How to Become a Pest Control Technician

Dec 09, 2019

Becoming a pest control technician requires pest controller training and licensure. Read on for details on typical pest control classes, pest control salary and job outlook information.

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  • 0:01 Pest Control Technicians
  • 1:28 Step 1: Complete Training
  • 2:04 Step 2: Get Licensed
  • 2:32 Step 3: Continue Education

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Pest Control Technician Career Information

Individuals interested in learning a particular trade may want to consider pest control as a career path. Pest control technicians identify and remove pests from buildings and properties. They inspect areas for evidence of pests like rodents and insects including ants, roaches, bedbugs, mosquitoes, and termites, and typically create treatment plans to eliminate or prevent pest problems. These technicians provide services to businesses, homes, and any other structures where unwanted pests may be located.

Required Education High school diploma
Licensure Required in most states
Median Salary (2018) $35,610 (for pest control workers)
Job Outlook 2018-2028) 7% growth (for pest control workers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Key Skills

Pest control technicians need certain skills and abilities to be successful; their work demands physical stamina since they must spend significant time on their feet and maneuver through tight spaces in the facilities they service, sometimes in uncomfortably hot or cold circumstances. They must also be detail-oriented in dealing with pesticides and chemicals that are potentially harmful. Additionally, they need to be skilled in working with customers and in maintaining records.

Pest Control Salary and Outlook Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for pest control workers was $35,610 in May 2018. The field is expected to see a growth of about seven percent between 2018 and 2028. This uptick may be related to the increase in invasive pests. Also, the industry experiences quite a bit of employee turnover, and jobs often become available as other technicians leave to pursue other career paths. To enter the field, pest control workers usually complete a series of steps outlined below.

Step 1: Complete Training

After earning a high school diploma, a prospective pest control technician may need to complete some training. Employers often provide pest controller training programs covering pesticide application and key aspects of the job like managing rodents and termites. Such programs usually take approximately three months to complete. Depending on the nature of their training program, new pest control technicians may have the opportunity to practice their skills in facilities designed to replicate real-world settings like hotels and restaurants. Technicians may also participate in on-the-job training once they've started working.

Step 2: Obtain Licensure

Pest control technicians must be licensed in most states. To become licensed, most states require that technicians receive training and pass an exam. Technicians may need to take a general exam and an exam specifically covering their area of interest. For example, certification exams are available in areas like household pest control, agricultural pest control, fumigation, and mosquito control. Certification courses usually need to be approved by a state's Department of Agriculture. The tests are often computer-based, and candidates may need to take the exams at designated testing sites. After passing the exam, states typically require that technicians submit a license application and pay a fee.

Step 3: Continuing Education and Recertification

Pest control technicians need to renew their licenses periodically; many states grant licenses valid for three to five years. To maintain licensure, states may require that technicians complete continuing education courses before their licenses expire. Continuing education pest control classes are available through a variety of pest control schools and institutions and on a range of topics. For instance, technicians can earn continuing education credits in forest, aquatic, or public health pest control. Recertification classes are often available online and usually have an associated fee.

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