Maximize Your Potential with FM Certifications
Adam Thodarson, the Director of Facilities Management for Bouldering Project LLC, a recreational bouldering facility with ten locations, spends his time working on capital budgets, hiring, and training facility managers, and designing the company’s entire facility management program. He’s also responsible for health and safety programing, emergency action plans, employee safety manual protocols, as well as IT networks, deployment, and management. He attended the University of Washington and majored in visual arts and sculpture.
“When I started at the front desk, I didn’t know anything about facility management,” he said.
While talking to FMs from all over, we’ve learned that there is no one pathway to get from point A to point B to point B. So much of what FMs learn happens on the job, in real time, with real people.
But if you want to accelerate that process, learn to speak the language fluently, show initiative, and become an invaluable asset to your organization, then pursuing certifications is a great idea – particularly since the facility management position looks very different at every organization, and responsibilities may vary tremendously depending on team size, region, the age of the organization, and the state of the buildings.
Buildings, technology, best practices, and people are rapidly changing. There’s more technology in buildings. Buildings are constantly being repurposed, recycled, reimagined and in the process their care, upkeep, and maintenance keep changing. Buildings also consume resources, including gas, water, electricity, and air. Finally, unhealthy buildings = unhealthy people.
There are lots of certifications offered by professionals in the field who you would never get a chance to meet because you’re onsite working.
Thodarson recommends that FMs pursue The Certified Facility Manager (CFM) certification, offered by IFMA. He also suggested looking into courses offered by the Project Management Institute because FMs are always managing projects.
Jim Theiss, the Facility and Security Director at Westwood Community Church,recommends contacting the National Association of Church Facilities Managers, which offers a certification program.
If you’re in healthcare, a desirable certification is the CHFM, offered through ASHE, according to Dee Smith, Facilities Manager Hawthorne Cat.
“This is the leading credential for you to meet the increased needs for sustainable operations and improve the triple bottom line for your company,” she said.
Lipperman also recommends NFPA Classes such as NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, and NFPA 99.
For higher education facilities managers, there’s APPA’s Certified Educational Facilities (CEFP) credential. USGBC’s LEED Green Associate and their other advanced certifications are great, too, according to Diana Burns.
“I’m currently considering a WELL certification,” she said. “Some certificates that are more unconventional, but I believe are useful because of the importance of leadership in these roles, is IDEOU, which is a company that focuses on innovative and collaborative approaches that infuse design thinking principles, community participation models, and strategic planning.”
Whether you’re new in your career, or you’ve reached a plateau and you want to explore options, there’s tremendous value in education – to improve your skill set, elevate your service to people, and help team members in the field.
If there are other certifications you’d like to recommend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.