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Pest Control Worker: Job Description & Career Requirements

Pest control workers exterminate unwanted pests in houses, offices, schools and other indoor environments, and can treat outdoor environments as well. Read on to learn more about the requirements and benefits of this occupation.

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Career Definition of a Pest Control Worker

Pest control workers usually do not spend much time sitting in offices; instead, they travel to various locations with pest problems, both indoors and outdoors. It is possible for pest control workers to specialize their skills on a specific pest or environment, such as rodents, cockroaches, termites, residential pest control, industrial pest control or agricultural pest control. Using their knowledge of a pest's behavior and biology, these workers evaluate pest-related issues for clients and use traps, hazardous chemicals or other means to manage these problems.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Job Skills Knowledge of pest biology, management, and safe application of chemical pesticides and laws about pest control techniques, communication skills, teamwork
Median Salary (2018)* $35,610
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 8%

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Pest control workers must be knowledgeable about pest management techniques and pest biology in order to perform effective work. Because of this, pest control workers of all types are required to be licensed by the state they wish to work in, and may be required to become licensed by federal agencies as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a minimum requirement for entry into these certification courses is a high school diploma, while those with more education may be allowed to use their existing credentials to become certified (www.bls.gov).

Skills Required

In addition to specialized knowledge about pest biology and management, pest control workers need to be knowledgeable about the safe application of chemical pesticides as well as laws restricting the use of certain pest control techniques in some areas. Pest control work also requires the ability to communicate effectively with clients in order to analyze problems and determine a proper solution to these problems. Depending on the specific nature of the work, pest control workers may also need to be able to work as part of a team.

Career and Economic Outlook

Employment in this field is expected to increase by 8% from 2016-2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median reported wage for pest control workers, as of May 2018, was about $17.12 hourly, or $35,610 annually, the BLS reported.

Alternate Career Options

Skills necessary for pest control workers can also help prepare you for jobs in the following areas:

Grounds Maintenance Worker

These workers care for lawns, gardens and other outdoor areas. Tasks might include mowing, fertilizing, planting flowers or maintaining public spaces. Although many enter this occupation with no formal education, some employers may seek applicants with training or certifications; licensing for working with pesticides may be required. According to the BLS, these workers earned an annual median wage of $30,420 in 2018 or $14.63 per hour. During the 2016-2026 decade, faster than average employment growth of 11% was predicted by the BLS for these positions.

Janitor and Building Cleaner

This occupation involves cleaning buildings and performing minor repairs. A high school diploma isn't required, and these professionals earned a median hourly wage of $12.55, or $26,110 per year, in 2018, said the BLS. From 2016-2026, the BLS projected faster than average job growth of 10% for janitors and building cleaners.

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