Best Way To Become A Pest Specialist

Pest control specialists, sometimes referred to as exterminators, are responsible for removing unwanted animals from a building. Some common examples of animals pest specialists remove include rats, ants and roaches. Termites and bedbugs are also handled by specialists. In addition to removing pests, specialists also identify problems relating to these animals, including identifying how they were able to get in, and whether the animals caused any structural damage. Exterminators also work with customers to ensure the animals do not return, coming up with strategies to both prevent and discourage pests from the building.


Pest specialists use a number of different tools to remove insects and small animals. While the majority specialize in lethal methods, there are nonlethal options as well, using chemicals or traps to safely contain the pests. While much of the work takes place indoors, there are also outdoor elements as well. More information about how start your career as a pest specialist is detailed below.

Benefits of Becoming a Pest Specialists

There are many reasons to become a pest specialist. In 2019, pest specialists experienced a much higher demand, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a nearly 10 percent increase in pest specialist jobs up to 2029. Pest specialists have a great deal of freedom choosing where to work. While many are part of larger companies, it is also possible to get a career as an independent specialist. This gives you a greater freedom over which clients you take, as well as the hours you work.

Pest specialists require special certification, but you are not required to get an official degree. Many companies also provide on the job training once you are certified, which is an excellent way to develop practical skills. It also has a reliable starting salary, with pest specialists receiving on average $15 an hour, based on reports from 2014. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, with the greater demand for pest specialists, the starting wage is likely to increase over the next 10 years.

Duties of a Pest Specialist

Before completing certification, it is important to understand all the responsibilities of being a pest specialist. Your main responsibility is removing pests from a building. In order to do this, you must be able to thoroughly inspect a building and discover how and where the pests are coming from. This includes determining the exact dimensions of the area which must be treated, to help determine what the best method is.

Elimination methods, especially if a nest or infestation is involved, frequently requires using chemicals. You must be able to identify which chemicals are the correct choice, and how to deploy them safely. This also includes understanding when it is safe for individuals to return to the building. Specialists must be able to calculate prices on the job as well.

You are also responsible for stopping any future infestations. Sometimes, this is as simple as giving the property owner advice. In more complex situations, you are required to create traps or obstacles in the building to keep pests from returning.

Becoming a Pest Specialist

There are minimal educational requirements to become a pest specialist. You must have a high school diploma or GED. After graduating high school, you are eligible to enroll in pest control certification. The exact certification requirements vary depending on what state you are in. For the most part, the lessons are the same no matter where you are. There may be a greater emphasis placed on removing regional pests or how to safely perform removal in specific weather conditions common to the state. You also learn about different chemical restrictions based on where you live, as well as general restrictions set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can find out more information about certification from your state’s Pest Control Regulatory board.

There are many locations where you can take certification classes. One of the most common sources is community colleges or university extension programs. You can also look for certification classes through technical centers or pest control training centers. If you are struggling to find out about certification, you can also contact the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Some pest control agencies also offer certification training as well.

Once you are certified, you must complete additional, on-the-job training. In some states, this is referred to as an apprenticeship. Your training must be supervised by a licensed pest control specialist. How long you must be trained greatly varies depending on the state. In some states, you are also required to pass an additional test at the end of your training.

After your on-the-job training, you are close to becoming a licensed pest specialist. You must complete one final license test. This test covers your knowledge of pests and removal options, your ability to diagnose common pest situations and how you plan to remove pests.