Pest Controller jobs(Also known as Pest Controller, Pest Technician, Pest Control Advisor, Ratman (slang), Rat catcher (slang), Disinfestations Officer)
A pest control officer is any individual who specialises in the eradication or prevention of undesirable insects or animals. The role of a pest control officer is to prevent and eradicate a variety of pests. Pests will normally pose a health risk or may be the cause of damage to buildings or crops. Common pests include:
- Insects - wasps, bees, hornets, bedbugs, beetles, fleas, spiders, cockroaches, termites, moths, woodlice, woodworm and ants
- Rodents - rabbits, mice, rats, moles, squirrels and bats
- Birds - pigeons and seagulls.
SalaryStarting salaries will normally be between £16,000 and £25,000 although the area you work in will affect this. With experience salaries are likely to increase and it may be possible to move into supervisory or management positions. Depending upon the size of the team, supervisors are likely to earn in the region of £25,000 to £30,000. A lot of pest controllers are self employed and if you run your own business you could earn £50,000+ depending upon the success of the business. A lot of the work is contract based and obtaining regular work with a local council or large company is essential.
ResponsibilitiesThe work is likely to vary, and you will meet a lot of different people. You should expect to undertake the following roles:
- Visiting premises.
- Preventing and exterminating a range of public health pests.
- Identifying the type of pest by looking at nests, droppings or other factors. You may also have to take samples of droppings or contaminated items for laboratory analysis.
- Identifying the source of the problem, namely how the pests are getting into the building and whether there is any behaviour which is exacerbating the situation. You will be expected to advise individuals and businesses on how they can prevent recurrence of the problem.
- Performing minor repairs or proofing a building to prevent pests from re-entering a premises.
- Laying bait or installing traps. You will need to be conscious of the risks these pose to human health.
- Removing nests. You will be expected to use poisons and other chemicals and be able to operate equipment for the purposes of fumigation and spraying. Chemicals, pesticides and insecticides may be highly toxic and you will have to ensure that rooms are properly ventilated and adequate safety provisions put in place.
- Installing spikes to prevent birds landing and nesting.
- Keeping meticulous records of visits and actions undertaken.
- Assisting other environmental health professionals. This may involve giving evidence or providing records for legal proceedings.
QualificationsIt is possible to become a pest controller following GCSEs or A-levels. There are large firms in the industry such as Rentokil and Connaught who offer on-the-job training. Most employers will expect you to have GCSEs in Mathematics and English and some employers may require a grade C or above in Science. Due to the nature of the job almost all employers will insist upon a clean driving licence. There is also a range of specialist qualifications such as The Level 2 Certificate in Pest Control offered by the Royal Society for Public Health or the NPTC Level 2 Certificate of Competence in Vertebrate Pest Control offered by the NPTC. There is a range of further qualifications offered by the Royal Society for Public Health for those who have completed the base level qualifications. Details of some of these qualifications are available on the National Qualifications Database. It is also worth looking at the NPTA training website which provides details of the latest courses available.
- Knowledge of pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals.
- Knowledge of specific baiting techniques and an ability to identify pests by their droppings, nests and/or damage caused to property.
- Being able to advise clients on the best action with regards to preventing future problems.
- Good numeracy and literacy skills will be required by employers due to chemical risks.
- Interpersonal, customer care and communication skills.
- Physical fitness.