Exploring the Role of Facilities Managers: Their Responsibilities, Career Progression, and Education

Exploring the Role of Facilities Managers: Their Responsibilities, Career Progression, and Education

Facilities management is a crucial aspect of any organization, ensuring the smooth operation of buildings, utilities, and services. At the core of this field are facilities managers who oversee and manage various aspects related to the maintenance, safety, and functionality of a company’s physical assets. In this article, we will delve into the role of facilities managers, examine different examples of their job scope, explore the necessary education and training, and provide insights on career progression within this field.

Understanding Facilities Managers

Facilities managers are responsible for the preservation, operation, and maintenance of an organization’s physical infrastructure. Their primary objective is to ensure that all facilities are safe and fully functional, in alignment with the specific needs of the business or institution. The duties of a facilities manager can encompass a wide range of responsibilities, including but not limited to overseeing the operations and maintenance of buildings, equipment, and systems, managing and coordinating facility services, assessing and addressing compliance with safety and environmental regulations, planning and executing office relocations or renovations, developing and implementing preventive maintenance programs, supervising contractors and service providers involved in facility-related projects, and managing budgets and resources allocated to facility management. Given the diverse nature of their responsibilities, facilities managers play a crucial role in optimizing the operational efficiency and productivity of an organization.

Education and Training

While there isn’t a specific degree required to become a facilities manager, a strong educational foundation in relevant fields is highly beneficial. Many professionals in this role possess a bachelor’s degree in facilities management, business administration, engineering, or a related discipline. However, extensive experience in facilities or property management can compensate for the lack of a formal degree. To further enhance their employability and knowledge, aspiring facilities managers can also pursue certifications such as Facilities Management Professional (FMP) or Certified Facility Manager (CFM), which are offered by industry organizations like the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). These certifications validate the individual’s expertise and demonstrate their commitment to professional growth. Moreover, facilities managers must continuously stay updated with the latest industry trends and regulations. Engaging in professional development activities and attending conferences or workshops can help them expand their knowledge base and network with other professionals in the field.

Career Progression

Facilities management offers a clear path for career progression, providing individuals with opportunities to grow and take on higher-level roles within the industry. The progression typically involves three key levels: entry-level, intermediate, and senior management. Beginning at the entry-level, individuals may start as facilities coordinators or assistants. In these roles, they gain hands-on experience in managing day-to-day facility operations, coordinating services, and assisting senior facilities managers. As they develop their skills and knowledge, they can progress to intermediate positions such as facilities supervisor or manager, where they take on increased responsibilities and oversight of larger projects. To advance to the senior management level, facilities managers need to exhibit exemplary leadership qualities and strategic vision. At this stage, they often handle multi-site or international operations, hold responsibility for broader strategic planning, and have budgetary authority. The senior management level may include positions like director of facilities or head of corporate real estate.

Entering the Field

For individuals new to the field of facilities management, there are several ways to enter and establish a successful career. Some options include pursuing an internship or entry-level position within a facilities management department to gain initial exposure and experience, obtaining relevant certifications and participating in professional development activities to demonstrate commitment to the field, joining professional organizations such as IFMA to access resources, job boards, and networking opportunities, and seeking mentorship from experienced facilities managers who can provide guidance and career advice. By leveraging these strategies, newcomers can build a foundation in facilities management and work their way towards fulfilling and exciting career opportunities in this field.


Facilities managers play a critical role in maintaining and optimizing the physical infrastructure of organizations. With their diverse responsibilities, they ensure the functionality, safety, and efficiency of facilities. By pursuing relevant education, acquiring certifications, and gaining experience, individuals can enter and progress within the field of facilities management, contributing to the overall success of organizations.

The salary for facilities managers varies based on job level, union membership, and geographic location. On average, facilities managers in the United States earn $90,355.20 at Level 09, $118,622.40 at Level 11, and $110,011.20 for those who are not able to be leveled. Full-time facilities managers earn an average salary of $106,392.00, with Level 09 earning $90,459.20, Level 11 earning $118,664.00, and those not able to be leveled earning $110,697.60. Time-based pay facilities managers earn an average salary of $105,622.40. Union membership can also impact the salary, with nonunion facilities managers earning an average salary of $105,643.20. Geographic location also plays a role, with facilities managers in Madison, WI, earning a higher average salary of $113,422.40 compared to the national average, while facilities managers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area have a lower average salary of $73,944.00.