Professional Pest Control Careers: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need a college degree to work in professional pest management?

A: While this answer may vary by company, many positions - including field technician - do not require a college degree.

Q: Can I work as a field technician if I don't have any prior experience?

A: Yes. Professional pest management companies provide extensive training, both on-the-job and in a classroom setting, and pest control professionals in the field will act as mentors.

Q: What kind of salaries should I expect in this industry?

A: Overall, most pest management companies offer very competitive salaries and a whole host of benefits. Entry-level positions, in many cases, are financially competitive to entry-level positions in customer service, construction, automotive and teaching industries, just to name a few. However, one of the many advantages of this growing and evolving industry is the room for promotion and personal career growth. Positions range from entry-level to seasoned technicians, and middle- and upper- level management.

Q: I'm still in college and I'm looking for a position that will work around my class schedule. How flexible are the jobs within this industry?

A: Jobs in professional pest management are fairly flexible. Speak with the hiring manager about your needs. Chances are good they'll be able to provide you with a schedule that will work around your classes.

Q: I'm a mom with kids in school. I'm looking to re-enter the job force and I need a career that will let me be home when my kids get off the bus. Is a job in professional pest management right for me?

A: It certainly could be. Because a majority of professional pest management companies are family owned and operated, managers understand the needs of parents and will do their best to accommodate your needs.

Q: I've always thought of pest management as a man's career. Do many women work in the field?

A: Times are changing and many women are entering the profession in a variety of capacities. Women are in every facet of professional pest management - owners to field technicians. Many are trained entomologists doing research at universities nationwide.

Q: Aren't the chemicals used in professional pest management harmful?

A: Pesticides are regulated and registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is required by law to provide special protections for sensitive subpopulations, like children. Just like medicine, they go through years of development and testing before they are approved for use in homes and schools. Pest professionals receive ongoing, intensive training to ensure they are able to properly identify, target and effectively treat pests in the least invasive manner possible.

Q: I've heard the term "IPM" thrown around a lot lately. What is it?

A: IPM, or "Integrated Pest Management," is a commonsense approach to pest control focused on eliminating the source of pest problems rather than simply treating the symptoms with routine pesticide applications. Pest professionals receive special training to implement effective IPM programs.

Q: I'm scared of bugs. Can I still work in professional pest control?

A: Absolutely. Many people are afraid of things they don't understand. You may find that working in this industry and receiving ample training about pests will help you to conquer your fears. There are also many other positions within the industry that don't have direct contact with pests.

Q: What are the steps for starting my own pest management business?

A: If you are interested in starting a business, your first step is to understand your state's requirements for starting a pest management business. State regulatory agencies have assembled a web site, which lists key personnel of pesticide regulatory agencies on a state-by-state basis. Then you will need to contact other government agencies related to taxes, business licensing, insurance etc.