Have you ever thought about becoming a pest control technician? The industry is growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the pest control industry is expected to grow nearly 10% overall in the next decade.
People are buying more homes, wages are rising, and consumers are spending more money. As a result, homeowners need the proper home service professionals to help with the upkeep. That’s good news for pest control technicians.
Many people get discouraged by the requirements and qualifications to get into a well-paying job. Fortunately, becoming a pest control technician doesn't require a degree that will cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Let’s dive into the pest control industry and lean about what it offers, the career expectations, average earning potential, and how to land your next pest control technician job.
If you want to become a pest control technician, it is important to have a basic understanding of the industry and the different roles and jobs. According to The Office of Personnel Management, there are three tiers or grades of pest control technicians.
A pest control worker is responsible for hand baiting and setting traps or the application of general use dusts, sprays, or fogs to control common pests in one or several types of environments (e.g. in or around residences and offices, in food service areas, or in storage areas and warehouses). They generally undertake work planned out by a higher ranking or experienced technician.
In Grade 9, the pest controller works more independently. The pest controller can identify and plan their own strategy to solve a pest problem. Furthermore, a pest controller will often work with harder to find pests or specialize in working with and eradicating a specific pest.
In Grade 10, the pest controller is often involved in comprehensive pest control management for a facility, such as a commercial property. They are responsible for a full strategy design and implementation for pest management. They independently develop their own planning with their extensive knowledge, experience, and understanding of the industry.
While the exact pay of a pest control technician relies on several variables, including location (state), experience level, and qualifications. The national average hourly rate is $18.10 for pest control technicians.
Alaska has the highest average hourly rate at $20.74. (14.58% higher than the national average), and Utah has the lowest average hourly rate at $13.65 (24.59% lower than the national average).
Let’s take a look at how to become a licensed pest control technician. We’ll cover:
Licensing certification test
According to BLS, only a high school diploma (or equivalent) is required to enter the pest control industry.
The next step is to get licensed. Every state's Pest Control Regulatory board is a bit different. Depending on your state's licensing requirements, you can receive pest control training at:
University extension programs
Pest control training centers
Pest control training teaches a comprehensive overview on all aspects of pest control, including:
Other common pest control
How to use pesticides
A pest control training course generally takes about 3 months to complete.
Once you are licensed, you need practical on-the-job training. More than likely, you will work as an apprentice and under the direct supervision of a licensed pest control specialist.
Each state has different time requirements for training. Look up the specific requirements for your state.
Fortunately, many pest control employers offer both on-the-job training as well as classroom education towards certification. If this is the case, you will not need to attend a pest control training program outside the company.
Once you've become licensed and completed on-the-job training, you are ready to take the licensing certification test. Every state has different requirements, so it's important to do your research.
The certification and licensing exam covers various aspects of pest control, including:
Comprehensive pest and pesticide knowledge
Competency to diagnose various pest situations properly and efficiently
Competency to recommend, prescribe, and implement appropriate pest control solutions
The BLS estimates thousands of pest control technician jobs will be added to the job marketplace in the next decade. There are many paths you can take to find a pest control technician job:
Job postings are a great way to find your next job. Most people turn to online job postings. Job postings cast a wide net when employers are looking for qualified candidates.
Online job postings allow you to find hundreds of jobs with just a Google search.
You can find available jobs across the country. If you are looking to relocate, you'll be able to see who is hiring in every state.
Due to the high influx of job applicants, it might be hard for your application to stand out.
Another method is to find a job through a pest control technician training program. Teachers with years of experience may have a network to help you land an interview.
Your teachers can introduce you to potential job opportunities.
Relying heavily on your teachers’ network can stall your job search.
If you are switching industries, have you worked in the home services sector, but in a different role? Sometimes, tapping into your personal network is the best way to secure a pest control technician job.
You already have a relationship built on trust. The potential employer will already know your work ethic as a potential job candidate.
If you don't have a solid network, it requires starting your job search from scratch.
Working as a pest control technician does have safety hazards. When dealing with harmful chemicals, insurance should be considered.
Many contractual agreements with your clients may require some form of insurance. You’ll want to research the legal requirements of the state you work in. Also, ask your employer if they will insure you as a pest control technician.
Technology is constantly changing to make the pest control technician job easier and to increase profit margins. To stay up-to-date with these advances, it is advised that you join different social media groups that share industry-wide information and strategies.
Also, as a pest control professional, you should attend state and national trade shows and conferences to keep you informed about industry innovations.
Changing careers or starting your first job can seem impossible. There are plenty of career options that exist to help you make a profound life change and support your family. The pest control industry is your opportunity to learn new skills and advance your career.