One of the common questions

people have after they’ve worked on or in hospitals and healthcare facilities for a while is “Which ASHE certification should I get?” It’s a valid question. That said, there are two underlying assumptions and a career question that also need to be understood before answering the question.


  • The credential issuing body is valid

  • Certifications are useful in fowarding a career

  • You understand the expectations you have and the direction you want to take your career





The American Society for Healthcare Engineering, or ASHE, is the largest and most recognized association for healthcare facility professionals.  “With more than 12,000 members, ASHE is the largest association devoted to professionals who design, build, maintain, and operate hospitals and other health care facilities. ASHE members include health care facility managers, engineers, architects, designers, constructors, infection control specialists, and others.”  ASHE seeks to provide direction, training, and standardization of best practices for facility managers, designers, and constructors.  These practices are geared toward code compliance and maintaining the best environments for patients and visitors of healthcare facilities.  As they claim “ASHE is committed to our members, the facilities they build and maintain, and the patients they serve.”



Choosing to acquire either the Certified Health Facility Manager (CHFM) or Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC) certification is an aspiration worth pursuing.  It will create opportunities for career advancement and denotes a stability and competency that healthcare organizations often demand.  Part of this is associated with the issuing body (ASHE) being a sub-group of the American Hospital Association (AHA), and part of the prestige is due to the requirements being strict enough that not everybody can pay some money and walk out with the certification.  Before being able to take the test one must demonstrate 5-10 years of healthcare facility or construction experience, with a college degree reducing the time of direct experience needed.

I have searched for information detailing how the CHFM or CHC credentials affect one’s career and have discovered that there’s really not a whole lot of information out there beyond two surveys done by Health Facility Manager Magazine.  The survey I initially became acquainted with was their 2012  Salary Survey, which was updated in 2015.  Both articles are excellent reading and offer great insight to the healthcare facility world.  The most exciting news for those seeking certifications is found on page 3 of the 2015 survey, where it outlines that credential holders are payed up to 25% more than non-credential holders, and that credential holders are preferred when it comes to making hiring decisions.  


Personally, I saw the benefits of the certification when shortly after I passed my CHC credential exam I received a 20% raise and a promotion.


The third variable when deciding which ASHE certification to pursue is yourself and your career and life aspirations.  Healthcare contractors can be very well compensated, but frequently have a greater instability than facility managers do.  Facility managers can be well compensated, but generally have more stability than contractors.  Your desires and interests all play a role in the best path for you.




So, back to the first question: “Which ASHE certification should I get?”  It really depends on you and your chosen career path. Facility Managers (CHFM) and hospital constructors (CHC) both have challenging and rewarding careers.  The facility manager career track is typically very stable and suited to someone who likes a routine and going to the same place to work every day.  The healthcare constructor career track can be more variable and offers something new every day, but this newness may require traveling to different construction sites as construction projects inevitably come to an end.  Ultimately, the knowledge required for the CHFM and CHC certifications has a high degree of overlap.  As I looked for practice exams, study guides, and materials to study for the CHC exam, much of what I studied was CHFM material. Either credential is likely preferred for open management positions dealing directly with healthcare facilities.  However, having the CHC credential will give you more confidence in applying for project type positions, while the CHFM credential will give you more confidence in  applying for operations type positions.


Employed vs. Employable

Are you securely employed?  

Have you been impacted by an unstable economy?  

Do you desire more security?  

Do you want to know the secret to being securely employed?

I’ve thought quite a bit about this and have concluded that job security is not equal to being employed.  Instead, job security comes from being employable.  Now before you shout me down or write me off for being crazy, hear me out. Yes, there is an assurance and confidence associated with being employed, being a producer and productive.  But having a job isn’t enough to be secure.  I’ve had jobs before where I felt little to no job security.  Yes, I had work, but at one place I was limited by the glass ceiling of not being family in a family-owned business.  Another job I had was a never ending stream of brainless tasks.  Moving irrigation lines on a dairy farm was another job that wasn’t going to go away any time soon.  We’ve all been there, or know somebody that has.  But an enjoyable life is more than that.   All of these jobs were just that- jobs.  Clock in for a paycheck.  Getting paid to do, not to think.  Jobs that became so miserable that I brought them home with me.  Those were the worst ones, the ones my wife encouraged me to quit because being miserable wasn’t worth the paycheck.  Where’s the security in that?  There is none.

How to be employable

What’s the solution, the secret of being securely employed?  Simple, it’s to be employable.  This goes beyond showing up on time and working hard, but certainly includes those.  You don’t even have to be passionate about your job.  We’ve all heard the line about doing what you love and making it work.  For most of us that’s not a realistic option.  I picked the compromise of finding a career that I enjoy that I can support a family on rather then being a fishing guide and living a reduced lifestyle.  I’m happy with what I do and can imagine doing it for the next 30 years.  There’s room to grow, it challenges me, and I have the qualifications that if I were fired tomorrow I could go and find another job within a reasonable time.  Now that’s the secret of job security! I’m not just employed, I’m employable.
I suppose you’re wondering how this ties in to Health Facility Pro.  Simple. I’ve found a career that I enjoy (note the distinction between being enjoyable and being passionate), and have worked to increase my competencies and abilities within that field.  This work is shown to others in part by the certifications I have received.  Now, I want to encourage and help others working in healthcare facilities management and construction to do the same.  

It’s a challenging field, but one that is enjoyable and highly rewarding and in which job security can be found.