While working as a janitor is hard work, it’s a rewarding career with no lengthy requirements to get your foot in the door.
Most training is done on the job, and these positions mainly require an individual who’s comfortable working on their feet.
It’s also a career that’s showing no signs of going anywhere. Businesses and organizations will continue to need custodians to support them. The career is also expected to grow at an average pace of 4% between 2019–2029.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what a janitor does, how to become one, and what kind of salary you can expect to earn in a janitor position.
Janitors and custodians have the same or similar responsibilities, with the main difference being where they work. Custodians typically work at schools, while janitors work in a wide range of industries.
You’ll find janitors cleaning and maintaining buildings, but the specific tasks vary based on the custodian or janitor job description.
For example, office building janitors often work in the evenings when the office is vacant and perform general cleaning duties. On the other hand, a custodian working at a school is often there during the day to clean up messes as they happen.
It’s a physically demanding job that requires you to be comfortable putting yourself in messy situations.
Every janitor could have a completely different set of job responsibilities. However, there are some general job duties that most perform.
As a janitor, you may:
Gather garbage and empty trash cans
Perform basic cleaning duties like sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping
Dust furniture and keep things in an orderly condition
Supply restrooms with toilet paper and clean them from top to bottom
Wash walls, clean windows and glass, and steam-clean carpet and furniture
Take care of spills and hazards
Do minor repairs and notify superiors when something needs major repairs
Order cleaning supplies and other necessities like light bulbs
A janitor working in a hospital will have different responsibilities than one working in a school. Others only clean, while some have a more extensive list of responsibilities.
It’s not uncommon for janitors to also work outdoors. In that case, you may be expected to perform additional duties like shoveling snow, sweeping walkways, and maintaining the lawn.
Janitors that have more responsibilities related to building maintenance may find themselves repairing minor plumbing issues like clogged toilets and leaky faucets.
Another janitor responsibility could be monitoring the building’s heating and cooling systems to ensure they’re functioning properly.
Janitorial positions don’t require formal education, as much of the skillset can be taught on the job. However, a high school diploma is often required.
You’ll likely work with a more experienced janitor who will train you in best practices and equipment when you're starting out. You’ll learn to use cleaning equipment like floor buffers, vacuums, lawnmowers, and other specialized tools.
You may also learn how to fix minor plumbing and electrical issues.
It’s good to come into the position with some experience or at least an interest in building maintenance. People who enjoy solving problems and fixing things will likely thrive in this career.
While no formal education is required, having completed shop classes in high school or something similar, like a high school equivalency is an advantage.
There is also certification available for janitors who want to go the extra mile.
You can get certified through:
Certification is not mandatory, but it could give you a leg up in your job search and help you qualify for higher wages.
Some soft skills that you should possess include excellent communication skills, time management, and physical stamina and strength.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), janitors and custodians make an average of $29,080 per year or $13.98 per hour.
Janitors working in government facilities earn the most, making an average of $17.12 per hour. Being employed by a school will earn you an average of $15.34 an hour.
Overall, job prospects for custodians and janitors are favorable. The BLS expects 4% growth between 2019 and 2029, which is average.
Janitors and custodians are needed to provide essential upkeep to building interiors. The essential nature of this job makes it a steady career to pursue.
Having a top-notch resume is the key to getting hired. Let’s look at five tips to help you best showcase your skills and experience on your resume:
Instead of a career objective, try using a summary statement where you summarize your experience and goals.
Using a summary statement helps you show the company how you will help them instead of solely focusing on how the company will help you.
Keep your resume within two pages and only include relevant information.
Tailor your job experience section to make sure you include things that will make you appealing for the position you’re applying for.
Immediately following your summary statement, include your job experience and list it in chronological order. An easy-to-skim resume is more likely to get noticed by a hiring manager.
A cover letter is an excellent opportunity to explain in detail your qualifications and what makes you a great candidate for the position.
Go over your past working experience, and be sure to mention how it’s prepared you for a career as a janitor.
If possible, include specific achievements and statistics to back up your accomplishments at your previous job.
Explain how you succeeded and what the results were.
There are hundreds of janitor and custodian jobs available all across the country.
A career as a janitor could be an excellent choice for you if you enjoy working with your hands and doing hard work.
There are no formal education requirements. With almost all of the training being on the job, you can often secure a position with little previous experience.
Certification exists for janitors who want to advance into more senior positions or for those looking to improve their job prospects.
You can find more tips for job seekers looking for custodian or janitor positions by visiting our Getting Hired Resource Center.