Career Development

What Does a Custodian Do?

Find out what a custodian does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a custodian.

Custodians are responsible for keeping our schools, businesses and other public spaces clean and safe. They spend their days cleaning floors, emptying trash cans, scrubbing toilets, etc. It’s a dirty job that most people don’t want to do, but it’s an important one nonetheless.

Custodians typically work in shifts so that they can be present at all times of the day or night. This allows them to respond quickly to spills or accidents that may happen while school is not in session.

Custodian Job Duties

Custodians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Maintaining records of all building maintenance activities, including when repairs were made and who made them
  • Cleaning and maintaining the building, including vacuuming carpets and mopping floors
  • Performing other general custodial tasks such as emptying trash cans, cleaning windows, and dusting furniture
  • Monitoring the building for security purposes by performing regular patrols of the building to check for broken windows or doors that need fixing
  • Cleaning and maintaining equipment used in the building such as fire extinguishers and smoke detectors
  • Performing general cleaning tasks such as vacuuming carpets, dusting shelves, and scrubbing floors
  • Performing minor repairs to equipment such as leaky faucets or broken air conditioners
  • Reporting any maintenance issues to building supervisors so they can be addressed promptly
  • Carrying out other duties as assigned by supervisors

Custodian Salary & Outlook

The salary of a custodian can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and type of school or company they work for. Some custodians may also receive benefits, such as health insurance, 401k contributions, and paid vacation days.

  • Median Annual Salary: $27,500 ($13.22/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $54,500 ($26.2/hour)

The employment of custodians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Schools will need custodians to maintain their buildings and grounds. In addition, schools will need custodians to clean and maintain science labs and other special facilities. However, the use of automation in some school districts may limit the need for custodians.

Custodian Job Requirements

Custodians typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Custodians typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer candidates who have completed a custodial program or coursework in cleaning and disinfecting.

Training & Experience: Most custodians learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their role while on the job. Training may last for a few weeks or months, depending on the size of the facility and the complexity of the role. Training often includes shadowing current custodians and performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: While custodians are not generally required to become certified, gaining certifications may help them gain an advantage in their job search or get a higher-paying position.

Custodian Skills

Custodians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Physical Strength: Custodians are often required to move heavy objects and clean surfaces using harsh chemicals and detergents. They must be able to do this without injuring themselves or becoming ill.

Safety: Safety is an important skill for custodians to have because they often work in large buildings with many hazards. They need to know how to keep themselves and others safe while working. For example, they might know how to operate a fire extinguisher or how to handle a medical emergency.

Maintenance: Custodians are responsible for keeping the workplace clean and safe. This includes performing routine maintenance on cleaning equipment and ensuring the workplace is free of hazards. Maintenance skills can help you identify and repair any issues that may arise in the workplace.

Organization: Keeping your work area clean and organized can help you save time and complete your duties more efficiently. Custodians often have many responsibilities, so it’s important for them to be able to prioritize tasks and keep their work area tidy. You can use your organizational skills to keep your cleaning supplies and tools in order and ensure you have everything you need to complete your tasks.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information through speech or writing. As a custodian, you use communication skills to interact with other staff members, students and parents. You also use communication skills to convey information about school events, emergency procedures and other important information.

Custodian Work Environment

Custodians typically work in schools, hospitals, office buildings, or other public places. They may work the day shift, the night shift, or a rotating shift. Daytime hours are usually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., although some custodians work early morning or evening hours. Nighttime hours are usually from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Custodians typically work 40 hours per week, but may work overtime during busy periods, such as the start of a school year. Some custodians are responsible for a specific area, such as a school gymnasium or a hospital wing, while others move about different areas during their shift. Custodians typically use cleaning solutions and power equipment, such as floor buffers and vacuum cleaners.

Custodian Trends

Here are three trends influencing how custodians work. Custodians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on the Customer Experience

As businesses focus more on the customer experience, custodians will need to adapt in order to provide the best possible service.

Custodians can utilize this trend by focusing on providing excellent customer service and developing strong relationships with their clients. This will allow them to better understand the needs of their customers and provide solutions that meet those needs.

More Use of Technology

The use of technology in the workplace is becoming increasingly common as businesses look for ways to improve efficiency and productivity. This trend is likely to continue as more and more businesses adopt new technologies that make it easier to work from anywhere.

Custodians who are able to utilize technology in the workplace will be more successful in the long run, as they will be able to manage tasks more efficiently and communicate with coworkers more easily. They should also be prepared to learn new technologies as they are introduced into the workplace.

Greater Focus on Security

The security industry is growing rapidly, as businesses become more concerned about protecting their assets. This is leading to an increased demand for custodians who have expertise in securing buildings and facilities.

As the security industry grows, custodians will need to develop skills in areas such as surveillance, alarm systems, and locksmithing. They will also need to be familiar with current trends in security, such as the increasing use of biometrics.

How to Become a Custodian

A career as a custodian can be a great way to get started in the field of maintenance and repair. As a custodian, you’ll learn how buildings are constructed and how they work. You’ll also gain experience working with a variety of tools and equipment. This is an excellent starting point for a career in construction or engineering.

Custodians often move up the ladder and become superintendents or building managers. They may also choose to specialize in a particular area, such as plumbing, electrical, or carpentry.

Advancement Prospects

Custodians typically start out as part-time or full-time employees of a janitorial service, building, or institution. With experience, they may be promoted to lead custodian, head custodian, or supervisor. Some custodians may eventually open their own janitorial business.

Custodian Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are committed to providing a clean and safe environment for our employees, customers, and visitors. We are looking for a custodian to help us maintain our high standards of cleanliness. The ideal candidate will have experience cleaning large commercial spaces and will be comfortable using industrial cleaning equipment. He or she will be detail-oriented and take pride in a job well done. The custodian will be responsible for cleaning assigned areas of the [CompanyX] premises, including the offices, restrooms, and common areas.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Perform general cleaning duties such as sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming
  • Sanitize and clean restrooms, kitchens, and common areas
  • Dust furniture, fixtures, ledges, and equipment
  • Empty wastebaskets and trash containers
  • Replenish paper products and soap dispensers
  • Clean windows, glass partitions, and mirrors
  • Strip, wax, and buff floors
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Move and arrange furniture
  • Assist with set-ups for special events
  • Perform snow removal and grounds maintenance duties as needed
  • Adhere to all safety policies and procedures

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as a custodian or janitor
  • Ability to handle heavy equipment and machinery
  • Knowledge of cleaning chemicals and supplies
  • Physical stamina and strength
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Working knowledge of MS Office and other computer programs
  • Familiarity with safety hazards and standard operating procedures
  • Ability to lift 50+ pounds
  • Bilingualism

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