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.
|Education Level||High school diploma or equivalent; some states require additional training|
|Licensure||Required by most states|
|Key Skills||Detail oriented, physical strength, stamina; customer service and bookkeeping software skills can be helpful; familiarity using chemical solutions and toxic gasses; good driving record|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$32,160 per year (for pest control technicians)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; National Pest Management Association; O*Net Online
To begin a career as a pest control technician, you must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, though some states require additional training. Most states require you to be licensed. Key skills for success in this career include strong attention to detail so you can detect signs of pests, physical strength for handling heavy equipment, and familiarity with chemical solutions and toxic gases. A good driving record is also a common requirement. Before deciding if a career in pest control is right for you, consider the salary and job outlook information. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment was expected to drop by 1% from 2014-2024. The median wage for pest control technicians was $32,160 as of May 2015. Now let's walk through the steps you may need to take to become a pest control technician.
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Step 1: Complete Training
Though many employers require only a high school diploma or the equivalent for employment, some employers and state agencies require formal training. Training courses, which tend to 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.
Keep in mind that individuals who hope to work for themselves must be able to perform business-related tasks. For that reason, you might consider training in bookkeeping software and taking some general business management classes 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 usually must 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 keep up with the latest trends and techniques in pest control. Such courses might be offered by a state's licensing agency. Additionally, you can take courses that provide training in handling specific types of pests, such as termites or bedbugs.
To become a pest control technician, you need a high school diploma or the equivalent and some states require you to complete a training program and obtain licensure.