How to Become a Pest Control Technician

Have you always felt comfortable with, and maybe even fascinated by, bugs and rodents? If so, you are a rare individual, and may just be a perfect fit for a career in pest control!

Before we jump into some of the details about a career as a pest control technician, let’s get some of the standard questions out of the way:

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent is required
  • Additional licensing: All states require pest control certifications
  • Expected salary: Average base salary in 2020 is $38,000
  • Job outlook: Pest control technician jobs are projected to grow >9% in the next 10 years (much higher than many similar occupations)

If this sounds like a good fit, then hang around and let’s dive deeper into what it means to be a pest control technician. 

Pest control technician certifications

As mentioned above, each State requires technicians to be certified, but requirements vary by State. In order to be qualified to provide pest control services, you will need to keep your certification active. 

Depending on the State, you can receive your certification at a variety of locations, such as:

  • Community colleges and universities
  • Technical schools
  • Dedicated pest control training centers
  • Association conferences

These programs will provide an in-depth and comprehensive overview of all aspects of the trade, including: 

  • Various applicator methods for pest control
  • Best practice in fumigation
  • How to safely use pesticides
  • Termite control
  • Rodent control
  • And more

You can expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $400 for the certification exams. On average, these programs will take 3 months to complete. 

In addition to the initial certification, technicians are required to attend continuing education classes to learn new and emerging techniques in the trade and keep apprised of evolving regulations.

Pest control technician job duties

The primary role of technicians is to, you guessed it, control pests. This includes, but of course is not limited to, rats, roaches, termites, bedbugs, ants, spiders, etc.

Some of the duties you can expect to perform include: 

  • Examining the buildings for signs of infestation
  • Deciding on the type of treatment which is required to get rid of pests
  • Calculating the dimensions of the area which needs to be treated
  • Analyzing the cost of services
  • Leveraging baits and traps to kill and remove pests
  • Carrying out pest management plans
  • Applying pesticides to the building
  • Driving trucks which are armed with spraying equipment
  • Creating obstacles to forbid the pests from further entering the affected areas

Pests which infest and spoil buildings can have a serious toll on the safety and health of the occupants. It is up to you as the technician to develop a strategy to protect both the building and the people occupying it.

A day in the life of a technician

Depending on the company you work for, this will look very different. There are a few variables that will determine your process:

The state you are doing business in has an impact on the common types of pests you will be dealing with, the regulations you have to follow, and the chemicals you will be using. As an example, if you are a technician in California, you are going to need to fill out much more extensive paperwork for termite-related services. 

Scheduling and routing

Software has provided pest control companies with hugely streamlined processes, especially when it comes to technician processes. In the past, technicians started their day by reviewing their route for the day, which was handed to them on a piece of paper. 

If changes to that route had to be made, the office would need to contact the technician and changes would happen manually. Gratefully, this is a thing of the past for many companies who have adopted a software like Briostack. 

For companies using Briostack, technicians’ days start out by opening their tech app and navigating to their schedule. If changes are made due to cancellations or other unforeseen circumstances, the tech’s schedule and route is automatically adjusted accordingly. 

Completing jobs

This is another area where software has made a huge impact. Historically, techs would have a clipboard that they would lug around with them to each job. They would have to bill customers individually on paper invoices, track and report on chemical usage manually on paper, and make note of any follow-up tasks to give the office staff. 

Similar to routing, software has made this a thing of the past as well. Billing, closing out jobs, rescheduling, chemical usage, task management, and more can all be done directly from mobile apps like Briostack.

In addition to drastically improving the process to complete and close out jobs, this also frees up the techs to be far more customer-centric than ever before. Given how expensive it is to acquire new customers, this change is extremely beneficial. 

The job of a pest control technician is very rewarding

Expert technicians point out that although the task of pest control technician can sometimes be challenging, the job can be rewarding. There is a constant demand for people who need pest control and solving such unique problems has a noteworthy impact on the quality of life of the residents.

The majority don’t realize the actual potential of this job. The soaring demand for skillful pest control technicians will always be there and it is the constant calls for them that are keeping the industry alive.

Frequently asked questions:

Is pest control a stressful job?

Pest control can be a stressful industry to work in for a couple of reasons. The work is highly seasonal, which can make work-life balance difficult to achieve. During the busy season, schedules can be highly demanding. Depending on the area you live in, the slow season can be much less financially rewarding. 

How do I become a better pest control technician?

One benefit to working in this industry is the amount of continued education available to you. The NPMA and State associations provide conferences throughout the year that are fantastic resources if you are searching to improve your knowledge and performance as a tech. 

In addition to this, there are many free online resources to continue learning in between some of the major events.

How much does a pest control tech make?

The average base salary in 2020 for techs is $38,000/year.

How long is pest control training?

On average, pest control technician programs take 3 months to complete.

Are pest control techs the same as exterminators?

While both professions are called in to deal with unwanted pests, the biggest difference between these two occupations is the method of execution. Exterminators are highly focused on using chemicals to immediately deal with the symptoms occupants are experiencing. 

Pest control technicians use a variety of methods to not only deal with the issues manifesting in a building, but also dig deeper into the root cause of the problem. 

Is it worth getting into pest control?

The industry is continuing to boom and techs specifically are projected to grow >9% in the next 10 years. Pest control workers were determined as essential during the pandemic, which has enabled the industry to continue to grow at a strong rate. 

In addition to this, the help you provide in protecting the health and wellness of your customers makes this a very satisfying industry to work in.