four weeks and provide a general overview of the necessary skills and knowledge for a successful facilities manager.
On-the-job training for facilities managers is usually minimal. New managers may receive a tour of the facility and grounds and a brief introduction to the company, but extensive training is not typically necessary. These professionals have many options for preparing themselves independently for this career path, including education and experience.
The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offers five certifications for facilities managers:
Facility Management Professional (FMP)
To earn the FMP credential, candidates must review the provided study materials and pass each of four assessments with a score of 75% or higher within a 65-minute time limit. Each assessment has 50 questions. There are no renewal requirements to keep an FMP valid.
Certified Facility Manager (CFM)
The CFM credential demonstrates advanced knowledge that includes topics such as occupancy and human factors, operations and maintenance, sustainability, technology management, risk management, communication, leadership, finance, real estate and project management. The exam covers 11 competency areas and includes a total of 160 questions. Certification is valid for three years.
To maintain certification, individuals must complete a total of six approved activities which include continuing education, practicing as a facilities manager, publishing articles related to the industry, participating in surveys or focus groups and more.
Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP)
The SFP credential demonstrates your expertise in sustainability practices. Candidates complete an interactive program consisting of three modules. To earn the SFP credential, you must earn a score of 75% or higher on each of the three tests associated with these modules.
The Managing Sustainable Facilities test and Strategy and Alignment for Sustainable Facility Management test each have 50 questions and a 65-minute time limit. The Operating Sustainable Facilities test has 100 questions and a 130-minute time limit. This certification provides 30-70 general CE hours toward LEED maintenance.
RICS Chartered Qualification (MRICS)
Individuals with the MRICS chartered qualification report increased earnings of up to $16,000 a year. To earn this qualification, you must complete written assessments and an in-person interview demonstrating both technical and soft skills.
Core competencies include supplier management, maintenance management, environmental management, project financial control, reporting and more. Mandatory competencies include health and safety, data management, team working, client care and business planning.
RICS Associate Qualification (AssocRICS)
Facilities managers with at least four years of experience or an RICS credential may apply for this qualification. You need to submit a record of 48 hours of continuing professional development, a 3,000-word summary of your experience, a 2,500-word case study and online ethics assessment. You must also demonstrate competency in at least six technical areas.
LEED Green Associate
The LEED credential demonstrates your proficiency in sustainable design, construction and operations. To earn this credential, applicants must pass a 100-question multiple-choice exam in two hours. To maintain the credential, you need to earn 15 continuing education hours within two years of passing the initial exam.
A well-rounded skillset helps facilities managers manage the diverse responsibilities included in this job.
Communication: Strong communication skills are necessary, as facilities managers oversee many individuals. These managers create schedules, assign tasks and explain jobs to their team members.
Budgeting: Facilities managers are responsible for maintaining a budget for the property. Budgeting skills will help them complete all required tasks while staying within the company’s means.
Time management: Proper facilities management requires a detailed schedule of activities that includes prompt repairs, routine inspections and timely maintenance. Professionals must know how to finish tasks on schedule.
Problem solving: Facilities managers regularly assess issues and determine the best course of action. They must use their problem-solving skills to determine when to schedule a repair versus a replacement.
Facilities manager work environment
Facilities managers usually work at a single location, providing focused management services for that property. However, some companies manage multiple properties and task a single facilities manager with handling them all. In these cases, the manager will travel from one location to another as needed.
This job requires walking, reaching, standing and lifting. Facilities managers may be exposed to dust, oil, noise or fumes.
Common industries in which facilities managers work include:
How to become a facilities manager
There are many paths to becoming a facilities manager, with numerous opportunities for advanced education and certification. The following steps can help you get started in an entry-level position:
1. Complete your education
Get a minimum of a high school diploma. An associate degree or higher will increase your employability.
2. Gain basic maintenance skills
A facilities manager must be familiar with the basic parts of a building’s construction including the heating and cooling systems, security systems and plumbing. General maintenance work can help you gain these skills.
3. Obtain leadership experience
Facilities managers must oversee other individuals and teams. Gain leadership experience either in another job or through volunteer activities so you can demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and manage others.
4. Prepare your resume
Highlight your familiarity with building maintenance and groundskeeping tasks where applicable to your resume. Include any leadership experience and highlight skills such as project management. You can strengthen your resume with industry certifications.
5. Apply for facilities manager positions
Search for facilities management positions in your area. Other job titles used for this type of position include facilities coordinator, facilities director, facilities supervisor or maintenance director. You can try searching for all of these job titles to find a suitable position.
Facilities manager job description example
Seeking a facilities manager for our office facility who can streamline operations to ensure the most efficient use of equipment and space while keeping the budget reasonable. Responsibilities include supervising the parking program, cleaning crews and maintenance schedule. You will also oversee the development of new facilities, such as the on-site workout room currently planned for our employees. You will routinely inspect the property for safety and code violations and check all office, communications and HVAC equipment regularly, scheduling repairs and preventative maintenance services as needed.
The ideal candidate for this position is organized, dependable and self-motivated. We are seeking applicants with a working knowledge of facilities systems such as heating, cooling, plumbing and electricity. You should be able to diagnose common facility maintenance issues and find the quickest and most cost-effective way to keep the building operational. If you’re a strong leader who’s ready to enhance the efficiency, safety and comfort of our property, we want to hear from you.
If you’re interested in the general duties of a facilities manager but want to explore related positions, consider some of the following jobs:
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