Facilities managers are responsible for overseeing the operational activities of buildings and surrounding grounds. Find out about job responsibilities, degree program options, courses of study and professional certification.
Facilities planning and management focuses on the operation of commercial and industrial structures, such as office buildings or large shopping complexes. Bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in this field. Some schools offer minors and specializations in facilities planning and management.
With a degree in facilities planning and management, you could become a facilities manager or a convention planner. Facilities managers handle repairs and upkeep, manage indoor and outdoor design, oversee security, supervise maintenance and direct cleaning crews. Convention planners direct specific events, such as readying a building for a wedding or finding a location to hold a conference. They also arrange for refreshments, seating, transportation and supplies.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that between 2012 and 2022, employment would increase by 12% for administrative service managers, including facilities managers, and by 33% for meeting, event and convention planners (www.bls.gov). As of May 2012, the median annual salary for event planners was $45,810, while for administrative service managers, it was $81,080, according to the BLS.
To start working in facility planning and management, you could earn a bachelor's degree or a minor in the field. Your coursework would combine principles of business, engineering and management so you can design interior spaces, manage building development and handle the financial aspects of building design and upkeep. Some facility management courses address project management, interior and exterior design, HVAC systems, creating an environment and hospitality facilities. With this training, you could become an event planner or a facilities manager.
Through a master's degree program or a specialization in facility planning and management, you'd study the ethics of financial management, learn how to make a profit managing real estate and other properties, identify environmental restrictions and assess ways to promote public health in building design. Some courses address how interior environments can affect people's attitude and mental health, methods for managing projects and common building materials. You'd also explore ways to manage domestic and international facilities, handle finances and improve a facility's performance. With this training, you could manage office buildings, real estate property, government buildings, schools, country clubs or shopping malls.
You can also earn a professional certification from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), which can improve your job opportunities and make you more apt to receive professional advancement and raises. IFMA offers two levels of certification (www.ifma.org). The Facility Management Professional credential is for industry professionals who have completed specific coursework. The Certified Facility Manager credential is for managers who meet specific education and experience criteria and pass the IFMA exam.
According to the BLS, to work in this field you must be able to communicate effectively, multi-task, meet deadlines, establish relationships and stick to a budget. Organizational skills, decisiveness and the ability to solve problems could also serve you. You need to be able to modify a room or a meeting space for a certain purpose and determine how to use the space most effectively.