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Exterminator / Pest Control


How to Become an Exterminator
Job Duties of an Exterminator
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become an Exterminator
Exterminator Salaries
Influential Professional Exterminators
Leading Organizations for Exterminators
Top Cities for Exterminator & Pest Control Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Exterminator

A high school diploma or the equivalent is the minimum education requirement for a job as an exterminator. Many people are now entering the field with some college education or even degrees. Most employees in this field begin as apprentice technicians, receiving formal and hands on training from their employers. However, independent study is also necessary since both Federal and state laws require pest control workers to be certified. Certification training usually entails ten classroom hours and sixty on the job hours for each category of work that the worker would like to perform. Apprentice technicians must also attend general training in pesticide safety and use. After this training they can perform pest control services under the guidance of a supervisor.

What does an Exterminator do?

Exterminators, often called pest control workers, locate, identify, destroy, control, and repel unwanted creatures, such as rats, roaches, spiders, ants, and bees, that infest buildings. They have a wealth of knowledge of the habits and biology of these creatures that they use along with an arsenal of pest management techniques. The final choice of management technique is up to the consumer. Some pests need to be exterminated and pesticides will be used. There are two types of pesticides: general use and restricted use. General use pesticides are used most often and are readily available, even to the public in diluted forms. Restricted use pesticides are only available to certified professionals who are controlling the most severe infestations. More and more often, exterminators are using more management techniques, called integrated pest management. Creating physical barriers and ensuring proper sanitation is in place is often more effective in the long term management of pests. Exterminators will also use baits, some of which destroy pests and others which keep them from reproducing.

The work of extermination requires traveling to customer sites and consulting with building and home owners. Exterminators then engage in kneeling, bending, reaching, and crawling in order to inspect and treat for pests. They work inside and outdoors, in all weather conditions. New technology allows exterminators to do home inspections, usually for termites, much more quickly than in the past. There is a hierarchy to titles in the field of pest control as well as different titles to denote the types of methods employed by the individual to control pests.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Exterminator?

Exterminators have extensive contact with customers in the field, and as such need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Employers will check to ensure prospective employees have a good driving record, and some states require a background check. Pest control workers should be in good health and able to withstand temperature extremes in every season.

How much does an Exterminator make?

In 2007 median annual salary of all pest control workers was $29,030. The middle fifty percent earned between $23,340 and $35,960 each year. Supervisors usually earn the most and technicians the least. Many employers pay commissions based on number of sold contracts or bonuses based on exemplary performance.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Rob Lederer is Executive Vice President of National Pest Management Association. Since joining the association in 1995, Lederer has successfully re-engineered the association and led it to record growth. He has been instrumental in reshaping the image of pest control professionals in the eyes of both the public and the government. Notably, the National Pest Management Association now has a positive working relationship with the Environmental Protection Agency. Through Lederer's efforts, NPMA instituted the professional pest management alliance which serves as a proactive, unified voice within the industry focused on consumer awareness. He is well known for giving personal attention to state management groups and developing www.pestworld.com, a comprehensive on-line source of pest management information.

Greg Baumann is a Senior Scientist and Technical Director of National Pest Management Association. He has 27 years of experience in commercial and residential pest control. Baumann has been a key driving force in raising awareness and public education of pest control issues through his actions as a national consumer advisor. He is also instrumental in the development of new technical products and educational services for pest control professionals. In his role at NPMA, he also works closely with governmental agencies regarding pest management.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The National Pest Management Association is 75 years old and has been focused on representing the interests of the pest control industry. Because of the work done by NPMA, the pest control industry is stronger, more unified, and more professional. This organization guides its members toward professionalism through verifiable training, introduction of new technologies, and being the voice of the industry to the media and public. The success of the National Pest Management Association stems from networking opportunities for members. At meetings, workshops, and regional and national conferences, individuals in this industry get the chance to share ideas and expertise. They also get the chance to learn about new tools and techniques in the industry and brainstorm solutions to common problems. In 1997, NPMA instituted the professional pest management alliance which serves as a proactive, unified voice within the industry focused on consumer awareness. Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, the National Pest Management Association has a membership of over 4,600 companies.

What are the top cities for Exterminator jobs?

The two top cities for aspiring exterminators to find work are San Diego, California and Hilliard, Ohio. Other cities with good job prospects include Long Island, New York and Richardson, Texas.

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