Building engineering has a clear path to advancement. If you work hard and stay persistent, you should be able to rise in the commercial real estate industry quickly.

Here’s a snapshot of what it takes to advance in building engineering, and your day-to-day responsibilities at various career levels:

Entry Level (0-3 years experience)

Whether you start off with the title of maintenance helper or assistant building engineer, the duties are often similar for an entry level candidate. Specific certifications for this position include previous experience or education in electrical, HVAC and plumbing maintenance. Broader skills that may be helpful at this level include communication and interpersonal skills, adaptability and the ability to self-motivate.

Here are the kinds of jobs you can apply for at this level:

  • Maintenance Helper
  • Maintenance Mechanic
  • Maintenance Technician
  • Assistant Building Engineer

Here are the recommended education and training courses:

  • Basic electricity
  • Basic HVAC
  • Basic Plumbing
  • OSHA 10-hour Course for General Industry

 

Mid-Level (3-5 years experience)

After a few years in the field, you’ll rise to maintenance mechanic or building engineer. New skills include operating a high pressure boiler operating system, and acute knowledge of fire safety protocol and project management techniques. You’ll grow your leadership and management skills, and help lead a small team by decision making, problem solving, and leading by example.

Here are the kinds of jobs you can apply for at this level:

  • Maintenance Mechanic
  • Maintenance Technician
  • Building Engineer

Here are the recommended education and training courses:

  • Low Pressure Boiler
  • CFC Universal
  • Basic Computer Skills
  • DDC Controls I
  • Pneumatics I
  • Electricity II
  • HVAC II
  • High Pressure Steam

 

Senior Level (5-10 years experience)

At this point in your career, you’ll be working toward a lead engineer, chief engineer, or regional management position. After leading a small team, you’ll be qualified to lead larger operating team and handle more big picture tasks. You’ll be expected to have intimate knowledge of local and national building codes, sustainability and energy management, as well as HR and due diligence. Soft skills include strategic thinking and project coordination, the ability to teach and train small teams and new engineering professionals, and analytic/budget skills.

Here are the kinds of jobs you can apply for at this level:

  • Lead Engineer
  • Assistant Chief Engineer
  • Chief Engineer
  • Regional Engineer
  • Regional Manager

Here are the recommended education and training courses:

  • Operating Engineer License
  • Mid-Level Computer Skills
  • OSHA 30-Hour Course for General Industry
  • DDC Controls II
  • Pneumatics II
  • Electrical III
  • HVAC III
  • Management Skills I

 

Executive Level (10+ years experience)

As a Vice President, Director, or Operations Manager, you’ll be expected to present to various executives, develop contract administration skills and financial management skills. Through your years of experience, you’ll be able to create best practices for small teams and the business as a whole, asset management and big picture things.

Here are the kinds of jobs you can apply for at this level:

  • Operations Manager
  • Director
  • Vice President
  • Senior Vice President

Here are the recommended education and training courses:

  • LEED Green Associate or Accredited Professional
  • Management Skills II

Grow Your Career with Soft Skills

A team of qualified professionals works together to ensure the integrity of every commercial building in the Washington, DC area, meaning the key to a successful career in building engineering is the ability to work well with a team. Being able to work as a member of a team — and to be able to step up and lead on a project or activity — is critical to the success of any career.

You can get ahead in your career by:

  • Working hard;
  • Committing to lifelong learning and development;
  • Seeking out new opportunities and challenges;
  • Working with one or more mentors who have achieved success in the industry and can guide you as you figure out your career path.