Category:Sales and Service

About the job

Nature of work:

Light duty cleaners clean lobbies, hallways, offices and rooms of hotels, motels, resorts, hospitals, schools, office and other buildings, and private residences. They are employed by hotels, motels, resorts, recreational facilities, hospitals and other institutions, building management companies, cleaning service companies and private individuals.

Specialized cleaners clean and refurbish building exteriors, carpets, chimneys, industrial equipment, ventilation systems, windows and other surfaces, using specialized equipment and techniques. They are employed by specialized cleaning service companies or they may be self-employed.

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents clean and maintain the interior and exterior of commercial, institutional and residential buildings and their surrounding grounds. Building superintendents employed in large establishments are responsible for the operation of the establishment and may also supervise other workers. They are employed by office and apartment building management companies, condominium corporations, educational institutions, health care facilities, recreational and shopping facilities, religious, industrial, and other establishments.

Job duties:
Light duty cleaners perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Sweep, mop, wash, wax and polish floors.
  • Dust furniture and vacuum carpeting and area rugs, draperies and upholstered furniture.
  • Make beds, change sheets and distribute clean towels and toiletries.
  • Attend to guests' requests for extra supplies.
  • Stock linen closet and supplies area.
  • Clean, disinfect and polish kitchen and bathroom fixtures and appliances.
  • Clean and disinfect public areas such as changing rooms, showers and elevators.
  • Disinfect operating rooms and other hospital areas.
  • Pick up debris and empty trash containers.
  • Wash windows, walls and ceilings.
  • Report and store lost and found items.
  • May provide basic information on facilities.
  • May handle complaints.
The following is a summary of main duties for some specialized cleaners:
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaners operate cleaning machines to clean carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture on customers' premises or in carpet and upholstery cleaning establishments.
  • Chimney cleaners clean soot and creosote from chimneys and fireplaces using hand tools and industrial vacuum cleaners.
  • Furnace and ventilation system cleaners clean ducts, vents and filters of furnaces in residences and commercial buildings using hand tools and industrial vacuum cleaners.
  • Sandblasters clean building exteriors, tanks, chimneys and industrial equipment using sandblasting, pressurized steam or hydroblasting equipment.
  • Vehicle cleaners clean the interior and exterior of automobiles, buses, streetcars, railway cars and subway cars.
  • Window cleaners wash and clean interior and exterior windows and other glass surfaces in low-rise and high-rise buildings.
Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate industrial vacuum cleaners to remove scraps, dirt, heavy debris and other refuse.
  • Wash windows, interior walls and ceilings.
  • Empty trash cans and other waste containers.
  • Sweep, mop, scrub and wax hallways, floors and stairs.
  • Clean snow and ice from walkways and parking areas.
  • Cut grass and tend grounds.
  • Clean and disinfect washrooms and fixtures.
  • Make adjustments and minor repairs to heating, cooling, ventilating, plumbing and electrical systems, and contact tradespersons for major repairs.
  • Perform other routine maintenance jobs such as painting and drywall repair.
  • May water and tend to plants.
  • May move heavy furniture, equipment and supplies.
  • Ensure that security and safety measures are in place in the establishment.
  • May advertise vacancies, show apartments and offices to prospective tenants and collect rent.
  • May supervise other workers.
Sample job titles:
  • building superintendent
  • car detailer
  • cleaner
  • furnace cleaner
  • handyman/woman
  • housekeeping room attendant
  • janitor
  • maid - cleaning services
  • maintenance worker
  • septic tank cleaner
  • window cleaner

To work in these jobs, you should have good health, physical stamina, and manual dexterity. You must also be able to work on your own and carry out instructions given by a supervisor. Workers are often expected to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Job requirements:
  • There are no specific education requirements for jobs in this group.
  • Completion of secondary school may be required.
  • On-the-job training is usually provided.
  • Certification for housekeeping room attendants or similar certification may be required by some employers.
  • A journeyperson certificate in one or more of the trades or a building operator certificate may be required for building superintendents.
Other considerations:

Some jobs in this group require previous cleaning and maintenance experience. Progression to supervisory cleaning positions is possible with additional training or experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available (yet overall job prospects are still considered good due to other factors). With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Cleaners may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 42% of Cleaners who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $32,414. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $14.00
Maximum: $19.95
Minimum: $3,454
Median: $19,748
Maximum: $42,828
Occupations in Sales and Service102,605Decline slightly5,260Moderate
Minimum: $10.70
Median: $12.50
Maximum: $21.17
Minimum: $2,949
Median: $16,629
Maximum: $45,086
CleanersCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
Percent employed full-time67%59%
Percent self-employed18%6%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentCleanersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton15%$19,93813%$32,974
Annapolis Valley13%$17,20413%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeCleanersCompared to: All Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4937
GenderCleanersCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
EducationCleanersCompared to: All Sales and Service
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school28.6%$4,91818.8%$9,486
High school39.4%$9,01540.4%$12,982
Trades certificate9.6%$22,6248.0%$18,797
College certificate or diploma17.2%$15,97019.9%$19,514
University certificate or diploma1.4%x1.6%$18,279
Bachelor's degree3.3%$8,43410.0%$20,807
University advanced certificate or diploma0.2%x0.5%$15,716
Master's degreeN/Ax0.8%$20,769
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry0.1%x0.1%$17,368
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Septic Tank Cleaners
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Environment
PO Box 442
Halifax, NS B3J 2P8
(902) 424-3600
(902) 424-0503
No contacts were found under this occupation profile

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Additional resources: