Janitors maintain the overall cleanliness of commercial properties such as office buildings, public facilities and schools. The average hourly wage of a janitor employed in the United States totaled $11.60 in May 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Janitors working in educational or government facilities may need to submit to a criminal background check and drug testing before an employer extends a job offer.
Employers generally do not require any specialized education when seeking janitorial candidates. However, certain employers may require candidates to have graduated from high school. Janitors who also have equipment repair duties and may need to have basic mechanical knowledge taught in high school shop classes or at vocational colleges. Employers may require janitorial managers to have completed some college coursework with an emphasis on management.
Certain employers may require janitors to work afternoon, night and weekend shifts, so as not to disturb students or office workers during peak hours. Small offices and buildings may only require a janitor to work a part-time schedule. Hospitals typically expect janitors to work a full-time schedule and may have shifts available during the day. Janitors employed by a cleaning company may work at several locations over the course of a typical work week.
Janitorial work often consists of manual labor, and janitors need to maintain an adequate level of physical fitness to complete job duties. Janitors perform tasks like cleaning bathrooms, buffing floors, shoveling snow, emptying trash, mowing lawns and performing routine maintenance tasks. A janitor must be able to stand for long periods of time, bend down or stoop frequently and may need to lift heavy objects. Janitors might be exposed to toxic chemicals if they have to perform pest extermination.
Janitors must understand written and verbal instructions. Janitorial training normally occurs on the job and includes proper cleaning techniques and instructions on how to use machines like floor cleaners. Janitors should also understand the health hazards of chemical cleaning supplies. Janitors may need to do basic plumbing repair such as fixing a leaky faucet or unstopping a clogged toilet.