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Institutional Housekeeper Job Description, Career as an Institutional Housekeeper, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training On-the-job training

Salary Median—$16,900 per year

Employment Outlook Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Institutional housekeepers clean the interiors of hotels, hospitals, school dormitories, and government residences. The size of the institution determines the number of workers on the housekeeping staff and the range of duties that individual housekeepers perform. While hotel housekeepers may only clean and straighten guest rooms, workers at a government residence such as an embassy often serve at banquets and walk dogs.

Institutional housekeepers clean floors and windows, make beds, wash dishes, and take care of indoor plants. Head housekeepers coordinate the housekeeping staff, the building maintenance staff, kitchen workers, and doorkeepers. They may also order linen and cleaning supplies and act as the liaison between management and the housekeeping staff.

Education and Training Requirements

Some employers prefer housekeepers to have high school diplomas. However, experience and a sense of responsibility are often more important than formal qualifications. Foreign language skills and the ability to deal with people can be useful.

Most housekeepers are trained on the job by experienced workers. Some vocational schools, community colleges, and unions offer training programs in housekeeping. These courses may help secure promotion to supervisory positions.

An institutional housekeeper may order linens, wash dishes, and clean floors and windows, among many other duties. (© Robert Maass/Corbis.)

Getting the Job

In large cities, employment agencies specialize in finding jobs for institutional housekeepers. Job seekers can also apply directly to hotels and hospitals. State employment services, newspaper classified ads, and job banks on the Internet are other sources of employment information.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Housekeepers usually advance by getting jobs at institutions that offer better working conditions and higher wages. Some become supervisors or start their own housekeeping businesses.

The employment outlook is as good as the average for all occupations through 2014. Housekeeping has a high turnover rate.

Working Conditions

Housekeepers may lift and carry heavy objects while cleaning or stand for long periods. Working hours vary. Most housekeepers begin work before breakfast and finish after the rooms and halls are clean and tidy. Others work later shifts. Some may have accommodations provided.

Where to Go for More Information

Service Employees International Union
1313 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 898-3200

International Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc.
1001 Eastwind Dr., Ste. 301
Westerville, OH 43081-3361
(800) 200-6342

Earnings and Benefits

In 2004 the median salary for institutional housekeepers was $16,900 per year. The most experienced workers earned more than $20,570 per year. Supervisors earned a median annual salary of $29,510. Most institutional housekeepers received limited health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation benefits.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service