A carpet cleaning technician, as the name suggests, is a professional who cleans carpets. However, most carpet cleaning technicians have a variety of skills to perform the job successfully. He or she must have a working knowledge of different types of carpet fibers and how they react with cleaning chemicals. There are usually a number of peripheral duties as well, but this varies among companies.
Many carpet cleaning technicians are employed for small companies who clean residential homes. This type of work involves the technical skill of cleaning carpets, but it also requires excellent customer service skills. Usually residential cleaning is done by one technician working alone, and your company may expect you to sell additional services if you can. Physical fitness is important as well, because the technician will probably be hauling cleaning equipment, weighing up to 50 pounds (22.7 kg), sometimes while navigating stairs, several times a day. In the normal course of the job, the technician will be required to bend, stoop, crawl, push and pull equipment, lift and move furniture, and stand for several hours a day.
Another common setting for a carpet cleaning technician is commercial space. This type of cleaning is usually done when the company is closed, normally during evening or weekend hours. Moving furniture may or may not be required, and commercial cleaning jobs may employ a team of two or more technicians. In larger organizations that employ their own housekeeping department, such as hospitals, carpet cleaning may be included with other janitorial duties.
In a small company, the person acting as a carpet cleaning technician may perform a variety of other tasks, including answering phones and booking appointments, selling additional services, and completing paperwork. If the technician is driving a company truck or van, routine maintenance of the vehicle and the carpet cleaning equipment may be part of the job. Ordering supplies and maintaining an accurate inventory count are additional duties that may fall to the technician.
Most carpet cleaning technician jobs require a high school diploma or GED, and training is obtained through on-the-job, hands-on experience. Classes are available for specialized training in different types of carpet fibers, chemical handling, sales and customer service. These classes may be provided by the employer, or a technician may choose to obtain further training on his or her own. While professional certification is not required by law in the United States, some companies may require their technicians to test for professional certification. Like any profession, a license or certification in carpet cleaning often translates into a higher rate of pay.
In the United States, the most widely known certifying body is the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC. To become IICRC certified, you must complete required class work and pass an exam. Some state agencies and organizations may also provide certification; check with your employer for more information about what certification is necessary for your position.