California Pest Control License: Everything You Need to Know

California is famous for its sunshine and coastline. However, with the recent droughts and infrequent precipitation, pests are an issue for the state. Many residents and business owners contact pest control companies to keep insects and rodents at bay. This guide will explain how you can earn your California pest control license. 

Does California Require a Pest Control License?

Yes, you must apply for a California pest control license. The California Structural Pest Control Board recognizes three distinct branches of the practice:

  1. Fumigation. The first branch deals with the eradication of wood-destroying pests with lethal gases.

  2. Household pest control. This second branch recognizes the control of household pests without the use of poisonous gases.

  3. Control of wood-destroying insects. The third branch refers to the control of these insects without fumigation as well as structural repairs.

Are There Different Types of Licenses for California?

California relies on its branch designation to separate professionals for licensing requirements.

  • Applicator. For example, the applicator is a professional with a second or third branch license. This license is only for employees of registered companies. As such, you may apply pesticides and rodenticides on behalf of your employer.

  • Field representative. This specialist holds licenses for the first and second (or third) branches. These licenses authorize you to visit clients’ homes on behalf of your employer. You may undertake inspections, identify the infestations in place, and prepare a bid. You also may apply pesticides.

  • Operator. This professional has the same licensing requirements as a field representative. However, unlike applicators or field representatives, operators may manage a pest control company or own the business/

The state also recognizes specialty licenses. Examples include the agricultural pest control adviser license, pest control dealer designated agent license, and the maintenance gardener pest control business license. Pay varies by company and location. The pay grade ranges from $23,400 for some applicators to $50,700 for high-paid field representatives.

How Do I Become Licensed for Pest Control in California?

To become an applicator, you must submit the examination application by mail with a fee of $55. Next, you complete a Live Scan and fingerprinting process. Once the Structural Pest Control Board receives the scan results and your application, it will review the documents and let you sit for the exam.

The test is administered via computer by PSI. This company will send you a candidate handbook with details for scheduling your exam. As you wait for your date, you should study the applicator license branches two and three materials online. Once you take and pass the exam, you can apply for your license. It requires an additional $10 fee. You can start working as soon as you have a license number.

Becoming a field representative is very similar. However, you have to pay an examination application of $50 per branch. Training materials are available online. When you pass the test, you can apply for a license and receive a Certificate of Training and Experience. The application fee is $30.

To receive a license as an operator, you must first pass the board-approved pre-operator courses that you can take in-person or online. Next, you must submit the examination application with a fee of $65 per branch. After the Live scan and review, you take the automated test. After passing, you pay $120 for your license application.

With your license, you may apply for employment. Most companies hire candidates without experience. They are willing to train the right individuals. Work is usually full-time.

How to Use Your Pest Control License to Get a Job in California

California pest control employees make about $16.72 per hour. If you plan to work for an established business, visit the national companies’ websites. 

You can find small, family-owned companies by running a company license search through the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The database lists the companies, their contact information, and business location. Most importantly, you can learn about their license status, which is essential when looking for a reputable company.

During your interview, mention your license status. Company representatives will ask you if you have a valid driver’s license and clean motor vehicle record.

Pest Control Industry Trends

San Diego’s convention center is home to the annual PestWorld conference. It’s an excellent opportunity for anyone involved in pest control to learn about new products, techniques, and services. They also host training sessions and exhibits.

The Dangers of Being a Pest Control Technician

Your training and licensing will help you understand best practices for safety precautions. However, Pest Control Technology Online warns that work injuries frequently result from falls, entrapment, and electric shock.

Is My Pest Control License Only Valid in California?

Your California pest control license is only valid within the state.. If you lose or misplace your physical license, or if you change your name or address, you must apply for a replacement. There is a $20 fee.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Pest Control License in California?

You must renew your California pest control license every calendar year.


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