How to Become a Janitor

Buildings and structures of all types need efficient cleaning services to ensure the health and safety of all occupants. Janitors are trained workers that perform a variety of cleaning duties for many different types of buildings.

What does a janitor do?

Janitors manage the cleaning processes of a variety of buildings and structures. They perform a variety of duties such as sweeping and mopping floors, washing walls and glass, dusting furniture, vacuuming and shampooing rugs and carpets, and disposing trash. They also replenish the necessary supplies and perform minor repairs and maintenance such as maintaining climate control and ensuring appliances are working properly. Some janitors assess specific issues and refer major repairs to management. Janitors often work throughout the day and many perform duties during evening hours after people have left for the day. They are usually responsible for making sure doors are locked, alarm systems are set, and the building is secure after the leave.

What kind of training does a janitor need?

There are no formal training requirements for janitors, but many employers prefer applicants with at least a high school diploma. Janitors usually learn their skills through on the job training or informal training sessions provided by employers. Some employers, unions, and government agencies provide training sessions to teach a variety of janitorial skills. New janitors typically begin working with an experienced worker and they complete simple tasks. They move on to more complex independent tasks as they gain the necessary skills and experience. New janitors learn how to clean buildings in a thorough and efficient manner, how to choose many different cleansing agents, and how to operate a variety of cleaning machines. They also learn the necessary safety and sanitation procedures. Janitors complete additional training as needed throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a janitor?

Employment of janitors is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 4% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increase in construction of a variety of buildings will create some job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for janitors with sufficient work experience. Most job openings will arise from the need to replace janitors that leave the occupation.

How much do janitors make?

As of February 2010, the middle 50% of janitors earn annual salaries between $21,043 and $27,346. The top 10% earn annual salaries more than $30,515 (2).

A career as a janitor is a great choice for people with a strong interest in performing a variety of cleaning services for a variety of buildings. Janitors must have a solid understanding of the necessary cleaning policies and procedures of their employer. Patience, self-confidence, detail orientation, and ability to follow directions are necessary characteristics. Janitors must have good communication and interpersonal skills and ability to work independently and as part of a team. They must also be able to perform repetitive and sometimes less desirable tasks.

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