Become a Pesticide Control Inspector: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn about a career as a pesticide control inspector. Research the job duties, and the training and licensing requirements to make an informed decision about starting a career in the pest control field. View article »

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  • 0:01 Pesticide Control Inspectors
  • 0:54 Career Requirements
  • 1:25 Steps

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Video Transcript

Should I Become A Pesticide Control Inspector?

Pest control inspectors can be found working in every type of building including homes, apartments or commercial structures. Others may work in outdoor locations such as farms, commercial landscaping or residential lawns. They are responsible for identifying and exterminating unwanted pests ranging from termites to other uninvited animals.

Pest control inspection work sometimes involves physical exertion and may require going into unpleasant environments. These workers must be aware of the safety precautions that apply to the use of pesticides. Workers who spray pesticides are usually required to wear protective clothing, goggles and masks. The median annual salary for pest control workers, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $32,160 in May 2015.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent
Experience None required; training provided by employer
Licensure and Certification Varies by state; license required to use some pesticides
Training Employers commonly provide training needed to pass state required certification or licensing
Key Skills Ability to perform strenuous physical tasks, knowledge of common pests and appropriate control measures, knowledge of EPA and local regulations
Salary $32,160 (2015 median salary for pest control workers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics May, 2014

To become a pest control inspector, you'll need at least a high school diploma. Training is provided by your employer. You may need a license to use some types of pesticides, but requirements vary by state. Employers will usually provide any needed training to pass state-required certification on licensing. Skills needed for this career include the ability to perform strenuous physical tasks, knowledge of common pests and appropriate control measures, and knowledge of EPA and local regulations.

Steps to Becoming a Pesticide Control Inspector

Let's take a look at the steps you'll need to take to become a pesticide control inspector.

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that, although some employers have may hire inspectors with no degree, a high school diploma is typically required. High school courses that might prepare individuals for this profession include biology, chemistry and agriculture.

Step 2: Choose an Area of Pesticide Control

Pesticide control inspectors, also known as pest control technicians or pesticide applicators, can choose to work in general pest control or they may specialize by the type of pest control. For example, some workers focus on structural pest control (homes, apartments, or commercial buildings). Other pesticide control professionals may choose careers in agricultural settings, such as farms, orchards or vineyards. Some pesticide control inspectors may specialize by type of pests, such as rodents or termites.

Step 3: Get Hired with a Pest Control Agency

The majority of employers prepare workers for the licensing or certification processes required by state laws. Preparation may include classroom lectures or hands-on training with pest control equipment. New employees learn about different types of pests, such as insects and rodents. They receive instruction concerning pest control techniques for lawns, trees, buildings and other structures. New workers also learn about extermination methods, including pesticide sprays, fumigations and baited traps.

Step 4: Prepare for State Licensing Exams

Pest control licensing is often overseen by state agricultural departments. Earning certification or licensure usually requires passing one or more written or oral examinations. Licenses are only valid for a period of time, and professionals must adhere to renewal guidelines. Some common requirements for license renewal may include passing additional exams, attending training seminars or completing continued education coursework.

Step 5: Continue Pest Control Training

The pest control industry changes continuously, so pesticide control inspectors must receive training with new equipment and new techniques. Sometimes product manufacturers will offer these training seminars. Pesticide control agencies also provide employees with continued education as a way to help workers meet state-license renewal requirements.

Becoming a pest control inspector requires no formal training because training is provided on the job by employers and includes learning the job and preparing for any required licenses and certifications.

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