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Pest Control Workers - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Advancement opportunities come with experience in the field. After a designated number of years on the job, technicians may advance to become applicators. Applicators with several years of experience often become supervisors. Some experienced workers may start their own pest management company. Pest control workers in large organizations may advance into administrative positions, although a college degree may be required for such opportunities.

Pest control workers held about 67,500 jobs in 2008; about 86 percent of workers were employed in the exterminating and pest control services industry. About 7 percent of workers were self- employed. Jobs are concentrated in States with warmer climates and larger cities, due to the greater number of pests in these areas.

Job Outlook
Employment growth is expected to be faster than the average, and job prospects should be very good.

Job Growth
Employment of pest control workers is expected to grow by 15 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for pest control workers is projected to increase for a number of reasons. More people are expected to use pest control services as environmental and health concerns and improvements in the standard of living convince more people to hire professionals, rather than attempt pest control work themselves. Growth in the population, particularly in Sunbelt States where pests are more common, also will generate new residential, commercial, and government buildings that will require treatment by pest control workers. However, if the rate of new building construction moderates, employment growth of pest control workers may slow down.

Job prospects should be very good for qualified applicants, due to the limited number of people seeking work in this occupation. In addition to job growth, opportunities also should arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Median hourly wages of pest control workers were $14.37 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.68 and $17.67. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.45, and the top 10 percent earned over $21.34. Wages may vary by job function.

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