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Custodians clean building interiors, furnishings and equipment.

  • Avg. Salary $31,089.00
  • Avg. Wage $18.13
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
Also Known As

Caretaker, Cleaner, Housekeeper, Industrial Plant Cleaner, Janitor, Light Duty Cleaner

NOC & Interest Codes
The Custodian is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents
NOC code: 6663

Interest in copying instructions to clean and maintain the interior and exterior of commercial, institutional and residential buildings and their grounds; to contract tradespersons for major repairs; and to ensure that security and safety measures are in place in the establishment


Interest in operating - manipulating industrial vacuum cleaners to remove scraps, dirt, heavy debris and other refuse; to sweep, mop, scrub and wax hallways, floors and stairs; to clear snow and ice from walkways and parking areas; and to cut grass and tend grounds


Interest in making adjustments and minor repairs to heating, cooling, ventilating, plumbing and electrical systems; and in performing routine maintenance jobs and repairs such as painting

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 16, 2016

Custodians may perform light duties or heavy duties.

Light duty cleaners:

  • empty garbage containers and ashtrays
  • service and clean washrooms
  • dust and polish furniture
  • wash and polish glass
  • spot wash walls
  • vacuum carpets
  • sweep or damp mop floors.

Heavy duty cleaners:

  • spot and deep clean carpets
  • sweep, wet mop and scrub floors
  • strip, seal, finish and polish floors
  • remove waste materials from buildings
  • wash walls and ceilings
  • move heavy furniture, equipment and supplies.

Custodians may do all of the above or specialize in a particular area. They often are responsible for ensuring that all doors are locked and electrical items are turned off or unplugged when they are not in use.

School custodians also check and perform minor maintenance on heating and cooling equipment (for example, change filters). They also check and replace lights and test emergency lighting and fire extinguisher hoses.

Industrial plant cleaners perform regular cleaning duties and ensure that machinery is free of lint and dust and excess oil and grease. They also may use a hand truck to transfer raw materials and semi-finished products between departments or buildings.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Many cleaning duties are carried out in the late afternoon or evening when daytime employees have left the building. Custodians may work part time on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis, or work full time eight hour shifts.

Custodians may be required to lift furniture and equipment weighing up to 20 kilograms. They usually work indoors, although some outdoor work may be required to clean sidewalks and driveways, check drains and HVAC equipment on roof tops or clean building exteriors.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Custodians need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to work on their feet for a complete shift while constantly bending, stretching, walking and lifting or moving things
  • the ability to communicate effectively with others.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work and using equipment such as vacuum cleaners, sweepers and floor polishers.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Most custodians are trained on the job. They need to know which cleaners to use for different purposes and which cleaning chemicals can be mixed safely.

There are no standard formal education requirements for custodians. However, employers may require job applicants to have one or more of the following:

  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazards Management Information System) training
  • TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods) training
  • a criminal record check
  • other security checks (for example, vulnerable sector search)
  • a passing grade on an English literacy screening test.

Industrial positions may require related safety training such as CSTS (Construction Safety Training System).

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Lakes College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification offers certification for custodians who have taken Institute approved floor care training courses.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Custodians are employed by:

  • private janitorial firms
  • municipal, provincial and federal governments
  • health authorities
  • school boards
  • apartment building owners
  • banks
  • retail outlets.

Custodians may subcontract their services or become contractors themselves. Many positions are part time and competition for better paying jobs is keen.

There are limited opportunities for advancement to supervisory or inspector positions. With additional training, some custodians may move into building operator positions.

Custodians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6733: Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 18,800 Albertans are employed in the Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 301 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As custodians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for custodians.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Hourly wages for custodians vary considerably.

Custodians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6733: Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents occupational group earned on average from $16.52 to $22.00 an hour. The overall average wage was $18.13 an hour. For more information, see the Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
    • Electro-Technologies
    • Mechanics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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