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How to Become an Exterminator in the UK

Do your friends consider you a clean freak? Are you the one they call when they find a giant, hairy spider in the sink? If so, a career as an exterminator could be just right for you.

 What do exterminators do?

Exterminators (also called pest control technicians) identify infestations of spiders/insects and animals, get rid of the infestation, and work to prevent future infestations. Tasks may include:

  • Visiting customers to consult on their problem
  • Investigating situations where customers have seen signs of an infestation but don’t know what type of infestation it is
  • Finding out how pests are getting in
  • Using both chemical and mechanical techniques to resolve infestations
  • Removing dead animals and, if necessary, sending them off for testing
  • Employing techniques to keep pests from returning, and educating customers on what they can do to help
  • Properly handling and storing chemicals
  • Properly disposing of dead animals/insects

 Where and when do exterminators work?

  • Most exterminators work a regular 40-hour week. However, hours may be longer in the summer, and some employers may offer emergency night and weekend services.
  • Exterminators work both indoors and outdoors.
  • Exterminators may be based out of an office, but they spend much of their time in a work van traveling to customers’ locations.
  • Exterminators work with toxic chemicals and unpleasant sights and smells. Because of this, they spend much of their on-the-job time wearing protective gear.

 What do exterminators earn?



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Salary source: Wikipedia

What skills do exterminators need?

  • Good hands-on, practical skills
  • Excellent customer-service skills
  • Good maths skills for calculating chemicals and formulas
  • The ability to tolerate unpleasant working conditions
  • Adequate level of physical fitness to tolerate the working conditions (the job may be difficult for those with allergies and/or asthma)
  • Awareness of and interest in health, safety, and the environment

What education and training are required?

There are no formal entry requirements, and most employers provide on-the-job training. In addition, qualifications and courses are available from professional organizations like the Royal Society for Public Health, the British Pest Control Association, and the National Pests Technicians’ Association. Qualifications offered include:

  • RSPH/BPCA Level 2 Award/Certificate in Pest Management
  • RSPH/BPCA Level 3 Diploma in Pest Management
  • BPCA Fumigation Certificate of Proficiency, and Fumigation Diploma

You may also be able to take short courses in specific aspects of the pest control

What is the career path?

  • As you gain experience as an exterminator, you can pursue registration through the Professional Pest Technician Registration Scheme or the BASIS Professional Register of Managers and Pest Technicians.
  • You may choose to specialize in a particular type of pest.
  • You can move into a supervisory position, managing a team of technicians.
  • You may also start your own extermination business.

 What are the job opportunities?

  • You could work for a public/community health agency.
  • You could work for a private employer.
  • You could start your own business and be self-employed.
  • This sector is expected to grow over the next several years.

If you’re good with your hands, enjoy solving problems, like helping people, and have a passion for leaving places better than you found them, a career as an exterminator could be just what you’re looking for.


Photo credit: flickr via Wonderlane, 2011

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