The landscape of facilities management is ever-changing. And how one gets a job in FM is no different. What was once reserved for those moving up the ranks from technician or mechanic on to manager, or being switched from a different department, has evolved into a third option: getting a degree in facilities management.
More and more young people have seen how the power of a degree can help them get the job that they want. These versatile young people step out into the world armed with the knowledge on a broad range of topics, including business aspects like finance and budgeting, to hands-on expertise like building automated systems, as well as being completely comfortable with new technology. Giving them an edge over the traditional measures of getting a FM job.
Graduating with a degree in facilities management can also carry with it a new perspective on how things work. Because anyone who gets a degree in FM is a driven individual who has made a conscious effort to work only in that world.
But don’t be discouraged if going back to school isn’t possible for you. There just isn’t enough people getting degrees in facilities management for the industry to change the standard and make a degree a pre-requisite, and not enough schools offering a program. However, there is no doubt that having a degree would give anyone an advantage.
Although there now are several higher education programs in facility management, I think the majority of people still enter the field from various levels and with various backgrounds.
Says Kathy Roper, associate professor and chair of integrated facility management at Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Building Construction.
So while having a degree could set you apart from others, even if you are a seasoned facilities manager already in position, they are not a necessary part of the job. Especially if you are experienced in your field.
Though if going back to school and getting a degree in facilities management (or any degree in a related field) sounds like a viable option, before you do, consider these 3 aspects:
1. Are you already established at a facilities job where getting a degree could help you advance to an executive/administrative level?
2. What benefits would you get from going back to school to get a facilities management degree?
3. Do you think you could get the job you want without the degree?
Otherwise, consider that as long as you are driven, adaptive, customer-focused, and motivated to achieve, you will likely do just fine in the end, and a degree may just need to wait.
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