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Job Descriptions


Custodians are also referred to as janitors, caretakers, or building superintendents. They can work for commercial companies (e.g., office buildings, shopping facilities, industrial companies), educational organizations (e.g., schools, universities), healthcare facilities (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes), or residential companies (e.g., condominiums or apartment buildings).


This job usually requires a high school diploma and/or a GED certificate.

Previous Experience

Previous experience working as a custodian in a similar setting is preferred.
Although many employers prefer that you have previous experience in the same or similar area of employment, it is strongly encouraged that you apply anyways if you have the required education and skills.

Job Duties

  • Clean buildings and perform routine cleaning and maintenance tasks - including cleaning floors and/or carpets, washing windows, emptying trash cans, removing debris and garbage, and painting walls.
  • Clean floors via mopping, scrubbing, vacuuming, sweeping, waxing, and polishing.
  • Tend to the surrounding grounds by cutting grass or shoveling snow off the sidewalks or parking lots.
  • Clean, disinfect, and supply restrooms.
  • Move furniture or equipment.
  • Monitor and maintain building security and safety measures.
  • Conduct inventory of needed cleaning and maintenance supplies.
  • Monitor and tend to heating (e.g., furnace and boiler), cooling (A/C), and plumbing systems.
  • Notify employers if further repairs are needed.
  • Your employer may also ask you to carry out additional duties than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

For some jobs, it depends on whether you work mainly with the public (e.g., clients/customers) or just co-workers. For example, this job may require that you are able to work ‘Behind of the Scene’. If you are working as a custodian during daytime hours, you may not have to talk with people in the building on a regular basis, but you will be working near people.  You will be required to speak with and interact with co-workers to find out if there are any problems in the building, and people will want to speak with you if they encounter any cleaning or maintenance issues. You will also be required to speak with your manager to inform them of any cleaning or maintenance-related needs. 


This job may also require that you are able to work "Out of the Scene." If you are working as a custodian who works the night shift, you may not be working with the public on a regular basis.  However, you may be required to speak with and interact with co-workers. You will also need to communicate with your employer to inform them of any cleaning or maintenance issues.

Skills / Abilities

Organization and Prioritization - This job requires the ability to clearly organize and categorize work priorities to complete your work.

Manual Dexterity - This job requires the repeated and coordinated use of your arms, hands, wrists, and fingers to use brooms, mops, or floor waxers.

Physical Strength - This job requires that you are physically able to lift and carry heavy items (e.g., chairs, desks).

Environmental Demands

Location - A custodian will work indoors, in a climate-controlled setting. However, there will be tasks that require you to work outdoors occasionally. For example, you may need to cut the grass, shovel snow off sidewalks, or take the trash outside.

Noise Level - The noise level will be quiet to loud, depending on where and when you work.  If you work during the day, you will most likely encounter other people in the building. However, if you work in the evening, you will usually be working by yourself, or with other custodians.

Lighting Level - Most buildings typically use florescent lighting.

Work Hours - This job may have part-time shifts or full-time shifts. You may work during the day, during regular business hours (9am - 5pm) or after everyone has left the building for the day (6pm-12am).

Amount of Movement - This job typically requires that you stand for long periods of time. You will need to be able to sit, stand, walk, bend, reach, lift, and carry items for this job. For example, you may need push and pull a mop to clean the floor, or reach to clean a window.

Cleanliness and Odors - This job setting can get messy as you will be cleaning for much of this job. In addition, you will often have to use industrial strength cleaning solutions which may emit a strong odor.

Work Attire - Work attire will typically be casual clothing or a uniform.  In some cases, you may be required to wear gloves.

Structure and Predictability - This work environment is fairly predictable and structured.  In many cases, you will complete the same tasks each day and you may be able to complete these tasks in the same order each day.  You will probably work in the same areas each day and you will interact with the same people each day. 

What's the Pace?

    • Steady:  In most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that you will always have some work to do.  When the work pace is steady, you are working at a level “5” on a scale of “1” (nothing to do) to “10” (extremely busy, rushed pace).

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