careers pest control technician

Pest Control Technician Jobs

Pest control jobs… did you know?

When animals start creating a health hazard for people, they are known as vermin. A mouse can make a great pet, but if mice begin breeding where people eat, live and work and leaving mouse droppings in food or chewing through wiring, a solution needs to be found. Pests can include rodents, pigeons and insects like cockroaches, wasps and flies to name a few.

As a pest control technician it’s your job to investigate the source and exact nature of the hazard or infestation. Then, using your training, you will make a decision on how best to deal with the hazard without harming other species.

Industry: Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care

Pest control technician job trends

How much money can you make as a pest control technician?

£17,000 – £30,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £17,000 and £30,000 a year as a pest control technician in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a pest control technician will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

There are no set qualifications to start out in pest control, but you will find it useful to hold GCSEs in grades 9-4 (A*-C) or the equivalent in subjects like English, maths and science. This will give you a good base of understanding for what the work can involve and communicating with other members of the team.

Getting GCSEs or their equivalent at school will help you apply for useful qualifications further down the line, especially if you want to go into environmental health management.

Organisations offering courses, certificates and diploma qualifications:

  • National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA)
  • British Pest Control Association (BPCA)
  • Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (RSPH)
  • Lantra Awards

Each of these offers courses relating to general pest control, covering specialist areas like fumigating (using the fumes of certain chemicals to sanitize an area) and use of air weapons.
You can also get training on the best methods of dealing with insect infestations from the Property Care Association.

Employers usually provide trainees and new pest control officers with training on the job.

Apprenticeships

An alternative route is to take your first step into the pest control and environmental health industry with an apprenticeship. You won’t usually find an apprenticeship specific to pest control, but you will learn more about the environmental health and safety sector if you search for apprenticeships related to:

  • Health and safety
  • Environmental health

While at school or college, speak to your careers advisor about useful training and/or courses for you to take and find out more about the types of career routes available.

Career progression and further qualifications

As a pest control technician you could move on to become a supervisor or manager. You could also start your own business. You could also take further training and become an environmental health officer.

What experience do you need for pest control jobs?

Work experience

To become a pest control technician it will help you to have previous work experience in places where health and safety procedures are carried out. This will help you demonstrate to employers that you know how important health and safety is when it comes to people and the environment.

Aim to get relevant work experience to build your CV as early as you can. This can involve:

  • Work in restaurants, hotels or anywhere where food is involved and hygiene and health and safety are vital.
  • Environmental health and safety placements
  • Jobs, work experience or placements where you carry out physical work in varied conditions – for example, helping out with construction work or working outdoors. This is because pest control can take you to all sorts of places, from food factories to attics and sewers.

Volunteering

Look for volunteering opportunities that involve health and safety – like repairing the fence of a youth community centre or looking after beehives on a city farm. Volunteering opportunities where you get to work with animals (such as centres for rehoming animals) or construction may both prove useful.

What skills do you need for pest control jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs as a pest control technician include:

  • Customer service and communication skills
  • Problem solving skills to help you find the practical cause of an infestation or hazard and decide what’s best to do about it
  • Number skills to help you calculate the right dose for chemicals
  • Practical skills to get into places which might be cramped or high up, and use equipment that can range from fumigators to air guns
  • An understanding and knowledge of the importance of health and safety
  • Ability to drive

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a pest control technician do?

Knowing a little more about pest control will help you show employers that you understand what this job is about. It can also help you decide if it’s right for you.

Example job responsibilities:

  • Identifying pests causing a health and safety issue and finding out the nature of the problem
  • Collecting samples (and also dead animals) to analyse and help you understand the problem
  • Finding out how pests and vermin are getting into the area
  • Choosing the best method of control based on your research
  • Spraying chemicals to control insects like cockroaches or flies
  • Laying traps, using poison or using air guns to control birds and bigger animals
  • Proofing an area so that pests cannot return – this might involve sealing holes, building screens or putting spikes on a building to stop pigeons landing there
  • Giving advice to people on how they can prevent the problem happening again – this might involve explaining better ways to store food, for example
  • Making records of what you do and completing reports
  • Handling, storing and measuring out chemicals
  • Disposing of dead or captured animals in a safe way laid out by regulations
  • Being careful not to harm a species if there is a better way to deal with the problem – for example, you might recommend that a swarm of bees is rehoused in a hive with a local beekeeper

Your working environment:

You’ll wear protective clothing like goggles, respirators to help you avoid breathing in fumes, overalls and gloves. These important health and safety precautions will protect you from bites, stings, and toxic fumes.

You’ll find yourself in some unusual places. You’ll normally be called into buildings like shops, factories, warehouses and kitchens, or housing blocks. But if you specialise in certain kinds of pest control you could also find yourself exploring sewers, ships and aircraft. You may sometimes need to work in small, dark, damp or smelly places.

Your first steps into pest control jobs

To find jobs for young people in this role, search on job boards for pest control jobs with these words in the title:

  • Pest control technician
  • Pest control trainee
  • Environmental health apprentice
  • Environmental health technical support apprentice

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