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Become A Pest Control Operator

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Working As A Pest Control Operator

  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Make Decisions

  • $47,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Pest Control Operator Do

Pest control workers remove unwanted creatures, such as roaches, rats, ants, bedbugs, and termites that infest buildings and surrounding areas.

Duties

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 or kill 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, and termites are the most common pests, some pest control workers also remove irritant birds and other wildlife.

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 use chemicals 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. Warning signs are posted to keep people from going into fumigated buildings, and fumigators monitor buildings closely to detect and stop leaks.

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How To Become A Pest Control Operator

State laws require pest control workers to be licensed. Most workers need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training, usually lasting less than 3 months.

Many pest control companies require that employees have good driving records.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum qualification for most pest control jobs.

Training

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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Pest control workers must 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.

Advancement

Pest control workers typically advance as they gain experience. Applicators with several years of experience often become supervisors. Some experienced workers start their own pest management company.

Important Qualities

Bookkeeping skills. Pest control workers must keep accurate records of the hours they work, chemicals they use, and payments they collect. Self-employed workers, in particular, need these skills in order to run their business.

Customer-service skills. Pest control workers should be friendly and polite when they interact with customers at their homes or businesses. 

Detail oriented. Because pest control workers apply pesticides, they need to be able to follow instructions carefully in order to prevent harm to residents, pets, the environment, and themselves.

Physical stamina. Pest control workers may spend hours on their feet, often crouching, kneeling, and crawling. They also must be able to withstand uncomfortable conditions, such as heat when they climb into attics in the summertime and cold when they enter crawl spaces during winter.

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Pest Control Operator Typical Career Paths

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Pest Control Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

72.9%

Unknown

16.3%

Female

10.8%
Ethnicity

White

58.4%

Hispanic or Latino

23.1%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

4.2%

Unknown

2.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.0%

German

20.0%

Japanese

20.0%

Chinese

20.0%
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Pest Control Operator Education

Schools

Purdue University

11.1%

University of Florida

7.4%

Suffolk County Community College

7.4%

Briarcliffe College

7.4%

Allan Hancock College

7.4%

University of Georgia

7.4%

Dakota County Technical College

3.7%

Eastern Michigan University

3.7%

University of Connecticut

3.7%

Miami University-Middletown

3.7%

Lamar Institute of Technology

3.7%

Washington State University

3.7%

Quest College

3.7%

Southeast Community College Area

3.7%

Moraine Valley Community College

3.7%

University of Memphis

3.7%

College of Saint Scholastica

3.7%

Bay State School of Technology

3.7%

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

3.7%

Warner Pacific College

3.7%
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Majors

Business

17.6%

Plant Sciences

7.4%

Zoology

7.4%

Computer Information Systems

5.9%

Biology

5.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

5.9%

Criminal Justice

5.9%

Agricultural Operation And Science

4.4%

General Studies

4.4%

Agricultural Business

4.4%

Education

4.4%

Management

2.9%

Psychology

2.9%

Mathematics

2.9%

Environmental Science

2.9%

Fire Science And Protection

2.9%

Industrial Technology

2.9%

Applied Horticulture

2.9%

Elementary Education

2.9%

Computer Science

2.9%
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Degrees

Other

35.1%

Bachelors

30.6%

Associate

17.1%

Certificate

9.0%

Masters

7.2%

Diploma

0.9%
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Top Skills for A Pest Control Operator

  1. Pest Control Services
  2. Customer Service
  3. Dust Chemical Solutions
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided pest control services to residential and commercial customers while meeting performance goals and company objectives.
  • Ensured a positive guest experience by resolving issues and delivering excellent customer service.
  • Spray or dust chemical solutions interior and exterior walls Record work activities performed.
  • Direct or assist other workers in treatment or extermination processes to eliminate or control rodents, insects, or weeds.
  • Maintain Pest Control Equipment and Chemicals Operated heavy Machinery i.e.

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Top Pest Control Operator Employers

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