Is becoming an exterminator right for me?

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What do exterminators do?
Career Satisfaction
Are exterminators happy with their careers?
What are exterminators like?

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How to become an Exterminator

Becoming an exterminator involves a combination of education, training, and licensure. Here are the general steps to become an exterminator:

  • Meet Minimum Requirements: In most states, exterminators must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for licensure or certification.
  • Gain Relevant Experience: While not always required, gaining practical experience in pest control can be beneficial for aspiring exterminators. Consider working as an apprentice or technician under the supervision of a licensed exterminator or pest control company to learn the ropes and gain hands-on experience in the field.
  • Complete Pest Control Training Programs: Many states require exterminators to complete training programs or courses in pest control and pesticide safety. These programs may cover topics such as pest identification, pesticide application techniques, safety precautions, and regulatory requirements.
  • Obtain State Licensure or Certification: In most states, exterminators are required to obtain licensure or certification to legally practice pest control. Requirements vary by state but typically involve passing an exam administered by the state pesticide regulatory agency. Some states may also require applicants to meet specific education and experience requirements before becoming licensed.
  • Pass Examinations: Prepare for and pass any required examinations, which may include written exams covering pest control principles, pesticide safety, and state regulations. Some states may also require practical exams to assess applicants' ability to apply pest control techniques safely and effectively.
  • Maintain Continuing Education: Exterminators may be required to complete continuing education courses to maintain their licensure or certification. Continuing education helps exterminators stay updated on the latest pest control techniques, regulations, and safety practices.
  • Seek Employment: Once licensed or certified, seek employment opportunities with pest control companies, government agencies, or other organizations that offer pest control services. Gain experience working in different environments and addressing various types of pest infestations to further develop your skills and expertise as an exterminator.
  • Optional Certification: While not required, obtaining certification from professional organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or the Entomological Society of America (ESA) can demonstrate your commitment to excellence and enhance your credibility as an exterminator.

Exterminators may obtain certifications or credentials to demonstrate their expertise in pest control and pesticide safety. While certification requirements vary by state and may not be mandatory in all jurisdictions, obtaining certification can enhance an exterminator's professional credibility and open up more opportunities for career advancement.

  • Certified Pest Control Technician (CPCT): Offered by various state pesticide regulatory agencies or professional associations, the CPCT credential is designed for pest control technicians who have completed training and passed examinations covering pest control principles, pesticide safety, and state regulations.
  • Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator: Exterminators who apply pesticides in commercial or agricultural settings may need to obtain certification as a commercial pesticide applicator. Requirements vary by state but typically involve passing an examination covering pesticide application techniques, safety precautions, and regulatory compliance.
  • Certified Residential Pesticide Applicator: Similarly, exterminators who apply pesticides in residential settings may need to obtain certification as a residential pesticide applicator. This certification ensures that exterminators are trained to safely and effectively apply pesticides in homes, apartments, and other residential properties.
  • Certified Structural Pest Control Operator: In some states, exterminators who own or operate pest control companies may need to obtain certification as a structural pest control operator. This certification demonstrates proficiency in managing pest control operations, complying with regulations, and ensuring the safety of clients and employees.
  • Certified Pest Management Professional (CPMP): Offered by professional associations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the CPMP credential is designed for experienced pest management professionals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and expertise in pest control techniques, integrated pest management (IPM), and customer service.
  • Certified Bed Bug Exterminator: Some organizations offer specialized certification programs for exterminators who specialize in addressing bed bug infestations. These certifications may cover identification, treatment methods, and best practices for managing bed bug infestations in residential and commercial settings.