3 minute read


Education and Training: No formal education
Average Salary: Between: $16,000 and $25,000 annually
Job Outlook: Fair

Janitors keep office buildings, hotels, hospitals, malls, and houses clean and in good condition. They perform a variety of duties from cleaning floors to exterminating insects and rodents. Following are some duties entailed in a janitorial job description:

  • In private households, they dust the furniture, sweep and mop the floor, wash dishes, change and make beds, wash, fold, and iron clothes, wash windows and clean the refrigerators and the bathrooms

  • In hotels their job is to clean and maintain the premises. They may be asked to deliver ironing boards, roll-away beds, etc. to guests’ rooms

  • In hospitals, along with regular cleaning, they make beds and disinfect and sanitize equipment and supplies

  • In the winter season, they remove snow from sidewalks, roads, and garden areas

  • Cleaning chimneys, water pipes and basements also come under their job

  • Monitoring the building security by ensuring that doors and windows are properly locked

  • Informing managers regarding any specific and urgent maintenance or repairs required in the building

  • In offices, they have to accumulate waste from every unit and dispose it properly. Cleaning up the desks and electronics like computer systems to ensure a clean workstation

  • They make sure that requisites like toilet paper, soap, room freshener, etc., are in supply and also make an inventory of these supplies and place orders for them or tell the housekeeping manager

Education and Training Requirements

For most entry level janitorial positions, no formal education is required. But for a Supervisor position, a high school diploma, and at times, some college degree is required.
Most of the building cleaners learn their skills on the job as they work with experienced and skilled cleaners. With time as they gain more experience, they are handed over more difficult tasks. There are some training programs run by unions, government agencies, or employers to teach different cleaning techniques and other janitorial skills. Janitors use many types of equipment and cleaning materials. They make use of standard cleaning equipment to the electric floor polishing machine. To avoid harming floors, fixtures, building occupants, themselves they are trained to operate and maintain different machines used for different tasks. They are also taught to plan their work and to follow safety regulations.

Getting the Job

To get this job, refer to job postings on the Internet or the classified ads in newspapers. For this job, employers normally look for reliable, hard-working, well-trained people and for those who take direction well.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forecasts for the job prospects for janitors is good. They expect the employment of janitors to increase by 4 percent from 2008-2018, which is slower than the average for all occupations. Most jobs will open due to the need to substitute the workers who leave this occupation.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working hours for janitors vary with the place. For office buildings, cleaning hours are normally evening or night hours, when offices are empty. For school and hospitals they work in day time and at the places which require 24-hour maintenance, they may be assigned to shifts. Mostly they work indoors, however they do perform some outdoor jobs like sweeping walkways, or shoveling snow. They may get some injuries like cuts or burns. Lot of physical work is required and some jobs can be dirty and unpleasant.

Salary and Benefits

Salaries of janitors vary by area of expertise, location of the job, experience, and level of responsibility. As per the national statistics, the average annual salary for this job is between $16,000 and $25,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2008, the median hourly wages of housekeeping cleaners were $9.13, hospital cleaners were $10.31, and for the traveler accommodation industry $8.75.

Where to Go for More Information

Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration
8229 Cloverleaf Dr., Ste. 460
Millersville, MD 21108
(800) 272-7012

Cleaning Management Institute
13 Century Hill Dr.
Latham, NY 12110
(518) 783-1281

International Executive Housekeepers Association
1001 Eastwind Dr., Ste. 301
Westerville, Ohio 43081-3361
(800) 200-6342
(614) 895-7166

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesConstruction & Skilled Trades