How to Become a Pest Control Technician

Research the requirements to become a pest control technician. Learn about the job description and duties, and take a look at the step-by-step process to start a career in pest control.

Should I Become a Pest Control Technician?

Pest control technicians diagnose and control pest problems, such as those involving roaches, termites and small rodents. They perform inspections and form strategies to eliminate pests. Technicians use a variety of pesticides consisting of toxic gasses or chemical solutions to solve pest nuisances. Safety precautions must be taken when working with pesticides. These technicians must often crawl or work in awkward positions to perform their tasks.

Career Requirements

Education Level High school diploma or equivalent, though some states require additional training
Licensure Required by most states
Experience Entry-level; experience not typically required for technicians
Key Skills Detail oriented, physical strength, stamina and customer service skills, bookkeeping software skills can be helpful, familiarity with using chemical solutions and toxic gasses and a good driving record is usually required
Salary $30,660 per year (median for pest control workers in May 2014)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; National Pest Management Association; O*Net Online

Step 1: Complete Training

Though many employers require only a high school diploma or the equivalent for employment, some employers and state agencies require formalized training. Training courses, which last approximately three months, often address pesticide safety and general use of pesticides. New pest control technicians also might need to complete on-the-job training.

Success Tip:

  • Acquire bookkeeping and general business skills. Individuals who hope to work for themselves must be able to perform business-related tasks. One might take classes in bookkeeping or business management to prepare for these duties.

Step 2: Get Licensed

Most states require candidates to be licensed or certified to work as a pest control technician; a state's agriculture department is normally the responsible licensing agency. In many states, candidates must be a minimum of 18 years old and pass a written exam to be eligible for licensing. Upon completion of the examination, the applicant must usually submit a licensing application with the appropriate fee. Some states have additional requirements.

Step 3: Continue Your Education for Advancement

Some states require that pest control technicians undertake continuing education to maintain licensure. By enrolling in continuing education courses, technicians also can keep up with the latest trends and techniques in pest control. Such courses might be offered by a state's licensing agency. Additionally, one can take courses that provide training in handling specific types of pests, such as termites or bedbugs.

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