Pest-control training can vary greatly from state to state. However, nearly every state requires pest-control technicians to pass multiple certification tests in general pest management, pest management as it pertains to locals pests, pesticide application, and general laws and safety regulations. In addition to on-the-job pest-control training, technicians are required to participate in ongoing pest-control training and recertification.
In most states, pest-control technicians must pass at least two certification exams to become a licensed pest-control technician. Many states require technicians to pass a general competency exam, which includes everything from general pesticide application to basic pest recognition to pesticide calibration for spray application equipment. Additionally, technicians may be required to pass a specialty certification exam, which may include exam categories ranging from structural pest management to ornamental pesticide application. Some pest-control companies may require their employees to pass up to three or four certification exams.
Licensure requirements vary greatly from state to state, but most states generally require technicians to pass all the required exams, fill out the proper application paperwork and pay a nominal licensing fee. Pest-control companies usually cover licensing or exam fees. Pest applicator licenses are usually valid for one full year but require an annual renewal. Some states, such as Washington State (see Reference 2), require recertification after five years.
A pest-control technician's on-the-job training period can last anywhere from two weeks to six months, depending on the stringency of a specific pest-control company's knowledge requirements for its technicians. The training period usually consists of driving safety, pesticide spray-equipment safety and extensive customer service instruction. Inexperienced pest-control technicians usually ride around in a truck with an experienced technician during this training period to get a feel for how each pest service is performed and for practical customer service training.
Pest-control technicians generally perform routine exterior pesticide application treatments, in addition to interior inspections and removal of rats, mice and spiders. They also have to perform regular maintenance on their pesticide spray equipment to prevent clogging, which can be a potential hazard to the technician. Additionally, technicians often perform administrative duties such as filling out paperwork, scheduling service appointments and selling pest-control services to potential customers.
As of 2008, the pest-control industry accounted for just over 67,000 jobs. Pest-control jobs are expected to grow by 15 percent through the year 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2010–2011 edition of its Occupational Outlook Handbook. This a much faster growth than most of the occupations surveyed in the handbook, which have a growth rate of about 7 percent to 13 percent.
2016 Salary Information for Pest Control Workers
Pest control workers earned a median annual salary of $33,040 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, pest control workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $26,730, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $41,270, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 78,900 people were employed in the U.S. as pest control workers.