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Become A Sanitation Worker

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Working As A Sanitation Worker

  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $22,150

    Average Salary

What Does A Sanitation Worker Do

Janitors and building cleaners keep many types of buildings clean, orderly, and in good condition.

Duties

Janitors and building cleaners typically do the following:

  • Gather and empty trash
  • Sweep, mop, or vacuum building floors
  • Clean restrooms and stock them with supplies
  • Lock doors to secure buildings
  • Clean spills and other hazards with appropriate equipment
  • Wash windows, walls, and glass
  • Order cleaning supplies
  • Make minor building repairs
  • Notify managers when a building needs major repairs

Janitors and building cleaners keep office buildings, schools, hospitals, retail stores, hotels, and other places clean, sanitary, and in good condition. Some only clean, while others have a wide range of duties.

In addition to keeping the inside of buildings clean and orderly, some janitors and building cleaners work outdoors, mowing lawns, sweeping walkways, and removing snow. Some workers also monitor the building’s heating and cooling system, ensuring that it functions properly.

Janitors and building cleaners use many tools and equipment. Simple cleaning tools may include mops, brooms, rakes, and shovels. Other tools may include snowblowers, floor buffers, and carpet extraction equipment.

Some janitors are responsible for repairing minor electrical or plumbing problems, such as leaky faucets.

The following are examples of types of janitors and building cleaners:

Building superintendents are responsible for maintaining residential buildings, such as apartments and condominiums. Although their duties are similar to those of other janitors, some building superintendents also help collect rent and show vacancies to potential tenants.

Custodians are janitors or cleaning workers who typically maintain institutional facilities, such as public schools and hospitals.

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How To Become A Sanitation Worker

Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Formal education is not required.

Education

Janitors and building cleaners do not need any formal educational credential. However, high school courses in shop can be helpful for jobs involving repair work.

Training

Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Beginners typically work with a more experienced janitor, learning how to use and maintain equipment such as vacuums, floor buffers, and other tools. On the job, they also learn how to repair minor electrical and plumbing problems.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is available through the Building Service Contractors Association International, the International Executive Housekeepers Association, and ISSA—The International Sanitary Supply Association. Certification can demonstrate competence and may make applicants more appealing to employers.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Janitors and building cleaners should get along well with their supervisors, other cleaners, and the people who live or work in the buildings they clean.

Mechanical skills. Janitors and building cleaners should understand general building operations. They should be able to make routine repairs, such as repairing leaky faucets. 

Physical stamina. Janitors and building cleaners spend most of their workday on their feet, operating cleaning equipment and lifting and moving supplies or tools. As a result, they should have good physical stamina.

Physical strength. Janitors and building cleaners often must lift and move cleaning materials and heavy equipment. Cases of liquid cleaner and trash receptacles, for example, can be very heavy, so workers should be strong enough to lift them without injuring their back.

Time-management skills. Janitors and building cleaners should be able to plan and complete tasks in a timely manner.

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Sanitation Worker jobs

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Sanitation Worker Demographics

Gender

Male

76.8%

Female

21.3%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

76.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

85.5%

German

2.6%

Dakota

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Swedish

1.3%

Shona

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Polish

1.3%

Thai

1.3%
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Sanitation Worker Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.7%

Fresno City College

8.2%

Reedley College

5.8%

Essex County College

5.3%

Modesto Junior College

5.3%

Iowa Central Community College

5.3%

Bakersfield College

5.3%

Albany Technical College

5.3%

Hinds Community College

4.7%

College of the Sequoias

4.7%

Merced College

4.1%

Hutchinson Community College

4.1%

Kirkwood Community College

4.1%

Nassau Community College

4.1%

Edgecombe Community College

4.1%

Universal Technical Institute

4.1%

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

3.5%

Savannah Technical College

3.5%

Hawkeye Community College

3.5%

San Joaquin Valley College

3.5%
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Majors

Business

22.2%

General Studies

10.9%

Criminal Justice

10.4%

Precision Metal Working

5.7%

Automotive Technology

5.6%

Computer Science

5.1%

Nursing

4.2%

Psychology

3.6%

Health Care Administration

3.4%

Education

3.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.2%

Medical Assisting Services

3.0%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

Information Technology

2.8%

Communication

2.7%

Culinary Arts

2.5%

Computer Technical Support

2.4%

Accounting

2.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Industrial Technology

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

52.9%

Associate

17.3%

Bachelors

13.4%

Certificate

10.5%

Diploma

3.9%

Masters

1.1%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Top Skills for A Sanitation Worker

SafetyStandardsUsdaCleanMachinesPalletJackCleanBathroomsGarbageTrucksFoodProcessingEquipmentProductionAreasProductionLinesProductionEquipmentOshaResponsibilitiesiSanitizeEquipmentPPETrashCansSanitizeMachinesCustomerServiceRecyclableMaterialsEmptyTrashHighPressureHoses

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Top Sanitation Worker Skills

  1. Safety Standards
  2. Usda
  3. Clean Machines
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Clean area around an accidental waste spill, ensuring adherence to all applicable safety standards and policies.
  • Walked with USDA on their morning inspection, when supervisors were dealing with other issues.
  • Clean machines with a high pressure hose.
  • Ride the riding Pallet Jack and Forklift to transport different items such as disposal items, product, etc.
  • Clean bathrooms and offices, vacuum, paint certain areas of building, run scrubber machine, light maintenance.

Top Sanitation Worker Employers

Sanitation Worker Videos

Sanitation Worker Sentenced To 30 Days In Jail For Showing Up To Work Early

Some Advice About Becoming a Philosophy Professor

Sanitation Workers Speak Up.mov

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