It's not glamorous or prestigious, but janitorial work is a critical part of the maintenance of an office building, and is a great job for people who like to work by themselves. The cleaning, maintenance and restocking services janitors perform make a building attractive, comfortable and safe for everyone else to work in. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that almost three-quarters of a million Americans were employed as office janitors in 2011.
Although there are no specific educational requirements for most janitorial positions, some employers prefer to hire cleaning staff with at least a high school diploma or GED. Most workplaces offer new janitors extensive on-the-job training, typically working with an experienced janitor for several weeks or months to learn the ropes and how to safely use heavy cleaning equipment, such as floor buffers.
Janitors have a wide range of duties depending on the workplace. Basic janitorial duties include cleaning most areas of the building, especially the bathrooms, elevators and other public areas. Most building janitors are also responsible for stocking bathrooms and kitchens with basic paper and cleaning supplies. Many office janitors also have a number of maintenance-related responsibilities such as changing light bulbs or the filters in heating and cooling systems, or even making minor repairs. Janitors are also typically responsible for ordering cleaning supplies and reporting the need for building repairs to supervisors.
Although generally not required by employers, janitors can earn various certifications through the Building Service Contractors Association International and the International Sanitary Supply Association. Earning one or more certifications demonstrates your knowledge of cleaning techniques and safe equipment use. Being certified may make you more attractive to employers.
Pay and Employment Prospects
According to the BLS, office janitors took home a mean annual salary of $22,210, or $10.68 per hour, as of May 2010. The BLS also reports that employment prospects are somewhat low for janitorial staff, with 11 percent in job growth expected for janitors from 2010 to 2020. This is slightly under the average of 14 percent for all occupations.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Janitors and Building Cleaners
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics -- 37-2011 Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners
- Michigan Civil Service Commiussion: Job Specification -- Janitor
- Eastern Washington University: Custodial Job Description
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