How to Become a Pest Control Technician

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

Do I Want to Be 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.

Job Requirements

Most states require that those who apply pesticides be licensed. Aspiring pest control technicians frequently receive a combination of pre-employment education and on-the-job training. Additional postsecondary education could prove valuable for individuals who later decide to start their own pest control businesses. The following table contains the main requirements for being a pest control technician:

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent , though some states require additional training*
Licensure Licensure is required by most states*
Experience Entry-level; experience not typically required for technicians**
Key Skills Detail oriented, physical strength, stamina and customer service skills*
Computer Skills Bookkeeping software skills can be helpful*
Technical Skills Familiarity with using chemical solutions and toxic gasses***
Additional Requirements Good driving record usually required*

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: Earn Continuing Education Credits

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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