Pest management workers identify, eliminate and repel pests by applying specific chemical solutions, setting traps and other equipment to control pests such as rats, mice and cockroaches. They apply pesticides and clean and remove pests after extermination. Their tasks might include elimination of fungi, moisture or insects. They inform and advise clients, residents and facility owners on after care and preventive methods to keep away pests.
Pest management 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
Pest management workers must travel to a client’s home or business. They work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather.
Injuries and Illnesses
Pest management workers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. These workers are susceptible to strains and sprains because they may need to kneel, bend, and crawl in tight spaces. In addition, some pesticides are toxic and may be harmful to humans, so workers must take precautions when using such chemicals.
All pesticide products are reviewed and approved by local authorities and workers must follow label directions. Pest management workers are trained and licensed for pesticide use and must wear protective equipment, including gloves, goggles, and respirators, to reduce the risk of harm.
Most pest management workers are employed full time. Working evenings and weekends is common. Some work more than 40 hours per week.
The following job titles also refer to pest management worker:
pest control service technician
pest control worker
worker in pest management activities
pest control technician
pest management professional
A high school diploma is generally the minimum required to work as a pest management worker.
Most pest management workers begin as technicians, typically receiving on-the-job training. They often study specialties such as rodent control, termite control, and fumigation. Technicians also must complete general training in pesticide use and safety. Pest management training can usually be completed in less than 3 months.
After completing training, workers are qualified to provide pest management services. Because pest management methods change, workers often attend continuing education classes.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Pest management worker is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Pest management worker career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to pest management worker.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of pest management worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of pest management worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of pest management worker.
- Safe use of pesticides: Precautions and regulations concerning the transport, storage and handling of chemical substances that exterminate pests.
- Preventative measures against pests: Techniques and measures used to prevent unwanted bugs or animals in houses or buildings, such as installing wood protection and bird spikes.
- Chemical products: The offered chemical products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.
- Pesticides: Types of chemical characteristics of pesticides and their adverse human and environmental effects.
- European pesticide legislation: The EU framework for community action which promotes the sustainable use of pesticides.
- Personal protective equipment: Types of protective materials and equipment foreseen for various types of tasks such as general or specialised cleaning activities.
- Pest management techniques: Techniques and measures used to prevent unwanted pests in houses, buildings and their surroundings by preventing access or by deploying other techniques such as wood protection and bird management devices.
- Herbicides: Types of chemical characteristics of herbicides and their adverse human and environmental effects.
- Pest biology: Biological characteristics of insect and rodent pest and their influence on choosing a pest management method.
- National pesticide legislation: National legislation regulating the substances used and usage of pesticides.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of pest management worker.
- Follow control of substances hazardous to health procedures: Adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) procedures for activities that involve hazardous substances, such as bacteria, allergens, waste oil, paint or brake fluids that result in illness or injury.
- Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
- Perform mathematical calculations in pest management: Make calculations to prepare the appropriate dose of pest control substance, in accordance to the surface affected and the type of rodent or insect in question.
- Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
- Decide on infestation treatment type: Based on the evaluation of the infestation type and source, plan the treatment type to be applied such as fumigation, poison paste or bait, traps, spraying insecticides.
- Spray pesticides: Spray pesticide solutions to keep insects, fungus, weed growth, and diseases under control.
- Report on pest inspections: Provide written reports on all inspections carried out on buildings and all treatments applied and materials used to manage pests.
- Identify infestation source: Inspect buildings and surroundings to identify the source and extent of damage done to property by pests.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of pest management worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Cleaning industry health and safety measures: Preventive and interventional methods used in the cleaning industry to maintain health and safety for all workers and tertiary persons.
- Wood preservation: Measures and techniques used to ensure the wood’s durability and resistance against humidity, insects, and fungi.
- Environmental engineering: The application of scientific and engineering theories and principles aimed at improving the environment and sustainability, such as the provision of clean habitation necessities (such as air, water, and land) for humans and other organisms, for environmental remediation in the event of pollution, sustainable energy development, and improved waste management and waste reduction methods.
- Phytosanitary measures: Measures related to controlling plant and crop diseases, pests, and pathogens.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of pest management worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Provide technical documentation: Prepare documentation for existing and upcoming products or services, describing their functionality and composition in such a way that it is understandable for a wide audience without technical background and compliant with defined requirements and standards. Keep documentation up to date.
- Drive vehicles: Be able to drive vehicles; have the appropriate type of driving license according to the type of motor vehicle used.
- Protect plants during pest control: Apply techniques to protect plants from dangerous chemicals used in pest control.
- Manage a small-to-medium business: Manage the organisational, financial and day-to-day operation of a small-to-medium enterprise.
- Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
- Maintain inventory of pesticides: Keep track of the remaining supplies in order to ensure continuity and availability of the necessary pesticides.
- Maintain professional administration: File and organise professional administration documents comprehensively, keep customer records, fill in forms or log books and prepare documents about company-related matter.
- Advise on pest infestation prevention: Provide advice and information to clients on how to prevent future pests and related infestation in their home, office or other public or private spaces.
ISCO group and title
7544 – Fumigators and other pest and weed controllers
- Pest management worker – ESCO
- Pest Control Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Featured image: By This file was contributed to Wikimedia Commons by National Archives at College Park – Still Pictures as part of a cooperation project. The donation was facilitated by the Digital Public Library of America, via its partner National Archives and Records Administration. Record in source catalog DPLA identifier: a0c3e215b86c011ce0f8b70e48dc4258National Archives Identifier: 81236359, Public Domain