Tricks Of The Trade: Credential Management

By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the April 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

QMost of the projects I have worked on have been new construction planning/completion. My question is this: Should I take the CFM [Certified Facility Manager] prep exam or FMP [Facility Management Professional]?

I am not sure which I am ready to tackle at this point in my career. I am leaning more toward the FMP credential, since I have more construction design/build tasks, with a facility management (FM) title. I am pretty sure I would benefit from that credential and would be able to take the CFM next year with the FMP certification. Any advice or shared experience would be appreciated.

Brian Schipper
Facilities Manager
CAD Design
Fayetteville, NC

AThe latest FM certifications are great tools and useful for learning the industry; however, if you do not have a degree, certifications are not replacements. Unfortunately, in the litigious world we live today it is very difficult for organizations to hire high level facility managers (fms) without some kind of validation of their capabilities in the form of a college degree, even though it may not directly relate. There are those in FM who do not have degrees, and I have found those who worked their way up the ladder to be of high caliber. Nevertheless, not having a degree can be limiting in this profession if you desire to be in upper leadership roles.

If you don’t have a college degree and you’re paying out of pocket for the certification, use your money toward an accredited degree. Most job vacancies ask for degrees in construction sciences, architectural, engineering, etc., but if you have significant FM experience any degree will work.

If you’re satisfied in the working ranks and skilled trades and can see a future in this, then the certification should prove helpful.

If you do already have a college degree, then you’ll want to focus on obtaining a wide variety of FM experiences. Certifications can help, but they do not replace experience. Take any project you can and do it well while getting along with people, meeting deadlines, and satisfying budget projections.

Also, look into the BOMA and BOMI certifications. The FMP and CFM are IFMA certifications. All are good programs!