While some health facilities professionals feel they don’t have time to pursue certification — or lack awareness of the financial benefits — the Health Facilities Management, American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) and Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE) biennial salary survey finds that ASHE and AHE certifications consistently translate into higher paychecks — a trend that continues from previous salary surveys.
Versus noncertified colleagues, facilities managers with Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM) certification earned 9% more; and environmental services (EVS) managers with Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional (CHESP) certification earned a whopping 49% more.
Yet many managers are not taking advantage of the opportunity. The survey shows 34% of respondents have earned CHFM certification, and 5% of respondents have CHESP certification. A full 36% of respondents said they have no certification.
There are several factors impacting certification, including the time, cost and energy required to earn the credential. Others aren’t aware certification can bolster their earnings.
“If a manager is well-versed, earning CHESP may not be overly difficult, but so many are managing multiple departments that the time and commitment needed to get certified is not easy,” says Rock Jensen, AHE president-elect and administrative director of support services at Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, Ariz.
In terms of CHFM certification, the test is comprehensive across a large knowledge base, which can be a handicap for some applicants, says Shadie (Shay) R. Rankhorn Jr., SASHE, CHFM, CHC, ASHE president-elect and senior director of facilities management at Quorum Health, Brentwood, Tenn.
“For example, one applicant called me about not passing the CHFM test, and it turns out he had never built or managed a budget because his CFO did it, so he wasn’t knowledgeable in that area,” Rankhorn says.
While only a small percentage of hospitals require (versus prefer) certification, there are a number of reasons behind that trend.
“Health care has enough requirements,” says Patti Costello, executive director at AHE. “‘Strongly preferred’ is sufficient, but it’s time professionals take ownership and pride in their achievements and sell themselves and their skill sets. Quality health care requires competent people.”
Some hospitals don’t require certification because they don’t want to limit the candidates for open jobs, especially when slots are hard to fill, says Jensen. Another is the lack of awareness of the value of certification at the C-suite level, says Rankhorn.
But the survey shows a shift toward certification in terms of hospitals that prefer (versus require) the designation across most categories. For CHFM alone, hospitals who don’t require but prefer the credential jumped from 33% in 2019 to 47% in 2021.
Those numbers could rise as facilities managers take on more responsibility and fill roles that require higher levels of knowledge and training, says Chad Beebe, AIA, CHFM, CFPS, CBO, FASHE, deputy executive director at ASHE.
“Requiring certification shows an organization is highly reliable,” Beebe says. “It shows they are looking at the potential risk involved and ensuring they have the qualified people in place for every position. I think it’s extremely important to have a fully certified team that understands the uniqueness of the health care environment.”