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Career profile Custodian

Also known as Building Custodian, Building Service Worker, Building Services Technician, Cleaner, Custodial Worker, Custodian, Floor Tech (Floor Technician), Heavy Duty Custodian, Institutional Custodian, Janitor


Also known as Building Custodian, Building Service Worker, Building Services Technician

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$20,380 - $46,870 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Social Perceptiveness
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Remove snow from sidewalks, driveways, or parking areas, using snowplows, snow blowers, or snow shovels, or spread snow-melting chemicals.
  • Service, clean, or supply restrooms.
  • Monitor building security and safety by performing tasks such as locking doors after operating hours or checking electrical appliance use to ensure that hazards are not created.
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What does a Custodian do?

Custodians keep buildings in clean and orderly condition.

In addition, Custodians

  • perform heavy cleaning duties, such as cleaning floors, shampooing rugs, washing walls and glass, and removing rubbish,
  • duties may include tending furnace and boiler, performing routine maintenance activities, notifying management of need for repairs, and cleaning snow or debris from sidewalk.

What kind of tasks does a Custodian perform regularly?

Custodians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Service, clean, or supply restrooms.
  • Clean building floors by sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, or vacuuming.
  • Follow procedures for the use of chemical cleaners and power equipment to prevent damage to floors and fixtures.
  • Gather and empty trash.
  • Mix water and detergents or acids in containers to prepare cleaning solutions, according to specifications.
  • Clean windows, glass partitions, or mirrors, using soapy water or other cleaners, sponges, or squeegees.
  • Notify managers concerning the need for major repairs or additions to building operating systems.
  • Requisition supplies or equipment needed for cleaning and maintenance duties.
  • Dust furniture, walls, machines, or equipment.
  • Strip, seal, finish, and polish floors.
  • Steam-clean or shampoo carpets.
  • Clean and polish furniture and fixtures.
  • Move heavy furniture, equipment, or supplies, either manually or with hand trucks.

The above responsibilities are specific to Custodians. More generally, Custodians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is a Custodian salary?

The median salary for a Custodian is $29,080, and the average salary is $31,410. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Custodian salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Custodians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Custodians earn less than $20,380 per year, 25% earn less than $24,140, 75% earn less than $36,600, and 90% earn less than $46,870.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Custodians is expected to change by 5.7%, and there should be roughly 314,900 open positions for Custodians every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$20,380 - $46,870
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Custodians?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Custodian are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Custodians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Custodian tend to value Relationships, Support, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Custodians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Custodians somewhat value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Custodians very slightly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Custodians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as independence, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Custodians, ranked by importance:

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Custodians need?

Working as a Custodian usually requires a high school diploma.

Custodians need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Custodians

  • 23.1% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 45.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 18.7% completed some college coursework
  • 6.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Custodians

Custodians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, public safety and security, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Custodians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Custodians

Custodians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Custodians need abilities such as oral comprehension, static strength, and trunk strength in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Custodians, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Static Strength
The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
Trunk Strength
The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

Critical Skills needed by Custodians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Custodians frequently use skills like active listening, critical thinking, and social perceptiveness to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Custodians, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.