Human Services Degrees

How to Become A Janitor

Janitors and building cleaners are responsible for keeping various kinds of buildings clean and in a neat, managed condition. They typically perform tasks like gathering and emptying trash cans, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming building floors, locking doors to keep buildings secure, cleaning restrooms and stocking them with supplies, washing windows etc.

If you are interested in this line of work, the following guide on how to become a janitor would be of great interest to you.


Should I Become a Janitor?

The job market for janitors is likely to expand in the coming years, with a growth of 7% expected in the employment for these individuals. The path to entry in this field is rather simple and quick, with no formal education credentials required. Most janitors learn the basics of their job while working.

In addition to the above, janitors can work in a variety of settings, since all businesses require cleaning staff. Most janitors work indoors, though some may also work outdoors cleaning walkways, shoveling snow or mowing lawns. These individuals are also required to lift heavy supplies or equipment, so their work can be quite strenuous on the back, arms and legs. The job may also be unpleasant at times, especially when cleaning out restrooms or trash areas is involved.

The following table provides a quick look into the career of a janitor, including the education and training requirements, key skills, job outlook and salary information.

Education Required

No formal education required

Major Requirement

None

License/Certification

None

Experience/Training

Short-term on-the-job training

Key Skills

Interpersonal skills, mechanical skills, physical stamina, physical strength, time-management skills

Annual Mean Salary (2018) – Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

$28,950

Job Outlook (2018-28)

7% (faster than average)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for Janitors

The employment for janitors is projected to grow by 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all other occupations. New jobs are expected to appear in industries such as support services, healthcare and educational sectors.

Companies that outsource janitorial services are also going to provide a lot of jobs for this occupation, with cleaning contractors likely to benefit and experience employment growth. The total employment in this sector was 2,404,400 in 2018, and is expected to go up to 2,564,200 by 2028. With such a massive occupational group, new jobs are expected to appear as workers retire or need to be replaced.

The employment opportunities in this occupation group will vary according to location as well, with California having the largest number of jobs. After California, states offering the highest employment levels for janitors include New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania. Salary potential will also vary according to location, with Massachusetts paying the highest annual mean wage to its janitors ($35,560). This is followed closely by Washington ($35,220) and New York ($35,080).

Job outlook will be different for janitors in different industries, with the Postal Service (Federal Government) paying the highest wages to janitors ($50,610). The Services to Buildings and Dwellings sector provides the highest number of jobs to this occupation category, with 883,270 jobs.

Steps to Become a Janitor

Step 1: Get an Education

Janitors are not required to have formal education credentials. However, it is recommended that they take some shop courses while in high school to help with jobs involving repair work.

Step 2: Complete On-the-Job Training

Most janitors and cleaners learn on the job. Entry level candidates are usually placed in teams with more experienced janitors to allow them to learn the use of various kinds of machinery and equipment. Typically, janitors would be required to understand the use of vacuum cleaners, floor buffers and other similar tools. In addition to that, janitors may also learn how to fix minor electrical and plumbing problems, relevant to their job.  

Step 3: Get Certified

Even though janitors are not required to be licensed or certified, it is recommended that they go for certifications available through various organizations. These include the Building Service Contractors Association International, the IEHA (International Executive Housekeepers Association) and the ISSA – The International Sanitary Supply Association. Certifications can be a good way to show competence, making applicants more appealing to potential employers.

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