How to Become an


The complete career guide to be an Exterminator: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $34,080
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -1.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute
  • Work With Your Hands
    Career Attribute

The role of an exterminator is to get rid of pests such as beetles, bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, etc. in residential and office environments, both indoor or outdoor areas. In order to effectively control or eliminate pests using both chemical and organic products, most exterminators are licensed or certified by the state in which they are working.

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What is an Exterminator?


Professional exterminators typically perform the following duties on a regular basis:

  • Respond to work requests for pest control services in a timely and customer-friendly manner.
  • Carefully inspect and assess different buildings and surrounding areas  for signs of pests and/or infestation.
  • Measure the areas of the premises requiring treatment and share estimated costs of treatment and pest removal, with clients.
    • Utilize various techniques to control and remove pests, such as using baits, traps and pesticides as applicable.
  • Create detailed pest management plans and determine the most appropriate treatment required for effective treatment of pests.

Day in the life

A day in the life of a pipeline operator can be filled with varying tasks. Unwanted pests can be a serious threat for the health of those occupying the infested buildings like apartments or offices, and other structures. This is where an exterminator’s work is vital – they are specialists in pest biology and habits in order to provide safe and effective pest removal.

Some of the major work on a daily basis includes heading out to inspect a wide range of premises, taking appropriate measurements of affected parts, evaluating the total cost for availing select extermination services and of course, providing effective treatment for pests using chemicals and barriers.

Work schedule and typical hours

Most exterminators are employed in full time work. In this role, it is also common to work during evenings and weekends as needed, in all kinds of weather. In 2017, around 1 in every 4 exterminators worked more than 40 hours per week.

As an exterminator, one has to be prepared to travel frequently to clients’ sites in order to provide necessary pest control services. Wearing protective gear like goggles, gloves and respirators is also important depending on the degree of work with pesticides.

Growth of the job

Employment of exterminators is expected to show very little change from 2014 to 2024 – it will be favourable to aspiring individuals. The scarcity of skilled people seeking work in pest control (i.e. 74,100 in 2014) and the need to replace workers who leave, will lead to many job openings.

However, positions as exterminator will always be available since very few people can expect to handle pest problems on their own. With the rise of invasive species and new pests in urban environments, job openings in this field are projected to increase due to excess demand.

Typical employers

Most workers in the extermination and pest control sector provide services to buildings and homes, while the rest work for the employment services, government, schools, etc. In 2014, around 88 percent worked in jobs providing services specifically to buildings and dwellings industry.

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How To Become an Exterminator

In order to work as an exterminator, there are a few requirements for finding a good job opportunity. Most employers favor individuals who have acquired at least a high school diploma or a GED. This is due to the fact that aspiring candidates have to undergo further training and the capacity to grasp concepts quickly will be a good skill to have.

Exterminators often start their careers as technicians, having prior experience in technical work and on-the-job training from employers. Specializations that can be completed may include fumigation, rodent control, bed bug and termite control. All exterminators must finish a 3-month general training in the use of pesticides and safety procedures. Licensing is also a must for every pest control worker – such requirements vary by state but it involves passing an exam.

Besides required training, there are certain skills that can prove useful as an exterminator. For instance, exterminators must log accurate records of the number of hours worked, the pest control techniques implemented and financial transactions made. Good bookkeeping skills in this regard will put one in good standing to run their business successfully.

In addition, having superior customer service skills can widen the reach of the business and spread the word. Finally, working as an exterminator is not the most comfortable job and one must have great physical stamina to stand on their feet or crouch for hours in difficult conditions.

Exterminator Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Exterminator salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Exterminator's can make an average annual salary of $34,080, or $16 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $26,210 or $13 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #634 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Exterminators

  • 0.5%   Doctorate
  • 1%   Masters
  • 9.5%   Bachelors
  • 9%   Associates
  • 30%   College
  • 41.4%   High School
  • 8.6%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Exterminator job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -900 jobs for a total of 73,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -1.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #641 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Exterminators

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Exterminating and pest control services 64,900 -1,300 -1%
Self-employed workers 5,100 200 0%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 1,000 100 0%

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