Custodians make sure that buildings, stores, and public institutions are kept clean and safe. There are many different custodian jobs available in almost every industry and work setting, including hospitals, schools, supermarkets, retail stores, factories, and office buildings. Most employers seek individuals who are experts on general cleaning techniques and maintenance work, and do not require employees to have special training or licensing. Some custodian jobs, however, entail extensive training in the disposal and cleanup of dangerous or hazardous materials.
Many custodian jobs are found in medical hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and treatment facilities. At such establishments where sanitation is of utmost concern, custodians are required to provide intensive and frequent cleaning services. Custodians are usually briefed on the importance of maintaining sterile conditions and being considerate around ailing patients and their visitors. Since most medical institutions operate around the clock, custodians may be required to work day, swing, or overnight shifts.
Grade schools and universities staff custodians to maintain the safety and appearance of school campuses. School custodians might work during or after school hours. Throughout the school day, a custodian may be called upon to clean up spills and accidents, or perform maintenance work on furniture or fixtures. After school hours, the custodian mops and buffs floors, scrubs bathrooms, and straightens up classrooms and hallways. To ensure the safety of students, school custodians are usually required to pass the same extensive criminal background checks required of other school employees.
Many custodians work for organizations that contract their cleaning services to different offices, factories, and stores. Cleaning crews are typically assigned to a job and allowed after hours access onto the property. They may perform a number of different cleaning tasks, depending on the condition of a facility and the wishes of clients. Custodian jobs in private companies are often part-time, and mainly take place during weekend, evening, or overnight hours.
To obtain most custodian jobs, candidates must have a high school diploma and previous experience working with cleaning tools and products. People typically learn the trade by working alongside experienced custodians in a variety of settings. On the job training is often brief and informal, and a person is allowed to practice on his or her own after demonstrating basic competency. Hospitals and surgical clinics may require a custodian to enroll in a special training program which provides instruction about safely handling hazardous biomedical waste. Other industries, such as nuclear power plants and waste management centers, provide extensive hazardous materials training to new custodians.