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Hospital Housekeeper: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the preparation needed to become a hospital housekeeper. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Hospital housekeepers are responsible for sustaining a sterile environment in all areas of the hospital by cleaning rooms, making beds, replenishing linens and maintaining floors. No formal education beyond high school is required for this career, and on-the-job training is available. Certification may be needed for advancement.

Required EducationHigh school diploma
Other Requirements On-the-job training
Certification International Executive Housekeepers Association certification is required for promotion by some employers
Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022)13% for all maids and housekeeping cleaners
Average Salary* (2013) $24,880 annually for all maids and housekeeping cleaners in general medical or surgical hospitals

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description

Hospital housekeepers routinely clean patient rooms, nursing units, surgical areas, administrative offices, laboratory areas, waiting areas and public restrooms, as well as launder all hospital linen. Using various cleaning chemicals and disinfectants, housekeepers wipe equipment, clean furniture, polish floors and vacuum carpets. They make beds, empty trash and restock medical supplies. Housekeepers also collect dirty laundry from all patient areas and distribute the clean linen and hospital gowns back to the appropriate floors. Using cleaning supplies and equipment are an essential part of the position, which is why housekeepers take a daily inventory as well as inspect their equipment for any repairs or replacements.

Occasionally, hospital housekeepers attend in-service training. Such meetings can include updates on company policies, new equipment demonstrations and discussion of complaints made by patients or hospital staff in regards to housekeeping. They also ensure that proper infection-control policies are being followed.

Education Requirements for Hospital Housekeepers

Entry-level housekeeping positions usually require only a high school diploma, basic math skills and the ability to follow instructions. Most employers provide on-the-job training, which includes effective cleaning techniques, choosing the correct cleaning agents, operating vacuums and floor buffers, repairing minor electrical and plumbing problems, adhering to health and safety regulations and demonstrating good customer service skills. Hospital housekeepers require neither state licensure nor certification to gain employment.

Advancement and Certification Opportunities

Experienced hospital housekeepers can be promoted to housekeeping managers, also known as executive housekeepers. Some employers require managers to obtain certification before filling the position. The International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) awards the Certified Executive Housekeeper (CEH) credential to managers with a high school diploma. They also offer the Registered Executive Housekeeper (REH) credential to managers who have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Both credentials are earned by completing IEHA courses and passing exams. Those who pass must renew their certifications every three years either by examination or by completing a specified amount of continuing education units.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of maids and housekeeping cleaners, including hospital housekeepers, was predicted to increase 13% during the period of 2012-2022. The BLS also indicates that most of these new jobs will be in the health care industry. As of 2013, maids and housekeeping cleaners earned an average annual salary of $24,880 working in general medical and surgical hospitals, per the BLS.

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