|Number of Jobs:||246,400|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Social Services Jobs||#26|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#92|
Janitors get a bad rap—perhaps because they’re associated with the slime they sometimes clean—but there’s more to this line of work than just cleaning up messes. The more than two million janitors now working are responsible for helping to keep offices, schools, hospitals, shopping centers, and hotels running smoothly. In addition to buffing floors and cleaning bathrooms, they also perform minor repairs around the building, and they’re in charge of ordering cleaning supplies and maintaining equipment. Interpersonal skills are crucial, since janitors must get along well with the people who live, visit, or work in the buildings they clean, but also because those skills help when these workers serve as a liaison between building managers, security guards, housekeeping staff, and groundskeepers.
There are also perks. For instance, this could be a good job option for someone who needs to find part-time work. Although those with prior experience make more attractive candidates, it is possible to land a cleaning position with little to no prior experience and then receive on-the-job training. Another plus to the profession is the opportunity to gain exposure to many walks of life. Do you like working with kids? Consider becoming a janitor for an elementary school. Are you a sports junkie? Find out if your local stadium has any open custodial positions. Do you have a taste for the macabre? You’re in luck—janitors are even needed to clean up crime scenes.
The biggest hiring spike is expected for janitorial contractors working in healthcare facilities, like nursing homes, hospitals, and medical labs. Across industries, there should be nearly 250,000 new janitors who begin working before 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts.
There’s a wide pay scale within this industry. A janitor’s average salary was slightly south of $25,000 in 2011. But the best-paid made about $37,000, and the lowest-paid only garnered about $16,720 in a year. Sanitation workers employed by warehouses and the postal service secured the top salaries, as did those who live in Danbury, Conn., Brockton, Mass., and Oakland, Calif.
Some initial training will seem inherent to anyone who had household chores when growing up: Sweeping floors, scrubbing toilets, and changing light bulbs are all in a janitor’s realm of responsibilities. But most janitors use specialized equipment, like wet-and-dry vacuums and pressure washers, so the training they’ll receive while on the clock will be invaluable. A formal education isn’t necessary to secure entry-level employment, but increasingly, companies are seeking experienced candidates that have received competency certification from either the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), or the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA).
A certified job candidate will be more attractive to employers than a janitor who doesn’t have any certification. These designations imply that you’ve learned certain mechanical skills necessary to fulfill the job tasks, which would decrease the time necessary to train you and integrate you into a regular work routine. Employers are also looking for janitors with good communication skills who can display the stamina and physical strength that’s required to handle the job’s most strenuous tasks. Some workers might also have to submit to a background check before they can begin work.
|Upward Mobility||Below Average|