Pest control workers remove unwanted pests that infest buildings and surrounding areas.
What they do
Pest control workers remove unwanted pests, such as roaches, rats, ants, bedbugs, mosquitoes, ticks, and termites that infest buildings and surrounding areas.
Pest control workers typically do the following:
- Inspect buildings and premises for signs of pests or infestation
- Determine the type of treatment needed to eliminate pests
- Measure the dimensions of the area needing treatment
- Estimate the cost of their services
- Use baits and set traps to remove, control, or eliminate pests
- Apply pesticides in and around buildings and other structures
- Design and carry out pest management plans
- Drive trucks equipped with power spraying equipment
- Create barriers to prevent pests from entering a building
Unwanted pests that infest buildings and surrounding areas can pose serious risks to the health and safety of occupants. Pest control workers control, manage, and remove these creatures from homes, apartments, offices, and other structures to protect people and to maintain the structural integrity of buildings.
To design and carry out integrated pest management plans, pest control workers must know the identity and biology of a wide range of pests. They must also know the best ways to control and remove the pests.
Although roaches, rats, ants, bedbugs, ticks, and termites are the most common pests, some pest control workers also remove birds, squirrels, and other wildlife from homes and buildings.
Pest control workers’ position titles and job duties often vary by state.
The following are examples of types of pest control workers:
Pest control technicians identify potential and actual pest problems, conduct inspections, and design control strategies. They work directly with customers and, as entry-level workers, use only a limited range of pesticides.
Applicators use a wide range of pesticides and may specialize in a particular area of pest control:
- Termite control technicians may use chemicals or baiting techniques and modify structures to eliminate termites and prevent future infestations. Some also repair structural damage caused by termites and build barriers to separate pests from their food source.
- Fumigators use gases, called fumigants, to treat specific kinds of pests or large-scale infestations. Fumigators seal infested buildings before using hoses to fill the structure with fumigants. They post warning signs to keep people from going into fumigated buildings and monitor buildings closely to detect and stop leaks.
Pest control workers must travel to a client’s home or business. They work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather. To inspect and treat sites, workers must often kneel, bend, and crawl into tight spaces.
When working with pesticides, pest control workers must wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and, when required, respirators.
How to become a Pest Control Worker
State laws require pest control workers to be licensed. Most workers need a high school diploma and receive moderate on-the-job training.
Many pest control companies require that employees have good driving records.
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum qualification for most pest control jobs.
Most pest control workers begin as technicians, receiving both formal technical instruction and moderate-term on-the-job training from employers. They often study specialties such as rodent control, termite control, and fumigation. Technicians also must complete general training in pesticide use and safety. Pest control training can usually be completed in less than 3 months.
After completing the required training, workers are qualified to provide pest control services. Because pest control methods change, workers often attend continuing education classes.
Most states require pest control workers to be licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state, but workers usually must complete training and pass an exam. Some states have additional requirements, such as having a high school diploma or equivalent, completing an apprenticeship, and passing a background check. States may have additional requirements for applicators.
The median annual wage for pest control workers was $37,330 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $60,320.
Employment of pest control workers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The growing number of invasive insect species, such as stink bugs, is expected to further increase demand for pest control services. Although some people may choose to control pests themselves, most customers prefer to hire professional pest control services.
Similar Job Titles
Certified Pest Control Technician, Commercial Pest Control Technician, Exterminator, Pest Control Applicator, Pest Control Chemical Technician, Pest Control Operator, Pest Control Technician, Pest Technician, Residential Pest Control Technician, Termite Technician
Animal Control Worker, First-Line Supervisor of Landscaping/Lawn Service/Groundskeeping Workers, Explosives Worker/Ordnance Handling Expert/Blaster, Automotive Glass Installer and Repairer, Locksmith and Safe Repairer
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
Magazines and Publications
When people in homes and offices hear a dreaded scratching in the walls or see something small and brown skitter across the floor, they are relieved to know a pest control worker is just a phone call away. Pest control workers remove unwanted creatures, such as roaches, rats, ants, bedbugs, and termites from homes, buildings, and surrounding areas. They typically inspect buildings for signs of pests, determine the treatment needed, and estimate the cost of their services for customers. Their methods include using traps, pesticides and power spraying-equipped trucks to remove or kill pests. There are 2 types of pest control workers: Pest control technicians identify pest problems, conduct inspections, and design strategies. They work directly with customers and use a limited range of pesticides. Applicators use a wider range of pesticides and handle more serious pests such as termites, as well as fumigating houses to treat large-scale infestations. Most pest control workers work full time, often including evenings and weekends. Overtime is common. A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required, and employers provide formal instruction and on-the-job training.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org