A master's degree can be considered a terminal degree in this field. Professional certificates are also offered for both current and aspiring facilities managers. Courses are likely to address project management, finance, operations, emergency management and sustainability. Internships in professional healthcare settings could be part of the curricula of some programs. Facilities managers may pursue voluntary certification. Facilities management programs are commonly available online.
Bachelor's Degree in Facilities Management
Students who wish to earn a degree in facilities management can pursue select degree programs accredited by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), a certification organization for the industry. These programs can generally be completed in four years, and some schools require students to complete an internship, which offers hands-on experience. This career involves multiple disciplines, and knowledge of architecture, mathematics, psychology and managerial skills can prove beneficial. Some colleges may require prospective graduates to complete a capstone project and thesis. To be considered for admission, students need to be high school graduates.
The curriculum typically includes certain general education courses, such as English, world studies and science. Since facilities managers can be involved in so many aspects of running a building, students take part in a diverse curriculum. Courses can include:
- Business and contract law
- Building design
- Financial analysis and accounting
- Project and personnel management
- Introduction to business statistics
Master's Program in Facilities Management
Graduates determined to expand their knowledge of the constructional, managerial and architectural aspects of facilities management can obtain master's degrees. Like undergraduate programs in facilities management, certain Master of Science programs in the subject can be accredited by the IFMA. The 2-3 year programs often require the completion of a master's thesis. In addition, students with prior work experience may be eligible to earn advanced standing credits towards their degree. All applicants need to have a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission.
Many colleges and universities offer evening courses for students who work during the day. Subjects covered can include:
- Facility maintenance and operation
- Environmental issues
- Property development
- Real estate management
- Managerial finance
Professional Certificate in Facilities Management
Completion of a certificate program in facilities management can benefit individuals with formal degrees in the field, for those already working or for those changing careers. These programs can be completed in approximately two years, although some schools allow students five years to finish them. Most programs consist of both required and elective courses covering topics recognized by the IFMA, such as operations and maintenance, real estate, leadership and quality assessment. Educational prerequisites vary by certificate program.
Students need to take 9-11 required units and 9-15 elective units. Their options may include such classes as:
- Property assets
- Emergency preparedness
- HVAC systems
- Sustainable design
- Facilities management principles
Facilities management professionals may need to spend time outdoors or travel to construction sites. They may also need to work overtime during the week and be on-call during evenings and weekends. Graduates who manage healthcare facilities can work as:
- Healthcare environmental service managers
- Sustainable hospital design consultants
- Hospital plant operations directors
Individuals may decide to attain Facilities Management Professional (FMP) credentials and gain work experience in preparation for the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) exam. Careers in hospitals and other healthcare facilities can include:
- Assistant director in facilities management
- Facilities maintenance specialist
- Data center facilities manager
Continuing Education, Credentials and Certification
Certification, while not mandatory, can be beneficial for facilities managers. The IFMA offers the FMP credential program both to current facilities managers and to those embarking on careers in the field (www.ifma.org). This program covers the basics of facilities management and can be administered online. Having an FMP credential can be helpful to those who wish to take the IFMA-administered CFM exam, a 4-hour test covering such topics as operations, maintenance and project planning. Education and work experience requirements for the CFM exam can vary.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for administrative service managers, which includes facility managers, was expected to increase by 6% between 2019 and 2029, which was as faster than average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that there would be a strong demand for facility managers due the greater focus given to the energy efficiency and environmental impact of buildings. In addition, PayScale.com reported that as of March 2021, the median annual salary for facility managers was $64,321.
Facilities management training is available at the certificate, bachelor's and master's degree levels and prepares graduates to manage buildings in a variety of industries, including healthcare. Though certification is not required, several certifications from professional organizations are available for facilities managers.