Career Detail

Pest Control Worker
“Keeping the Bugs Away”
Pest control workers locate, identify, destroy, control, and repel pests such as roaches, rats, mice, spiders, termites, fleas, ants, and bees.
The Job
Unwanted creatures that infest households, buildings, or surrounding areas are pests that can pose serious risks to health and safety. It is a pest control worker's job to remove them. They use their knowledge of pests' biology and habits, along with an arsenal of pest management techniques such as applying chemicals, setting traps, operating equipment, and even modifying structures to alleviate pest problems. Pest control workers must kneel, bend, reach, and crawl to inspect, modify, and treat structures. There are health risks associated with pesticide use. Various pest control chemicals are toxic and could be harmful if not used properly but health risks are kept to a minumum with proper training. About 47 percent of all pest control workers work a 40-hour week, but 26 percent work more hours. Pest control workers often work evenings and weekends, but many work consistent shifts.
Work Environment
Pest control workers travel to visit clients. They work both indoors and out, in all weather conditions. Protective gear is also common.
College Majors
Minimum Qualifications
A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum qualification for most pest control jobs. Both Federal and State laws require pest control workers to be certified. In many States, training usually involves spending 10 hours in the classroom and 60 hours on the job for each category of work.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Good driving record, good health, communication skills.
Quick Facts
  • A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement.
  • Laws require pest control workers to be certified through training and examination.
  • More Information: National Pest Management Association, Suite 301, 9300 Lee Hgwy., Fairfax, VA 22031.
Compensation and Outlook
Median hourly wages of pest control workers were $14.37 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.68 and $17.67. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.45, and the top 10 percent earned over $21.34. Wages may vary by job function.
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