School Custodian Job Description
School Custodians keep educational facilities clean and safe. They work both inside the building and outside of it doing tasks that make the school look nice and operate smoothly.
Though generally employed full time, their hours may or may not correspond to the school day. Thorough cleaning of classrooms, hallways and cafeterias is easier when students and faculty aren’t present, so School Custodians may have evening and early morning duties. They also may be called in occasionally to perform special assignments such as shoveling snow before classes start or setting up the auditorium for a choral concert on the weekend. Because they stand and move regularly, physical fitness and stamina are good things for School Custodians to possess. Job prospects for School Custodians, classified under the Bureau of Labor Statistics heading of Janitors and Building Cleaners, appears promising, with 10 percent projected growth through 2026.
School Custodian Duties and Responsibilities
An inviting environment promotes educational attainment, and School Custodians play a vital role in creating one. From our analysis of job postings, their core responsibilities include the following:
Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing windows, scrubbing tables and desktops, emptying trash cans, sanitizing washrooms . . . School Custodians do whatever tasks are needed to keep the facility looking good and functioning properly. Besides aesthetics, their efforts contribute to keeping pests away and reducing the spread of germs.
School Custodians often are charged with raising the U.S. flag each morning. Other duties outside the building may include mowing grass, trimming bushes, weeding, removing debris from playgrounds and parking areas, setting up traffic cones and directing carline.
When a light bulb needs to be changed, a window unstuck, a soap dispenser filled, a ceiling tile replaced or a coat of paint added, School Custodians take the lead. Depending on their level of knowledge, they also may perform services on pipes, heaters, air conditioners and wiring. When third party repair people are called in, School Custodians may guide them to the proper place or explain the problem.
School Custodians keep a lookout for potential problems, such as cracked sidewalks or faulty chairs. They abide by institutional and governmental guidelines regarding procedures and safety measures, such as keeping cleaning products away from children. School Custodians also are part of the administration’s eyes and ears and can play a large part in spotting tensions among students and curbing vandalism. If they are the first to arrive in the morning or the last to leave at night, School Custodians may be in charge of unlocking and locking doors.
Teachers and administrators may ask School Custodians to perform tasks such as moving furniture, fixing broken lockers, unloading deliveries and handling an unexpected spill.
School Custodian Skills
Great School Custodians take pride in their work. They view their efforts as important to the overall objective of helping students receive the best education possible. Candidates can further impress employers by highlighting these qualities:
- Exhibiting trustworthiness since School Custodians have keys to various rooms and work around children
- Prioritizing to ensure the most pressing clean-ups or repairs get done first
- Paying attention to detail so that all items and areas receive proper cleaning
- Working well with others, as School Custodians often interact with teachers, administrators, students and fellow janitors
Tools of the trade
School Custodians need an arsenal of tools to perform their job. If you take on the role, expect to use the following:
- Cleaning supplies – brooms, mops, vacuums, buckets, soap, rags, disinfectant and other products used to remove dirt and sanitize
- Landscaping equipment – lawn mowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers and other gear used when attending to the grounds
- Snow removal equipment – shovels, ice removal salt, snow blowers and other tools that combat winter elements
- Hand tools – general purpose container holding hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and other repair basics
School Custodian Education and Training
Formal education beyond high school is not usually necessary for School Custodians. Most learn on the job from seasoned employees. However, candidates presenting a background in plumbing, carpentry, building repair and the like may particularly catch the eye of hiring managers. Likewise, achieving certification from the Building Service Contractors Association International can help a resume stand out.
School Custodian Salary
According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for School Custodians at elementary and secondary schools (state, local and private) is $13.85. For the entire category of “Janitors and Building Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners,” those in the lowest 10 percent earn less than $8.65 per hour, and the highest paid make in excess of $19.60. Janitors and Building Cleaners in Massachusetts, Alaska and Washington make the highest median hourly wages in the U.S. – $15.73, $14.87 and $14.55, respectively.
School Custodian Resources
Looking for more information on becoming a School Custodian? Our search of the Internet revealed these books and organizations as good to check out as you embark on your career:
Careers in Janitorial and Cleaning Services by Don Rauf – From what tasks custodians perform to what questions are good to ask at an interview, this practical guide provides essential information for people interested in becoming School Custodians.
Janitor by Red-Hot Careers – This book is part of a series that introduces readers to various occupations. Coverage is divided into three areas: Know, Assess and Succeed. The first talks about what janitors do, where they work, how much they earn and other job-specific details. The second section encourages people to think about how they might fare in the role. The last area deals with job-hunting necessities such as finding employers and creating a resume.
Getting Educated: Custodial and Maintenance Professionals – This online information put out by the National Education Association (NEA) discusses health and safety training for School Custodians and debunks some of the common myths about employment in janitorial services.
Custodial Issues: Workload, Work Hours and Work Schedules – Another offering from the NEA, this online information source examines how educational budget cuts affect what schools are asking of their janitorial staff.
International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) – A leading trade association for the cleaning industry, its website offers a plethora of information. From trapping pests to stopping the spread of flu germs, ISSA’s articles, magazines, newsletters and webinars cover subjects of importance to School Custodians and all cleaning professionals.
School Custodian Resume Help
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