Become a Pest Control Technician: Training & Licensing
Everything you need to know about becoming a pest control technician is here, from the required training and licensing to the salaries and job outlook.
Career Information at a Glance
Pest control workers get rid of unwanted pests in residences and commercial buildings. A high school diploma is necessary to work in the business, and most states require pest control workers to have a license. More info on the career can be found in the chart below.
|Education Required||High school diploma|
|Training Required||On-the-job training|
|Key Skills||Customer service, physical stamina, detail-oriented|
|Licensure Required||Required by most states, requirements vary|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||7% (pest control workers)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$35,610 (pest control workers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Do Pest Control Technicians Do?
Pest control technicians identify and kill (or remove) pests like cockroaches, ticks, rats and ants from buildings and the surrounding area. For instance, if a hotel were concerned about a beg bug infestation, a pest control technician would inspect the property, look for telltale signs and, if necessary, run tests to pinpoint the specific species. They'd then apply the appropriate pesticides and monitor the premises to ensure that the infestation is gone.
Likewise, a pest control technician might come out to a homeowner's residence at their request and conduct an inspection. Depending on what they discover, they'll provide an estimate for the work and then spread pesticides or set traps in a targeted area.
How Do You Become a Pest Control Technician?
Pest control technician is an entry-level position in the industry. No degree is required, but most pest control companies will ask for at least a high school diploma. Most companies will do training with the new hire, and many will pair them with an experienced technician to teach them how to find signs of pests, how to identify them and what types of techniques to use to get rid of them. Because pesticides are potentially dangerous, most new technicians are given formal technical instruction that can last up to three months.
Do You Need a License for Pest Control?
Each state has different guidelines for certification. Some states don't require it, but most do. Certification typically involves training and an exam, though some states might also require a background check, a high school diploma and an apprenticeship. Technicians are limited to using certain pesticides. To advance to the role of a pest control applicator (and have clearance to use restricted pesticides), workers are required by federal law to be certified in their state.
What Is the Salary Like?
The median annual salary for all pest control workers (a category that includes, but is not limited to, pest control technicians) was $35,610 in 2018 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The site Payscale.com has self-reported figures specifically for pest control technicians. Its estimates put the average salary for entry-level pest control technicians at $30,724 in 2019.
Is Employment in the Pest Control Industry Growing?
Will there be more or fewer jobs for pest control workers in the coming years? The BLS estimates that employment in the industry will grow. Its numbers indicate an 7% rise in employment for the years 2018 to 2028.