Do I need to vacate my home during pest control treatments?
What Certifications and Licenses Should a Pest Control Company Have?
The answer to this question varies by state and region, but in general, pest control companies must obtain certifications that verify their knowledge of the laws, regulations and safety protocols related to their business. Some states also require that pest control companies be licensed and insured to perform services in their communities. Pest control technicians are responsible for inspecting homes and businesses to find infestations and damage, testing soil and using industrial-strength chemical pesticides on infested plants, animals and structures. This work requires excellent customer service skills to reassure homeowners that the pest problem will be resolved quickly and permanently. Other duties include following EPA rules for proper handling of chemicals and recording applications, as well as administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments and issuing receipts.
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Most applicators must take an EPA-approved training course and pass a state licensing exam before working on residential or commercial properties. Other qualifications may include a high school diploma and criminal background checks, because pest control applicators must be able to enter clients’ homes unsupervised to apply chemical treatments. Many pest control companies offer apprenticeships and on-the-job training, which can provide the experience needed to become a certified pest control applicator.
Structural pest control applicators must be licensed with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). This category includes persons who use chemicals to control pests in trees, shrubs, grass, turf, ornamental flowers and other horticultural crops located on land used for recreational or residential purposes. These applicators must complete a 30-hour training program before they are eligible to take the core and category exams. To pass both exams, a candidate must score 35 out of 50 on each exam.
Pest control workers are often required to wear personal protective equipment, including respirators, to reduce the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals. The job is physically demanding, requiring the ability to crawl in tight spaces and climb ladders to access difficult areas of buildings. They must also be able to drive company trucks and endure long periods of outdoor weather conditions. In some cases, experienced pest control workers move into supervisory roles or start their own pest control companies.
Commercial applicators must be licensed by the state to apply pesticides on a “for hire” basis. This includes applicators who work for exterminators, landscapers, tree services, weed control firms, pet groomers, apartment complexes, motels, restaurants and other commercial businesses that perform their own pest control; private individuals who sell or distribute RUP; and state, federal and other governmental employees who use or supervise the use of pesticides to control regulated pests. In addition, commercial applicators must be certified in a category to spray for mosquitoes, termites, roaches or other insects that impact public health and quality of life. Termite and wood destroying insect inspectors and applicators must be licensed in the Category 3A – Termite and Wood Destroying Insect. All other categories of licenses require a person to be certified in one or more additional categories of certification.