How to Become a Pest Control Technician

If you want to help other people get rid of bugs in their homes and workplaces, you will be interested in finding out how to become a pest control technician.

Requirements

Most states require their pest control technicians be at least 18 years old. Some will want candidates to have experience working as an apprentice for someone who is certified. In order to get certified, you must not have been convicted of terrorism or any crimes related to the environment like polluting. Any other type of criminal record could also prevent you from being hired as a pest control technician. Also, you should be aware that most states stipulate that people working with pesticides have liability insurance.

Education/Training

In some places, you will need a high school diploma or GED, while in other places you just have to show English proficiency in the areas of reading, writing and speaking. More and more states are requiring that individuals take an approved training program or a specified number of hours of professional training. Some states allow applicants to take this training via correspondence courses. You can usually find these training classes through pesticide companies, community colleges or your state's Cooperative Extension department. You may also be able to find relevant courses taught by retired exterminators. Before registering, make sure you are aware of the costs for the training, if any.

Exams

You also need to find out if your particular state requires any tests. Many do require that pest control technicians take at least two written exams in order to become certified. On one of the tests, you can expect questions about topics like following label instructions, doing the math required to mix chemicals properly, what to do in case of an emergency, and your particular state's regulations regarding the application of pesticides. The other test deals with your ability to identify common pest and decide on the approved pesticides to eradicate them. Besides these two tests, some states may require an oral exam. Any certification you earn usually has to be renewed after a specified period of time, so you will either have to take continuing education courses or re-take the exams when your certification expires.

Tips/Advice

Each state has an agency that implements FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) regulations differently. As a result, to get more specific information about the requirements in your particular state, you should contact your state's Department of Agriculture or Environmental Protection.

Once you know what the requirements are in your state, you need to start getting in touch with the various pest control companies in your area to see if they have any openings. If so, find out the steps they want you to take to apply for the job. Some may prefer for you to apply in person, while others may request that you to send them a resume.

Pay/Job Outlook

As of early 2010, pay for workers in the pest control industry averages just under $30,000 a year--not as much as in other skilled trades; however, pay is expected to increase as the licensing requirements become more difficult. If you work for a company, you can expect benefits like health insurance and vacation time. Many companies will also pay for your uniforms and continuing education classes. Plus, the job tends to be dependable with very few layoffs even during tough economic times. In fact, the job outlook for this particular profession is good with an expected 15 percent increase in positions in the upcoming years.

More Information

To get more information about this profession, you can visit the website for the International Pest Control operators network, or you can get in touch with the National Pest Management Association Inc., located at 8100 Oak Street in Dunn Loring, VA 22027. Their phone number is (703) 573-8330, and their website is pestworld.org.