How to become a pest control technician: skills and benefits

Updated 1 May 2023

If you have an interest in environmental health and enjoy working outdoors, you could consider a career as a pest control technician. Pest control technicians investigate the causes of pest infestation and eliminate the presence of pests, such as rats and cockroaches. Learning a pest control technician's job duties and qualifications can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we describe a pest control technician, explain how to become a pest control technician, outline their skills, highlight their career opportunities and explain the benefits of pursuing this career.

Who are pest control technicians?

A pest control technician is an individual who identifies pests, investigates infestation sources and finds solutions to eliminate them. Methods they use to get rid of pests include traps and chemicals. They can work in homes, offices, restaurants and sewers.

Pest control technicians work on eliminating various pests, including mice, rats, cockroaches, wasps and ants. Some pest control technicians specialise in the elimination of one type of pest. There are various methods of pest control they use, including:

  • Physical pest control methods: This method involves using physical equipment to eliminate pests. This equipment includes traps which can work on rodents and extremes of temperature, which can work on bed bug eggs, larvae and adults.

  • Chemical pest control methods: This involves using chemicals to kill pests. These chemicals include pesticides, rodenticides and poison baits, which they use with physical methods.

  • Biological pest control methods: This method involves using a pest's natural predators against it. It also involves using microorganisms to destroy pests.

Related: Top 10 outdoor jobs that pay well (salary and requirements)

How to become a pest control technician

To learn how to become a pest control technician, you can review their qualifications, skills and job duties. These actions can show you what the job entails and help you decide if you want to pursue this career. Here are seven steps you can take to become a pest control technician:

1. Learn the job duties of a pest control technician

Learning the job duties of a pest control technician can show you what to expect in this career. Their job duties involve investigating pest infestations and using chemicals and traps to capture and eliminate them. Other job duties include:

  • collecting dead animals and taking samples for analysis

  • advising clients on methods of preventing infestation

  • disposing of captured or dead animals

  • choosing the most appropriate method of pest control

  • applying pesticides in and around buildings

  • calculating the correct chemical dosage

  • writing reports after completing inspections

  • repairing pest access points

Related: How to become a forester, with career steps and salary

2. Apply for pest control courses

You may require GCSEs in maths, English, and science to enrol in a pest control technician course. Apply for courses accredited by the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). You can start by applying for the Foundation Certificate in Pest Management, whereby you receive an overview of pest management and what a pest control technician does. After this, you can apply for a General Pest Control Level 2 Pest Management course, which is the standard qualification recognised in the industry. Other BPCA accredited courses you can take include:

  • Practical Insect Control

  • Using Rodenticides Safely

  • Practical Vertebrate Trapping

  • Starting and Managing Your Own Pest Management Business

Related: How to become a gardener (with skills, salary and FAQs)

3. Join a professional organisation

There are some professional organisations you can join after completing pest control courses. They include BPCA and the National Pest Technicians Association. Joining a professional organisation allows you to gain recognition as a registered pest control technician. You can look for job opportunities and training workshops in these organisations.

4. Write your CV

A CV is a document that contains your skills, qualifications and work experiences related to your career. When writing your CV, include your BPCA-accredited courses and relevant work experience. You can submit your CV to pest control companies during your job search.

5. Get work experience

Pest control technicians work in pest control companies. You can apply for job opportunities at these companies. Your work may take place in restaurants, private homes, sewers and other small spaces. Work experience can allow you to learn on the job and improve your skills while networking with other pest control technicians and supervisors. You may work 45 to 47 hours a week and take weekend shifts. The work environment could be in or outdoors, depending on the type of pest.

Related: 10 jobs in biological sciences, with salaries and skills

6. Start a business

After getting work experience, you can consider starting your own pest control business. Consider specialising in a specific type of pest control such as bed bug infestation. You can use social media or create a website to advertise the business. Consider getting an insurance policy relevant to the pest control business.

Related: How to start a small business (with steps and skills)

7. Earn special licences

You can consider earning special licences that permit you to work on protected species. You can apply for these licences through Natural England. These licences can permit you to destroy the habitats of animals such as bats. There are four types of licences you can apply for:

  • General licence: This licence permits you to work on jobs with a low risk to protected species. You can use this licence to trap and kill wild birds for public health reasons.

  • Class licence: This licence requires specific skills to prevent endangering protected species. You can use this licence to trap or kill wild birds for air safety reasons.

  • Individual licence: This licence covers all animals not covered by the class licence.

  • Organisational licence: This licence permits you to work on more than one protected species.

Related: How to become a zoologist (plus job and salary info)

Essential skills for a pest control technician

Here's a list of essential skills for a pest control technician:

  • Technical skills: These include knowing how to use traps and measure and mix chemicals in the correct proportions to eliminate pests.

  • Communication skills: You can use communication skills when advising clients on the prevention measures they can take to control pest infestations. Communicating effectively with clients can allow them to understand and follow instructions.

  • Customer service skills: Customer service skills include being patient and empathetic. When interacting with clients, you can use these skills to show them you care about their challenges with pests and are willing to help.

  • Observational skills: Observational skills involve paying attention to your environment and evaluating its condition. You can use these skills when investigating the cause of pest infestations.

  • Physical stamina: As a pest control technician, your job may involve climbing to high areas and crawling in hard-to-reach spaces. Having physical stamina can allow you to perform your job duties optimally.

  • Ability to withstand unpleasant conditions: You may encounter unpleasant conditions during some of your jobs, such as working in dark and cramped spaces. Being able to withstand such conditions can help you complete your job tasks.

  • Book-keeping skills: As a pest control technician, book-keeping skills can help you document job details, such as how many hours you work, chemicals and traps you use and payment details.

  • Driving: It may be necessary to travel to distant locations for a job. Being able to drive a van or truck to carry your equipment is essential.

Related: What are hard skills and how do they differ from soft skills?

Career opportunities for a pest control technician

There are several career opportunities for pest control technicians. With experience, you can become a supervisor or manager at a pest control company. You could also consider starting a pest control business whereby you offer general pest control services or specialise in a specific type of pest.

Benefits of becoming a pest control technician

Here are some of the benefits of becoming a pest control technician:

  • Job security: Pests are a continuing hazard in homes and eateries so there may always be a role for pest control technicians.

  • Job satisfaction: Pest control technicians do work that improves the lives of others. A positive impact can give you job satisfaction and motivate you to keep working.

  • Opportunities for career advancement: As a pest control technician, you have several options for career advancement. They include getting promotions to become supervisors or specialising in researching specific types of pests.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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