Building Custodian: Job Description and Requirements

Building custodians typically require no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties, and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Building custodians work in various settings and are responsible for the general upkeep of a building. Job duties may include vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and small repair work. Custodians frequently work after a building has closed for the day to ensure that rooms and offices are clean and ready for the next day. There are usually no education requirements for building custodians, and they are often trained for specific duties once they are hired.

Required Education None, although sometimes a high school diploma is preferred
Other Requirements Basic knowledge of repair techniques, or job training alongside an experienced custodian
Projected Job Growth 12% for janitors and cleaners from 2012-2022*
Median Salary $22,590 annually for janitors and building cleaners as of May 2013*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Building Custodian Job Description

Building custodians are responsible for the general maintenance of schools, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, stores and office buildings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for custodians (also known as janitors and building cleaners) is expected to increase 12% from 2012-2022, which is about average. Job prospects should be decent, with many new openings expected in healthcare facilities. In 2013, the BLS reported that the median salary of janitors and building cleaners was $22,590 annually, and approximately 2.1 million of these workers were employed across the country.


The duties of building custodians will vary depending on the type of building. General duties for all building custodians include cleaning floors, windows, carpets and walls; taking out trash; and maintaining all entrances and common areas. In addition to cleaning bathrooms, custodians must ensure that paper towels, soap, toilet paper and other sanitary items are available. Custodians may also have to help employees or teachers set up and break down for events or meetings.

Some building custodians are expected to make minor repairs in a building, such as fixing leaky pipes, electric or electronic devices, appliances, and desks and chairs. Other duties may include painting, mowing lawns, landscaping and other maintenance projects.


There are no educational requirements for becoming a building custodian. Most custodians are first hired to apprentice or train alongside an experienced custodian to learn the routines and operations necessary to keep a specific building clean. While most employers prefer that custodians have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, this is not always the case.

Building custodians need to be in good physical condition, because much of the job is strenuous and requires long shifts of standing on their feet. They also need to be able to accurately follow directions and understand basic repair techniques.

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