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Pest control workers may use pesticides made for general or restricted use. General-use pesticides are widely used and available to the public in diluted concentrations. Restricted-use pesticides are heavily regulated by federal law and only available to licensed professionals. They are only used for severe infestations because of their potential to cause harm. In addition to pesticides, some pest control specialists create barriers or use bait to control pests, while others use traps to remove the pests.
Pest control workers can be divided into technicians, applicators, and supervisors. Pest control technicians identify pest problems, conduct inspections, and design control strategies. They work directly with the customer and are usually entry-level employees. Pest control applicators are qualified to use a broader range of pesticides and may specialize in a particular area of pest control, such as termite control or fumigation. Pest control supervisors direct technicians and applicators. Supervisors are most often involved in the business side of pest control, and many supervisors own their own business.
Pest control workers spend a good deal of time traveling to client sites, and work both indoors and out in all kinds of weather conditions. They must kneel, bend, reach, crawl, and withstand uncomfortable positions. Pest control applicators must wear heavy protective gear such as respirators, gloves, and goggles. Many pest control workers work evening and weekend hours.
Pest control workers must have a high school diploma and pass a licensing exam. Most receive training on the job as well as classroom instruction on general pest control, rodent control, termite control, fumigation, and ornamental and turf control. They also receive training in pesticide safety and use.
Technicians may advance to applicators after a certain number of years on the job, and applicators may advance to supervisory positions. In larger pest control organizations, workers may advance to administrative positions.
Employment growth for pest control workers is expected to be faster than average. Visit this National Pest Management Association website for more information about pest control careers and training.
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