Is Your Current Job "Bugging" You? Here Is How to Become a Pest Control Technician and Live a Life

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Nov 23, 2018

Nov 23, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Looking for a stable job that only requires a high school diploma or equivalent? Interested in helping people, traveling, and improving the community around you?

As a pest control technician, you can make a profound difference in removing the unwanted pests in residential homes and buildings.

Let's get into what you need to know to begin this career path.

1. Understand and Outweigh The Risks

Working and being around pesticides carries inherent risk, as you're exposing yourself to toxic chemicals on a routine basis. Thus, you will need to familarize yourself with different levels of toxicity and understand the potential health consequences.

Minimizing exposure is key for keeping you healthy both in the short and long-term. In this field, you will need to use and wear safety equipment. After you return home each day, you will need to immediately remove your clothing, shower, and wash your outfits.

2. Obtain Your Diploma or GED

Most pest control technician jobs require a diploma or equivalent to get hired. Your education should have strong skills related to math, science, and writing.

It's also beneficial to have additional education in the biology, identity, and understanding of various pests, like roaches, ants, etc.

3. Maintain An Excellent Driving Record

In this career, you'll be responsible for driving to various locations throughout the day. As a result, it's no surprise that employers will expect you to have a fantastic driving record.

If you aren't sure about the nature of your record, you can order a copy from the DMV.

Furthermore, make sure that you make it a point to adopt safe driving habits in your everyday commuting. That means avoiding speeding and distracted driving. It also means paying any infractions or tickets on time.

4. Complete Your Training Program

There are numerous ways to obtain pest control training. Popular programs are held at technical centers, local community colleges, university extension programs, and specific pest control training centers.

Before enrolling in any course, you should determine if your state recognizes the program in their regulatory boards.

During training, you should expect to learn about termite and rodent control, safe pesticide use, and fumigation.

While training programs vary, most of them can be completed with 2-3 months.

5. Complete On-The-Job Training

After completing the educational component of your training, it's time to get into the field and put your skills to the test!

Most technicians start out as apprentices under the supervision of licensed specialists. You will need to complete a designated number of hours of hands-on training in order to be eligible for your certification and licensure exam.

6. Obtain Certification

To become eligible as a pest control specialist, you'll need to pass a written examination (some states also require an oral and practical examination).

In these tests, you will need to demonstrate advanced knowledge of foundational pest knowledge in addition to diagnosing problems and providing viable solutions.

7. Find Your Job

You can locate pest control careers in a variety of sources including direct networking, company websites, online search engines, and your school. 

This is an important time for you to build connections with your fellow mentors and colleagues.

Make it known that you are looking for a job, send in the applications, create a killer resume, and brush up on your interviewing skills. This is where persistence matters- you need to put in the effort if you want to yield positive results.

8. Continue Advancing

If you want to stay in an entry-level position, then staying a pest control technician is best. That said, you can make yourself more competitive in the workforce by advancing and obtaining more experience.

Pest control applicators require additional years of work and examinations, but you can progress from there to becoming a supervisor.

Each of these career paths offers more lucrative opportunities- both in pay and flexibility, and if you're interested in continuing to improve your knowledge in this field, these are the choices to consider.

Additionally, all levels will require continuing education units to keep your certification in good standing. Because the field constantly evolves, it's important to stay relevant and updated on recent changes.

You should check with your state to identify your exact requirements. 

9. Pesticides Vs Other Methods

Did you know that pesticides aren't the only way to deal with roaches or rats (read more on that here)?

By integrating your management and practicing on preventative strategies, you can learn how to prohibit the pests from creating a problem in the first place. This requires intricate knowledge of the types of pests you are working with, the environments they live in, and what those pests are attracted to.

Furthermore, many technicians utilize alternative methods instead of pesticides for removal and control. 

For example, practicing routine fertilization, watering strategies, and maintaining excellent sanitation tactics can decrease problems. Furthermore, using various heat and water treatments can eliminate issues without using chemicals.

Finally, some technicians take the route of using other living creatures that will naturally eat or kill the targeted pests. 

Of course, if non-chemical methods cannot get the job done, pesticides will do the trick. With that, it's vital that technicians use the least toxic product they can to treat the area. After successfully getting rid of the pest, you can return to non-chemical methods for treatment. 

Final Thoughts on Becoming a Pest Control Technician

Working as a pest control technician has many benefits that include the ability to work independently, interact with different people, and make a lasting difference in your community. Moreover, it's an emerging field with plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement. 

Are you a pest control technician searching for a job? Check out our advanced search tool today.