Stand Out With Training and Certification

A look at training areas in which ISSA can serve you, your company, and your clients

Training and Certification

In a market teeming with cleaning and facility services companies, going that one step extra can give a boost to your business. Professional certifications can be a visible way to set your company apart from your competition. Professional organizations like ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, establish and promote globally recognized standards and certifications for the industry. Aligning your company with its standards, concepts, training courses, and code of ethics can benefit your business.

Certification you can rely on

When it comes to hiring a cleaning company, there are plenty of choices out there. Companies whose workers have earned ISSA certification will stand out because it shows they have gone through the highest level of training and testing that is needed to perform the job. In fact, getting certified is a lengthy and dedicated process. It involves multi-day classes with both classroom instruction and hands-on training followed by an examination. To become certified, applicants must meet certain criteria such as being insured and licensed in addition to passing stringent testing. And it doesn’t stop there! To maintain certification, individuals must take additional courses each year to stay up-to-date on all the latest industry advancements.

A variety of certifications 

Your cleaning team will likely need to attain several different certifications in various areas and levels of expertise. This article explains the latest certification areas that will help integrate the knowledge you need to effectively serve your clients, win new business, and handle whatever comes your way.

Quality assessment 

Quality assessment allows organizations to establish a baseline and track ongoing improvement with stakeholders. Certification programs on quality should focus on the work process, building appearance, logistical setup, cleaning tolerance, and cleaning efficacy. A quality system will also help cleaning organizations understand customer service requirements and encourage service providers to manage their organization to ensure quality, efficiency, and overall customer satisfaction.

Examples: Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) Accredited Auditing Professional (AAP) | Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) 


Workloading is the foundation of a successful cleaning plan. Workloading strategies and plans determine the “who, what, when, and how” of cleaning needed to meet customer expectations. Doing less with less is not a viable solution. A workloading strategy provides an opportunity to rebuild the current cleaning culture to one of efficiency, innovation, balanced workload, and high-performance thinking. This strategy benefits the frontline cleaning workers as well as those tasked with making and defending custodial staffing levels.

Examples: CMI Certified Workloading Specialist (CWS) | The Official ISSA’s Cleaning Times (2021)

Custodial employee training 

Cleaning workers need certification specific to the work they are performing and tools they are using. At a minimum, certification topics should cover customer service; the chemistry of cleaning; and basic cleaning of above-floor surfaces, hard floors, carpeted floors, and restrooms. For advanced certification, follow up with more in-depth training in cleaning hard floors, carpet, and above-floor surfaces. 

Examples: CMI Basic Custodial Technician | CMI Advanced Custodial Technician

Logistics and support 

Supporting a cleaning organization requires a certification that provides knowledge across many technical skills including the components specific to your organization. The certification should also include the proper teaching methods to improve your team’s efficiency and professionalism. In addition to having certified people onsite, hiring a CMI-certified consultant from the Cleaning Change Solutions division can lead your organization to improved results and shepherd you through challenging times. 

Examples: CMI Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) | CMI Consulting Program (Cleaning Change Solutions)

Leadership training 

Today’s custodial professionals command respect for their high level of knowledge and skill. There are several reasons for the new “image,” including the fact that custodians have become vastly more important to the efficiency of an organization and to a healthy environment. Post-pandemic jobs require newly gained knowledge on modern equipment, chemicals, and techniques to keep building occupants safe and healthy. 

Examples: CMI Certified Custodial Supervisor | CMI’s Leadership Development Program (LDP)

Outbreak prevention, response, and recovery 

Successful facilities can demonstrate that correct work practices, procedures, and systems are in place to handle infectious disease outbreaks. The Global Biorisk Advisory Council(GBAC), a division of ISSA, offers an outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation. This accreditation helps facilities and organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological threats, biohazard situations, and real-time crises through education, training, certification, response management, and crisis consulting. The accreditation is ideal for situations and environments that require a much higher level of cleaning, disinfection, and restoration. 

Example: GBAC™ Star Accreditation (The Global Biorisk Advisory Council™, a division of ISSA)

Become an industry expert

Your customers likely wouldn’t hire a plumber or electrician who isn’t properly trained, insured, and certified, so why would they hire a cleaning business whose employees lack proper training and certification? When you achieve ISSA certification you can be assured that you’re now among industry experts. These standards have endured the test of time. They are easy to remember and can be used as a litmus test for excellence, whether thinking strategically, or acting in the moment on the
front line. 

Editor’s note: Cleaning and Maintenance Management (CMM) magazine is owned and published by ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. CMM covers the work of ISSA and its divisions through staff-written and contributed articles

Tim Poskin

Director, ISSA Consulting

Tim Poskin is the Director of ISSA Consulting, providing systems integration and consulting solutions for the cleaning industry. Poskin is one of the world’s leading authorities on custodial workloading. He currently serves as chair of the ISSA Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) workloading and benchmarking committee. He can be reached at 206-384-6967 or [email protected].

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