Become the Exterminator: Everything You Need to Know About Pest Control Jobs

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Dec 14, 2018

Dec 14, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

The pest control industry in the United States is in an upswing. So far, the 2018 total revenue in this lucrative industry has reached $14 billion.

This means healthy job security for anyone thinking of becoming a pest control technician. There's a constant, year-round need for extermination services, which means pest control jobs are always available.

However, this career path isn't for everyone. It requires extensive knowledge of insects and other pests. In addition, it requires you to work with potentially dangerous chemicals.

Don't worry though. Once you've gone through the proper training you'll be able to provide safe and efficient service. Let's go over important aspects of the job and what you'll need to do to get certified.

Job Overview

The primary goal of an exterminator is to eliminate pest infestations from home or commercial buildings. They do this using a number of different methods depending on the type of infestation.

The process typically begins by performing a thorough inspection. Although most people hire pest control specialists for a specific problem, other issues sometimes come to light during the inspection.

Once the inspection is complete, the exterminator forms a plan of action. If the property owner agrees with this plan, the extermination begins.

As an exterminator, you'll need to access tight spaces on a regular basis. These areas include attics, basements, and crawl spaces. To understand why you'll need to access an area such as an attic, check out this guide.

In addition to ridding properties of pests, an exterminator works to protect the structure from future infestations. They must also educate the client on different methods for keeping pests away.

Your Work Environment

As an exterminator, you're always on the move. You'll travel to each customer's home or business on a daily basis.

In addition to accessing tight spaces, you'll also work outside around the perimeter of a property. This can get tough during hot summers and cold winters.

The job demands a certain amount of physical exertion. You'll need to be able to bend, kneel, and sometimes crawl. You'll also need to be able to lift moderately heavy equipment.

Most exterminators don't spend much time in an office setting. If you get a job with a large company, you'll likely be on service calls throughout the day, every day.

You may opt to start your own exterminator business. In this case, you'll need to travel to client's properties to provide service and also take on an administrative role.

Becoming a Certified Exterminator

If you prefer a job that keeps you on your toes instead of behind a computer, becoming a pest control tech may be the perfect career move for you.

However, you don't just sign on the dotted line and get started. You'll need to go through some training and education first.

All exterminators must get certified to practice pest control in their specific state. Each state has its own guidelines, so make sure you adhere to them.

Let's go over all the requirements for becoming a certified exterminator.

Required Education

As far as formal education goes, you only need a high school diploma to start a career in pest control. That's right - you don't have to attend college

However, if you want to own and operate your own business one day, getting a business degree is a good idea. This will provide you with the knowledge to start a business from the bottom up and market it successfully.

If you want to become a certified exterminator, you'll need to do some studying. Although you won't pursue a degree, you'll need to understand the ins and outs of infestation. You'll also have to fully understand the chemicals needed to do your job effectively.

Pest Control Training

Exterminators must complete classroom and on-the-job training. Specialized pest control schools offer training courses. Some community colleges offer these courses as well.

It's important you make sure the training courses you attend are recognized by the pesticide regulatory board in your state. These classroom courses will get you ready to take on an entry-level position as an exterminator. Expect them to last around three months.

Once you complete your classroom courses, you can start on-the-job training once you land a position. You'll work as an apprentice alongside a certified technician.

This is where you get to apply the knowledge and skills you learned during training. Plus, you'll learn critical techniques while working under a licensed tech.

Once you're finished with your apprenticeship, you can become certified.

Getting Certified

You're now at the final stage of your mission to become an exterminator. All you have to do is pass a certification test.

You'll either have to pass a written or oral examination. This is determined by state regulations.

The exam will test your knowledge of insects and the pesticides needed to combat infestations. You'll also have to show you have the knowledge needed to diagnose an infestation and form the best plan for eliminating it.

Make sure you hang on to all training materials so you can study before your exam. Once you're certified you can begin work as a licensed pest control tech.

Continue Your Education

Like many industries, pest control is always changing. New techniques and products can transform the way exterminators do their jobs.

This means you'll need to stay up to date on advances in the field. Doing so will ensure your success and help you maintain job security.

You may also need to learn new ways to provide environmentally friendly service to clients. This is becoming more and more important as companies try to reduce their carbon footprint.

Become an Exterminator and Find Pest Control Jobs Right Away

If you desire a profession that provides a more diverse and exciting work experience than office jobs, consider becoming a certified exterminator. You'll enjoy a healthy salary and continued job security.

Plus, because the industry is thriving, there are plenty of pest control jobs available. Take the steps discussed above and get your license right away.

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