Custodian or Janitor
How to Become a

Custodian or Janitor

The complete career guide to be a Custodian or Janitor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $26,180
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.8%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

A custodian or janitor often travels to a variety of assigned areas for maintaining cleanliness of buildings and landscapes. Routine work in this role involves general cleaning and floor maintenance.

Recommended Schools

What is a Custodian or Janitor?


As a custodian or janitor, you will have to perform the following main duties:

  • Regularly operate equipment like polishers, carpet cleaners, wet/dry vacuums, floor scrubbers, and steam extractors to wax, buff, and strip flooring or shampoo carpeted areas.
  • Maneuver different machinery, textiles, and furniture when required between buildings or into storage.
  • Take part in safety programs to acquire knowledge of policies/procedures, and gain understanding about using Personal Protective Equipment accurately in hazardous situations, safety-related concerns or repair issues.
  • Monitor the locking and unlocking of building structures, turning lights off or on when facilities are not in use – this includes reporting any unauthorized use or occupants.
  • Interact with clients or building occupants to respond to concerns regarding custodial or special services, and ensure that a high level of efficiency and quality is maintained.

Day In The Life

A custodian or janitor is primarily in charge of keeping and maintaining a range of buildings or their perimeter (e.g. hallways, restrooms, offices, classrooms, parking lot, play grounds) such that they are clean, and free from clutter. Most of your day will involve picking up and removing the trash, along with vacuuming, sweeping, mopping floors, and stocking bathrooms. Sometimes, you will have to take part in and give inputs to trainings, in-service, and staff meetings.

Utilizing your conversational skills is important to succeed as a custodian or janitor, as people will expect you to provide guidance and act as a network between grounds-keeping, building managers and housekeeping. Consultations with administrative personnel will be necessary to determine the most efficient ways to plan, schedule and prioritize any custodial actions to promote site maintenance goals. While performing numerous maintenance duties, you will keep an eye out for developing solid customer and team relationships via an easy-going and helpful demeanor.

Work Schedule

In this type of role, most professionals have to take on full-time work but sometimes there are part=time opportunities as well, which involves weekend and evening shifts. If you prefer daylight hours versus evening, you may look for a job at schools where the schedule is most likely. Due to the nature of your work, you will be working indoors for most of the time, but rarely it can require you to be outdoors. This means, you may have to protect yourself against extreme temperatures or inclement weather during the workday. Keep in mind that this type of profession is not suited to individuals unable to handle the high stress environment and tough cleaning assignments. Janitors also have to watch out for work-related injuries which are not unheard of, i.e. bruises, cuts, scrapes, burns.

Growth Of The Job

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth in this job sector will continue to be as fast as the average for all national occupations until 2020. There will be sufficient job openings for aspiring custodians or janitors, as people gradually retire or switch careers for better opportunities. Jobs for janitors and custodians are expected to grow by 11% over that time period.

Typical Employers

You can succeed in this career path if you work with companies or institutions that have a separate janitorial services section, e.g. schools, colleges, universities, the post-office, private maintenance companies, etc.

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How To Become a Custodian or Janitor

You do not need to have prior work experience to land a job as janitor or custodian. A High School Diploma or General Education Degree is sufficient to get your foot in the door. Typically, you will receive on the job training and will be exposed to different walks of life along the way.

If you are just starting out, you will likely shadow experienced professionals in the field and learn how to use different equipment like pressure washers, wet or dry vacuums, etc. You will also have to master the basics of electrical repairs and plumbing. Having an in-depth knowledge of established procedures is expected from all janitors or custodians, to maintain a safe working environment including compliance with OSHA, state/local, federal, and organizational guidelines.

In terms of personal qualities, you need to cultivate an awareness of others around you to create strong connections between colleagues, building residents or occupants and supervisors. If you will be exposed to hazardous materials on the job or operate heavy machinery, you must also complete a certification.

Custodian or Janitor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Custodian or Janitor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Custodian or Janitor's can make an average annual salary of $26,180, or $13 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $19,270 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #757 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Custodian or Janitors

  • 0.2%   Doctorate
  • 0.7%   Masters
  • 4.6%   Bachelors
  • 5.4%   Associates
  • 18.7%   College
  • 44.2%   High School
  • 26.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Custodian or Janitor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 136,300 jobs for a total of 2,496,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #394 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Custodian or Janitors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Elementary and secondary schools; local 290,000 17,000 17%
Self-employed workers 93,700 3,300 3%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 77,200 4,400 4%

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