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Certification and education opportunities for improving a facilities management career

Like most career fields today, facilities management and facility managers face an increasing amount of change. People entering the facility manager job field come from diverse backgrounds, including those with business degrees, architects, engineers, administrators and those specifically with facilities management degrees.

Often confronted with a “do more with less” business environment, being a successful facility manager depends on a broad range of experience, education and technology. Let’s look at some key educational options that help prepare and expand a facility manager’s understanding of facilities management and also some of the best skills for any facility manager to cultivate.

Education options

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is a global organization for facility management professionals. Their Certified Facility Manager (CFM) credential is acknowledged as the industry standard “for ensuring the knowledge and competence of practicing facility managers.” There are certain basic education and experience prerequisites necessary to apply before a candidate is assessed in 11 different areas through a comprehensive exam. To summarize, these business areas include:

· Communication skills

· Emergency preparedness and business continuity

· Environmental stewardship

· Finance

· Human factors

· Leadership and strategy

· Operations and maintenance

· Project management

· Quality control

· Real estate and property management

· Technology utilization

These closely match the different experience areas that all facility manages should develop throughout of their careers.

Another certification option is the Building Owners and Managers Institute International (BOMI) Facilities Management Certificate(FMC).

Though significantly smaller in scope, the FMC focuses specifically on how to operate, manage and maintain facilities at peak efficiency. Only three courses are necessary to complete the certification.

Similar courses are also offered through traditional universities. One example of this is the University of Washington’s Certificate in Facility Management. An eight-month weekend program, the coursework aligns with IFMA’s recommended focus areas and covers:

· Key concepts in commercial facility management, strategic planning and real estate issues

· Current sustainability trends, alternative energy, LEED certification, green building methods and technology innovations

· Design processes for coordinating with architects, planners, engineers and contractors

· Techniques for managing staff and communicating with tenants

IFMA’s Facility Management Professional (FMP) certification is designed for individuals transitioning into the facilities management profession such as architects, designers, safety engineers and service providers who want to increase their knowledge of core facilities management topics. The curriculum covers four foundational areas to build practical skills, add value and drive cost-savings to any organization. These include:

· Operations and maintenance

· Project management

· Finance and business

· Leadership and strategy

On average, individuals take 50 to 100 hours to complete all four courses and earn their FMP.

Lastly, IFMA’s Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP) is a more specialized certification focused on sustainable facility management practices. Coursework covers strategies and alignment for managing and operating sustainable facilities, including:

· Using knowledge-based and data-driven methods to develop valuable solutions

· Balancing sustainability and your organization’s corporate mission

· Impacting the bottom line by maximizing facility efficiency, streamlining building operations, and implementing cost-saving projects that positively impact the community

· LEED certification and green building trends

These SFP focus areas provide an overall picture of how facility managers can improve the sustainability of their facilities in all eight major categories of sustainable facility management as defined by IFMA: “energy, water, materials and resources, workplace management, indoor environmental quality, quality of services, waste and site impact.”

Through education, experience and using the right technology tools, a facility manager becomes an important link within any business – beyond daily building operations.


If you’d like to know how UpKeep’s CMMS solution can increase efficiency at your facility, contact sales for a live 1-on-1 demo.

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UpKeep is a trusted computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) providing a complete maintenance solution for any industry. It is a modern, intuitive, and efficient work order management system proven to simplify the workflow process. By closely tracking maintenance, UpKeep reduces downtime and paperwork, improves communication between managers and technicians, and provides detailed reporting for better insights into your maintenance requirements – all from a mobile device. Simplify your maintenance and start your free trial today.