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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pZIBcPzE8M.
Quick Facts: Janitors and Building Cleaners
2021 Median Pay $29,760 per year
$14.31 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2020 2,217,000
Job Outlook, 2020-30 6% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 127,200

What Janitors and Building Cleaners Do

Janitors and building cleaners keep many types of buildings clean, sanitary, orderly, and in good condition.

Work Environment

Janitors and building cleaners usually work indoors, but they may also work outdoors on tasks such as sweeping walkways or removing snow. Most janitors and building cleaners work full time, although part-time work is common. Work schedules may vary to include evenings, nights, or weekends.

How to Become a Janitor or Building Cleaner

Janitors and building cleaners typically do not need formal education to enter the occupation. However, some employers may require or prefer that workers have a high school diploma or equivalent. Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job.

Pay

The median hourly wage for janitors and building cleaners was $14.31 in May 2021.

Job Outlook

Employment of janitors and building cleaners is projected to grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 314,900 openings for janitors and building cleaners are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for janitors and building cleaners.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of janitors and building cleaners with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about janitors and building cleaners by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Janitors and Building Cleaners Do About this section

Janitors and building cleaners
Janitors and building cleaners wash windows and glass.

Janitors and building cleaners keep many types of buildings clean, sanitary, orderly, and in good condition.

Duties

Janitors and building cleaners typically do the following:

  • Gather and empty trash
  • Sweep, mop, or vacuum building floors
  • Clean restrooms and stock them with supplies
  • Clean spills and other hazards with appropriate equipment
  • Wash windows, walls, and glass
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently
  • Order cleaning supplies
  • Make minor building repairs
  • Notify managers when a building needs major repairs
  • Lock doors to secure buildings

Janitors and building cleaners keep office buildings, schools, hospitals, and other places clean, sanitary, and in good condition. Some clean only, while others have a wide range of duties.

In addition to keeping the inside of buildings clean and orderly, some janitors and building cleaners work outdoors. They may do tasks such as mowing lawns, sweeping walkways, and removing snow. Some also monitor the building’s heating and cooling system, ensuring that it functions properly.

Janitors and building cleaners use many tools and types of equipment. Simple cleaning tools may include brooms, mops, and rakes. Other tools include sprayers, floor buffers, and snowblowers.

Some janitors are responsible for repairing minor electrical or plumbing problems, such as leaky faucets.

The following are examples of types of janitors and building cleaners:

Building superintendents are responsible for maintaining residential buildings, such as apartments and condominiums. Although their duties are like those of other janitors, some building superintendents also help collect rent and show vacancies to potential tenants.

Custodians are janitors or cleaning workers who typically maintain institutional facilities, such as schools and hospitals.

For data on workers who maintain private homes or businesses, such as hotels, see maids and housekeeping cleaners.

Work Environment About this section

Janitors and building cleaners
Janitors and building cleaners usually work indoors, but they may work outdoors on some tasks such as sweeping walkways.

Janitors and building cleaners held about 2.2 million jobs in 2020. The largest employers of janitors and building cleaners were as follows:

Services to buildings and dwellings 37%
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 13
Healthcare and social assistance 7
Government 5
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 5

Janitors and building cleaners usually work indoors, but they may work outdoors on tasks such as sweeping walkways, mowing lawns, and shoveling snow. They spend most of the day walking, standing, or bending while cleaning. They often move or lift heavy supplies and equipment. As a result, the work may be strenuous on the back, arms, and legs. Some tasks, such as cleaning restrooms and trash areas, are dirty or unpleasant.

Injuries and Illnesses

Janitors and building cleaners sometimes get injured on the job. For example, they may suffer sprains or strains from heavy lifting or pain and soreness from repetitive motion. Workers may receive safety and ergonomics training to help minimize these risks.

Work Schedules

Most janitors and building cleaners work full time, but part-time work is common. Work schedules may vary. Because office buildings are often cleaned while they are empty, many cleaners work evening hours. When there is a need for 24-hour maintenance, such as in hospitals, cleaners work in shifts that may include nights, weekends, or holidays.

How to Become a Janitor or Building Cleaner About this section

Janitors and building cleaners
Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. They use many types of tools and equipment, including snowblowers.

Janitors and building cleaners typically do not need formal education to enter the occupation. However, some employers may require or prefer that workers have a high school diploma or equivalent. Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job.

Education

Janitors and building cleaners typically do not need a formal educational credential to qualify for entry-level jobs. But for some positions, they may need to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Elective high school courses, such as in industrial arts, may be helpful for occupations involving repair.

Training

Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Beginners typically work with a more experienced janitor, learning how to use and maintain equipment such as vacuums, floor buffers, and other equipment and tools. They also may learn how to repair minor electrical and plumbing problems.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is available through the Building Service Contractors Association International, the ISSA—The International Sanitary Supply Association, and IEHA, a division of ISSA. Certification demonstrates competence and may make applicants more appealing to employers.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Janitors and building cleaners must interact well other cleaners and the people who live or work in the buildings they service.

Mechanical skills. Janitors and building cleaners need to understand general building operations and should be able to make routine repairs, such as to leaky faucets.

Physical stamina. Janitors and building cleaners spend most of their workday standing to operate cleaning equipment.

Physical strength. Janitors and building cleaners often must lift and move heavy cleaning materials and equipment.

Time-management skills. Janitors and building cleaners must plan and complete tasks in a timely manner.

Pay About this section

Janitors and Building Cleaners

Median hourly wages, May 2021

Total, all occupations

$22.00

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

$14.31

Building cleaning and pest control workers

$14.25

 

The median hourly wage for janitors and building cleaners was $14.31 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.74, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.26.

In May 2021, the median hourly wages for janitors and building cleaners in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $17.92
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 14.78
Healthcare and social assistance 14.41
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 14.38
Services to buildings and dwellings 13.98

Most janitors and building cleaners work full time, although part-time work is common. Work schedules may vary. Because office buildings are often cleaned while they are empty, many cleaners work evening hours. When there is a need for 24-hour maintenance, such as in hospitals, cleaners work in shifts that may include nights, weekends, or holidays.

Job Outlook About this section

Janitors and Building Cleaners

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

Building cleaning and pest control workers

8%

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

6%

 

Employment of janitors and building cleaners is projected to grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 314,900 openings for janitors and building cleaners are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

These workers are essential to the upkeep of building interiors. Their services will be needed to meet the continued demand for clean and healthy spaces.

Employment projections data for janitors and building cleaners, 2020-30
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

37-2011 2,217,000 2,344,200 6 127,200 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of janitors and building cleaners.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Grounds maintenance workers Grounds Maintenance Workers

Grounds maintenance workers ensure that the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy.

See How to Become One $35,460
Pest control workers Pest Control Workers

Pest control workers remove unwanted pests that infest buildings and surrounding areas.

High school diploma or equivalent $37,540
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Janitors and Building Cleaners,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/building-and-grounds-cleaning/janitors-and-building-cleaners.htm (visited May 24, 2022).

Last Modified Date: Friday, May 6, 2022

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2020

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2020, which is the base year of the 2020-30 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2020-30

The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030. The average growth rate for all occupations is 8 percent.

Employment Change, 2020-30

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2020-30

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2020 to 2030.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.