How to Become a Facilities Engineer


What it Takes

Here is a basic outline of what it takes to become a facilities engineer:


1. Excel at Math, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry and English in high school

2. Make sure you have the right personal attributes for this work

3. Pursue a mechanical or industrial engineering degree

4. Get relevant work experience as a student via internship and co-op opportunities 

5. Get an entry-level facilities engineering job after graduation

6. Earn the ‘Professional Engineer’ designation once you’ve met the requirements

7. Advance into roles of greater responsibility and pay, consulting, specialized areas, research or teaching


Reading on below will give you a good idea of what you'll need to begin a career as a facilities engineer in the United States or Canada. We've also included helpful information for this field, such as what you’ll be doing, what you could earn, and actual “Facilities Engineer” job postings.



What Education Will I Need?

You’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical or Industrial Engineering to become a facilities engineer. Fields such as Civil or Electrical Engineering may also be relevant, but are less frequently sought after by employers. Some employers may require a master’s degree, but this is fairly uncommon outside of positions in academia and research. 





What is a Facilities Engineer?

Facilities engineers are responsible for developing and implementing the various systems that enable a manufacturing plant to function. They design the layout for the production process and are involved in designing the climate control, lighting, water, power and other utility systems within the space.



What Do They Do?

Although their duties can vary, facilities engineers are generally responsible for performing the following duties:


• Performing cost and timeline estimates

• Planning and coordinating maintenance and calibration procedures

• Directing department personnel as needed

• Introducing efficient and effective maintenance methods

• Researching relevant regulatory procedures 

• Analyzing and planning space requirements and layout of equipment to ensure maximum workflow efficiency

• Evaluating and improving facilities and manufacturing methods

• Supporting initiatives to evaluate capacity and manage continuous improvement

• Developing safety procedures ad provide training as needed

• Developing facility management control systems



What Experience Will I Need?

Most entry-level facilities engineering jobs don’t require any work experience above what you gain as part of an internship while completing your engineering degree. Mid and senior-level roles often require 3-5 years of experience working in lower level roles, with progressive amounts of responsibility in those roles, as well as Professional Engineer certification. 



What Licensure/Certification Will I Need?

You will need to be licensed as a Professional Engineer (“PE” - United States; “P.Eng.” - Canada) in order to exercise direct control of a public project and to supervise other engineers and engineering technicians. You will also need to have the PE/P.Eng. designation in order to sell your own engineering services publicly. You won't need to have the Professional Engineer designation to be hired on as an engineer-in-training, which involves working under the supervision of a licensed engineer.



How to Become Licensed

Licensing requirements typically involve completion of an engineering degree, completion of a set number of supervised working hours, and passing an exam. However, these requirements can vary, so please contact your provincial/territorial/state engineering association for full details on becoming licensed.



What Courses Should I Take in High School?

Math, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry and English are considered most applicable courses to post-secondary studies in engineering. Excelling in these areas will serve as excellent preparation for this career while you’re a high school student, and will help you qualify for engineering degree programs.



Should I Become a Facilities Engineer?

No matter what stage of your career development you’re at, you should have the following attributes if you hope to one day become a facilities engineer:


• Natural abilities in math, science and engineering

• A keen interest in making machines, facilities and processes efficient 

• An interest in possibly traveling for work, and meeting new people

• An interest in a career with seemingly endless opportunities for advancement and new opportunities 

• An interest in mentoring new hires

• An interest in a career that involves a wide-range duties, and the application of a wide range of skills

• An interest in directing the work of others

• A confident yet approachable personality

• Willingness to take on responsibility and make decisions

• Willingness to work long hours when needed

• A results-oriented approach to work activities

• Willingness to keep up with developments in the field, such as safety codes and approaches to industrial design





Working Conditions

Hours: You would likely work normal business hours, although sometimes hours may need to be altered or extended in order to meet deadlines, or observe production. Periods of travel may also be required to observe other facilities, or attend meetings and conferences.


Setting: Depending on your tasks, you could work both in an office and in the facility itself. For example, you might work on the factory floor when watching workers assemble parts or use machinery, or work in an office at a computer when performing technical work, such as analyzing data and preparing specifications.


Environment: You would often work with other professionals, including operations managers, production managers, and other stakeholders. Your work can be quite stressful, such as when dealing with resistance to your ideas/proposals, or when facing tight deadlines. 


Hazards: There are few workplace hazards for facilities engineers in general, but those working in the field must be aware of onsite hazards that can include construction equipment, H2S leaks and rotating equipment.



What is the Salary Level?

Facilities Engineers belong to both the Mechanical Engineers occupational group, who as a collective earn a median salary of $83,590 per year in the United States, and the Industrial Engineers group who collectively earn a median salary of $83,470 per year. 



More About Salary Levels

As mentioned above, the salary level you could earn as a facilities engineer can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your level of education, experience and certification

• The level of responsibility involved in your job

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The industry in which you work

• Many other factors


Facilities Engineer Salary - Canada: “Facilities Engineers” belong to both the Mechanical Engineers and Industrial Engineers occupational groups. According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the overall average salary of Albertans working in the Mechanical Engineers group is $107,815 , and that of workers in the Industrial Engineers group is $81,018 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 11, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall median salary level of Americans working in the Mechanical Engineers group is $83,590 per year, and that of workers in the Industrial Engineers group is $83,470 per year.



Who Creates Jobs for Them?

Organizations that employ facilities engineers are typically those that are in the business of processing, refining, handling, manufacturing or treating petrochemicals, gases, water, waste, bulk materials, minerals, food products or manufactured products for use in other processes or for sale to others. 



Are Jobs Available?

Our job board below has "facilities engineer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available. Take a look and see if there's anything suitable for you:




What Career Advancement Options Are There?

If you demonstrate a strong work ethic, dedication, competence, and an interest in continuously challenging yourself professionally, you will have plenty of diverse opportunities to advance into roles of greater responsibility and pay as you gain experience.


For example, with enough experience you could eventually move into a supervisory or management role, such as project engineer or project manager. You could also become a highly valued specialist in a specific area of facility engineering as you become more familiar with the various stages and scopes of facilities engineering projects.


You could also move into teaching and research roles, or become a consultant in the field of facilities engineering and management. Some of these roles, particularly for teaching and research, would require a graduate degree. 



What are Similar Careers?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “facilities engineer”:


• Energy Auditor

• Industrial Engineer

• Maintenance Engineer

• Maintenance Manager

• Plant Engineer

• Reliability Engineer

• Site Engineer

• Sports Facility Manager



What Scholarships Are There for Aspiring Facilities Engineers? 

The “Relevant Majors in Our Database” section below lists fields of study that are relevant for getting the required education to work in this field. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a facilities engineer:


• Occupational Profile: “Mechanical Engineer.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 18, 2019.

• Occupational Profile: “Industrial Engineer.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 18, 2019.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Industrial Engineers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 27, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Mechanical Engineers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 27, 2017.

• Career Profiles: “Facilities Engineer.” (n.d.). Newfoundland & Labrador - Petroleum Industry Human Resources Committee. Retrieved February 27, 2017.


Please Note: Some of the information used for this career guide was obtained from actual job postings, which due to their brief online presence are not listed here as references. 



Relevant Majors in Our Database

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a facilities engineer. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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