Pest Control Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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The median hourly wage for pest control technicians is almost $15.00. Is it worth the training requirements? See real job descriptions, and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a pest control technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Pest Control Technician Career

As a pest control technician, you have the expertise needed to safely remove vermin and other unwelcome pests that infest homes and businesses. Here are some pros and cons to this field that can help you decide if it is the right one for you.

PROS of Being a Pest Control Technician
Average hourly wages (median hourly wage of about $15.00 in 2014)*
Training is often given on the job*
Potential to advance to supervisory positions*
Expect higher than average job growth (expected 20% increase from 2012-2022)*
Help prevent the spread of sickness and disease*

CONS of Being a Pest Control Technician
Work in all weather conditions*
Work in awkward positions and small spaces*
Health risks involved with using pesticides*
Workers are at risk for injuries*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Equipped with a range of techniques, pest control technicians remove creatures such as termites, rats, mice, spiders, ants and bedbugs from homes and businesses. Technicians utilize their knowledge of pest biology and behavioral patterns to determine the best removal strategies. Workers remove pests using pesticides and traps and also understand various preventative measures, such as blocking the entrance routes used by pests and removing potential sources of food from infested structures. In order to determine the most efficient and effective strategies, technicians measure the dimensions of areas that need treatment and assess fumigant requirements. Pest control workers often work in tight spaces, such as attics and crawl spaces, in order to access and remove infestations. Most pest control workers work full-time.

Job Growth and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of pest control workers is predicted to grow by 20% between 2012 and 2022, faster than average among all professions. This prediction is predicated on the idea that health concerns, in conjunction with a higher standard of living, will influence more people to abandon their own efforts to control pests and seek professionals who understand and utilize safer and more efficient means. In May 2014, the median hourly wage of pest control workers was nearly $14.74 (www.bls.gov).

Education and Training Requirements

There are no mandatory education requirements for pest control technicians, although some employers might prefer to hire individuals with a high school diploma or its equivalent. Employers often supply workers with on-the-job training experiences and formal study in classrooms. Training usually corresponds to specific job duties, such as termite removal, rodent control, fumigation and turf control. Technicians also must receive training in the safe use of pesticides. In total, this training lasts a maximum of three months. Product manufacturers might also provide special continuing education classes that are designed to familiarize workers with new pest control methods. In general, pest control technicians must have the following qualifications, traits and skills:

  • Knowledge of pesticides and pesticide safety
  • An understanding of pest behavior
  • Physical health in order to work in a variety of situations
  • A valid driver's license
  • A tolerance for bad weather conditions

Licensure Requirements

Licensure is mandatory for pest control technicians. Workers typically must undergo a certain amount of training and pass a special examination; specific requirements vary by state. Many pest control firms offer training to help their employees prepare for examinations. In some locations, individuals may work as apprentices prior to earning licensure.

Job Postings from Real Employers

While some employers prefer to hire experienced professionals, many are willing to provide workers with all the training they need. Most employers do not have special educational prerequisites but might prefer to hire educated workers. Employers also typically require workers to have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record. Because workers interact with customers, most employers seek individuals who have good interpersonal and communication skills. Below are listed job postings in this field from March 2010:

  • A pest management service located in Illinois is seeking a full-time pest control service technician. Job responsibilities include using pesticides and other tools to eliminate infestations, scheduling new accounts, attending monthly training meetings and educating clients in proper sanitation and storage procedures. Experience is preferred but not mandatory. A high school education and a driver's license are required.
  • A pest control company in Nevada is seeking a full-time technician. No previous experience is necessary. A high school diploma is required. Job responsibilities involve the extermination of insects, pigeons and rodents.
  • A pest control service in Michigan is hiring pest control technicians for seasonal work. No experience is required; all training is provided by this employer. Individuals who are interested in applying must have a driver's license and a good driving record.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Employers look for experienced workers who have clean driving records and are physically fit. After obtaining sufficient work experience, pest control technicians can advance to applicators. Applicators may eventually advance to supervisory positions. If you have experience as an applicator or supervisor, you may stand out among pest control workers and appeal to a larger range of employers.

Alternative Career Paths

Groundskeeper

If you like the idea of working primarily outside, as opposed to both inside and outside buildings, then you might want to consider a career as a groundskeeper. The duties of a groundskeeper can include caring for trees, plants and sod; removing leaves; clearing snow from parking lots and walkways; and adjusting water consumption and preventing waste by using irrigation methods. Groundskeepers work in a variety of environments, including parks, university campuses, athletic fields, cemeteries, commercial properties and residential lawns. The BLS predicted that between 2010 and 2020 the employment of grounds maintenance workers will rise by 20%, which is faster than average. However, groundskeepers' wages are low; in May 2011, their median hourly wage was just over $12.00.

Janitor

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of specializing in the elimination of creatures, you might want to start a career as a janitor. Janitors are responsible for a variety of cleaning duties, such as washing windows and walls, shampooing rugs, cleaning floors and removing trash. Some janitors are also responsible for basic maintenance operations that involve painting, carpentry and making minor repairs. Janitors might also be responsible for exterminating rodents and insects. No special education or licensure is required to become a janitor; however, janitors typically make less than pest control technicians. The BLS reported that the median hourly wage for janitors was almost $11.00 in May 2010 and predicted that the employment of janitors will increase by 11% between 2010 and 2020, which is about average among all occupations.

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