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Online Education (online Facilities Management Degree Programs)

By Author: John Srob
Total Articles: 215

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.

Program Coursework

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

Popular careers

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

Continuing Education, Credentials and Certification

Certification, while not mandatory, can be beneficial for facilities managers. The IFMA offers a Facilities Management Professional (FMP) credential program both to current facilities managers and to those embarking on careers in the field. 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 Certified Facility Manager (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.

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.

Program Coursework

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

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.

Program Coursework

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

Popular Careers

Individuals may decide to attain FMP credentials and gain work experience in preparation for the CFM exam. Careers in hospitals and other healthcare facilities can include:

Assistant director in facilities management
Facilities maintenance specialist
Data center facilities manager

This online program is designed for individuals who currently work within the facility management profession and desire to broaden their understanding of facility management. Individuals with job titles and responsibilities such as facility manager, building manager/supervisor, building owner, facility planner and support staff, architect, architectural technician, designer, engineer, furniture industry designer, and facility management service consultant will benefit from these courses.

You will learn concepts and procedures of facility planning, programming, budgeting, project management, office productivity measurements, and operations management; along with operating systems within facilities, and the methodologies used to keep those systems operational, concepts such as life cycle costs, value engineering and building diagnostics including methods for estimating and planning staff and financial resources. Courses within the FM Online Certificate program help prepare students for successful completion of the International Facility Management Associations (IFMA) Certified Facility Management exam.

Facilities managers are responsible for managing workspace. They oversee raw materials, equipment, and physical space where manufacturing and other work operations are conducted. In order to be a facilities manager, one must be trained in engineering, architecture, and information technology. Facilities managers are usually responsible for:

• Organizing workspace
• Budgeting
• Acquiring leases and managing real estate
• Supervising employees working for custodial, grounds, and maintenance crews

Facility managers are also responsible for ensuring employees work in safe environments and have access to equipment meant to protect their health and safety.

Facility managers typically hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees in facilities management, business administration, construction management, architecture, or engineering. Those obtaining formal training in facilities management enhance their employment opportunities since most organizations prefer to hire applicants with college degrees.

Most organizations also value applicants with effective communication, decision-making, and management skills. Since these management specialists are also responsible for managing multiple projects at a time, facility managers should also be good at multi-tasking.


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