Pest Control Workers

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Pest control workers remove unwanted pests that infest buildings and surrounding areas.

Work Environment: Pest control workers must travel to a client’s home or business. Workers often kneel, bend, and crawl into tight spaces to inspect sites. Because there are health risks associated with pesticide use, workers are trained in pesticide safety and, if required by the product label, sometimes wear protective gear, including respirators, gloves, and goggles. Working evenings and weekends is common.

How to Become One: State laws require pest control workers to be licensed. Most workers need a high school diploma and receive moderate on-the-job training.

Salary: The median annual wage for pest control workers is $35,610.

Job Outlook: Employment of pest control workers is projected to grow 7 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be good because of the limited number of people seeking work in pest control and the need to replace workers who leave this occupation.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of pest control workers with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a pest control worker with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Pest Control Jobs

  • Pest Control Tech - Fikes - Portland, OR

    Pest Control Tech FULL-TIME $20/hr Fikes Products is seeking a highly motivated and capable pest control technician to add to their team during a time when many pest control companies are slowing ...

  • Pest Control Technician - Fikes - Kent, WA

    Pest Control Technician FULL-TIME $21/hr This position is a salaried at 45,000 to 55,000/year depending on experience plus commission. Duties include meeting with existing and prospective clients to ...

  • Pest Control Technician - Adecco - Chico, CA

    These Pest Control Technician jobs are p ermanent positions! Pest Control Technician jobs require candidates to obtain a license within 6 weeks if not already licensed . If you meet the ...

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What Pest Control Workers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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

Duties of Pest Control Workers

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, control, or eliminate 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, ticks, and termites are the most common pests, some pest control workers also remove birds, squirrels, and other wildlife from homes and buildings.

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 may use chemicals or baiting techniques 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. They post warning signs to keep people from going into fumigated buildings and monitor buildings closely to detect and stop leaks.

Work Environment for Pest Control Workers[About this section] [To Top]

Pest control workers hold about 84,500 jobs. The largest employers of pest control workers are as follows:

Exterminating and pest control services 88%
Self-employed workers 5%

Pest control workers must travel to a client's home or business. They work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather. To inspect and treat sites, workers must often kneel, bend, and crawl into tight spaces.

When working with pesticides, pest control workers must wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and, when required, respirators.

Pest Control Worker Injuries and Illnesses

All pesticide products are reviewed and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and workers must follow label directions. Some pest control chemicals are toxic and can be harmful to humans, so care should be taken when using such chemicals. Workers are trained and licensed for pesticide usage and wear protective equipment as necessary based on label requirements. However, some injuries and illnesses from pesticide exposure may still occur. Pest control workers are also susceptible to strains and sprains because workers must often kneel, bend, and crawl into tight spaces.

Pest Control Worker Work Schedules

Most pest control workers are employed full time. Working evenings and weekends is common. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Pest Control Worker[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Pest Control Workers near you!

State laws require pest control workers to be licensed. Most workers need a high school diploma and receive moderate on-the-job training.

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

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Education for Pest Control Workers

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

Pest Control Worker 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 for Pest Control Workers

Most states require pest control workers to 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 for Pest Control Workers

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 for Pest Control Workers

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.

Pest Control Worker Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for pest control workers is $35,610. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $57,400.

The median annual wages for pest control workers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Exterminating and pest control services $35,430

Most pest control workers are employed full time. Working evenings and weekends is common. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook for Pest Control Workers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of pest control workers is projected to grow 7 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Some people may choose to control pests themselves rather than pay for professional pest control services. However, the growing number of invasive species, such as stink bugs, may increase demand for pest control services.

Job Prospects for Pest Control Workers

Job opportunities are expected to be good. The limited number of people seeking work in pest control and the need to replace workers who leave this occupation should result in many job openings.

Employment projections data for Pest Control Workers, 2018-28
Occupational Title Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28
Percent Numeric
Pest control workers 84,500 90,400 7 5,800


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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