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Pesticide Technician: Job Description & Requirements

Read on to see what pest control specialists do. Learn about what kind of training and education are required. Discover the career prospects to decide if this field is right for you.

Career Definition for a Pesticide Technician

Pesticide technicians, also known as pest control workers, take steps to control pests in landscapes, houses, and commercial buildings. They work with customers to identify the pests posing a problem, develop a plan to exterminate them, and apply any necessary pesticides. Pesticide technicians work in the specific areas of ornamental and turf pesticides, termite control, rodent control, fumigation, and general pest control. Pest control workers spend time traveling between client locations and frequently have client meetings on weekends and during evenings.

Education High school diploma
Job Skills Good customer service skills, dependable, able to maneuver in small areas
Median Salary (2018)* $35,610 per year
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A high school diploma is typically sufficient education for working as a pesticide technician; new hires receive on-the-job training. State requirements do vary though, and some states may have additional education or training requirements.

Licensing Requirements

Each state and the U.S. government require licensing of pesticide technicians. Specific regulations vary by state but generally include classroom experience, exams, and supervised work experience in each particular area of pest control for which the technician will be licensed. Pest control workers must be re-licensed periodically to ensure they are current with the latest pest control technology and environmental laws, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov.

Skills Required

Pesticide technicians have excellent customer service skills. The job requires careful protection against potentially hazardous chemicals, and many companies require background checks to ensure dependability. Pest control workers must be able to maneuver in small areas, such as crawl spaces and attics.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that jobs for pest control workers will increase over the 2016-2026 decade, at a rate of 8%. The BLS also reports that these professionals earned a median annual wage of $35,610 in 2018. Pest control workers employed by the federal government earned the highest wages, with an average annual salary of $56,330, followed by pest control workers working for grain and oilseed mining, who earned $51,760 per year, on average.

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers to a pesticide technician include:

Grounds Maintenance Workers

Grounds maintenance workers are responsible for the physical upkeep of outdoor areas around buildings, and their duties include lawn care, playground maintenance, and gardening. They also take care of tasks like putting up fences or removing litter. There are usually no formal education requirements for this job; however, some employers do prefer candidates who have completed relevant education or professional certification. In some states, licensing is required for workers who apply pesticides.

Grounds maintenance workers can expect the number of jobs to increase at a faster than average rate (11%) from 2016-2026, according to the BLS, with better opportunities in places without long, harsh winters. The median salary for this occupation was $28,110 in 2017, per the BLS.

Janitor

A janitor can carry out a broad variety of tasks, primarily related to keeping a building and grounds neat and clean. Janitors clean floors and bathrooms, take out the trash, wash windows, mow the grass, and keep walkways clear of snow or fallen leaves. They may also handle light repair or building maintenance tasks. There are no formal education requirements for this occupation, and janitors typically learn their duties through on-the-job training. Voluntary industry certifications are available. The BLS estimates that jobs in this field will increase 10% from 2016-2026, and that janitor jobs paid a median salary of $24,990 in 2017.


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