There are a lot of different types of certifications BSCs can get, but if someone is looking to continue their career, there’s one in particular to consider. BSCAI’s Registered Building Service Manager (RBSM) certification is the most prestigious designation for managers and supervisors. Those who have it show they’re knowledgeable and highly efficient in several key areas of the industry.
For many professionals, having an RBSM gives them insight to make them better BSCs overall. Seth Bruce, vice president of business development at IH Services, said the exam covers an extensive amount of information that anyone who wants to grow professionally should know.
“I personally think it is imperative that each individual who is serious about their success in this industry be required to take this test,” he says.
The test itself covers basic business knowledge in several key areas, such as human resources, safety, account management and more. It also reviews specific cleaning practices that include sustainable business practices and general care.
John Perry III, general manager of DirtBusters Janitorial Services Inc., said having the certification is valuable for both the business and the customer. It gives the guarantee that the professionals working on behalf of the client know their stuff.
"It is important for managers/supervisors to verify they have the industry knowledge and understanding in order to help their organizations grow,” Perry said. “It can also be valuable to potential clients to know they will be working with an accredited business rather than a fly-by-night mom and pop."
Kathleen Bands, vice president of My Cleaning Service Inc., said it also covers such a broad range of topics, making it a good option for someone considering a supervising or management position (or someone who is already in that role and wants to elevate themselves).
"I personally find that it is a great way to introduce someone to our janitorial industry, because it covers such a broad spectrum of what a manager's role entails,” she said. “Not only does it give your company a great baseline for training, it also shows your clients that the company takes training seriously. Knowing that someone has an RBSM certification, you immediately have peace of mind that they have received proper training. It also gives you a competitive edge as a manager. For example, you may be a better candidate to be considered for a promotion or new position with this certification."
There are four sections of the RBSM exam. Part one covers hard floors, metal surfaces, carpets, and fabric cleaning. Part two explores chemicals and chemistry, restroom cleaning, general technology, safety, and green cleaning. Part three details security, insurance and legal; unions; quality control; communications; customer relations; and basic math. Finally, Part 4 is all about personnel management and general management.
Bands took the exam right out of college, and said she was glad she decided to pursue it so early in her career.
"I had no real-life experience yet,” she said. “I can't say I liked one section over the other, but I found it interesting that there is so much strategy and science that's involved with professional cleaning. It was a great introduction and overview as to how the industry works."
For those considering taking the test, experts had several pieces of advice.
“It's something you want to give someone plenty of time to study for, which should be six months to a year,” Bruce said. “I would suggest making note cards or at least highlighting the important sections in each of the study books and reviewing these no less than a week before taking the test. This is an investment in your people and your company!"
Perry suggested that those who are more inclined to learn by doing consider taking a prep course.
"I am a person who gets less out of reading than hearing or doing," he said. "I took a two-day preparation course before taking the exam which was very beneficial for myself and the manner I retain information. Preparation will be key. And after taking the exam, it will help highlight areas of strengths that you have, as well as areas you can improve."
Bands agreed a classroom setting benefitted her immensely. She suggested finding your local BSCAI chapter to see whether there are any trainings locally.
"If you have the opportunity to take a class or if your firm internally offers a classroom-style learning session, I suggest you take advantage of it,” she said “There is a lot of information, and it can be better to discuss it in order to fully understand the material, ask questions, hear others' experiences, etc. The BSCAI Mid Atlantic Chapter will be offering two trainings related to much of the material in 2019, because we as a group feel that a classroom setting will help our member's employees to absorb and apply the knowledge."
Those who pass the exam are required to renew every two years, but the refresher exam is shorter than the initial one. Bruce said, as someone who went through the certification and recertification process, it’s easy to maintain your status and even easier to renew. Bands agreed.
"Personally, I feel that once you have learned the material and are using the knowledge in every day practice, it is much easier to take the test,” she said. “However, sometimes you need to brush up on a few topics, which is a great way to keep yourself relevant.
For more information about the RBSM certification and to register for the course, visit BSCAI.com.