Pest Control Technician
Kaihangarau Patu Orotā
Pest control technicians identify and remove pests, such as insects, rats and mice, from buildings and properties.
Pest control technicians usually earn
$22-$34 per hour
Source: PMANZ, 2019.
Pay for pest control technicians varies depending on skills, qualifications and experience.
- Trainee pest control technicians usually start on $22 to $24 an hour.
- Experienced pest control technicians usually earn $24 to $34 an hour.
Pest control technicians running their own business may earn more than this, but their income depends on the success of their business.
Source: Pest Management Association of New Zealand, 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Pest control technicians may do some or all of the following:
- inspect buildings and properties for signs of pests such as mice
- identify pests, and develop and apply pest control plans
- control pests through chemicals, traps, and shooting
- advise on pest control and prevention
- provide specialist services to food manufacturers, and airline and shipping import/exporters.
Skills and knowledge
Pest control technicians need to have knowledge of:
- pests, and their biology and habits
- how to safely use traps, pesticides and poisons
- how to calculate dosages and mix chemicals
- laws about health, safety, hazardous substances and biosecurity.
Pest control technicians:
- work varied hours, including evenings and weekends, and work longer hours in summer
- work in restaurant kitchens, shops, factories, hospitals, and homes
- work in dirty and cramped places, and outside in all types of weathers. They wear protective clothing that can be hot, and work with chemicals that can be dangerous if not used correctly
- travel locally to their clients.
What's the job really like?
Pest Control Business Owner
What do you like about being a pest control technician?
"There’s huge job satisfaction – helping make the world better, fixing pest problems for people and the environment."
Do you always spray pests?
"We don’t use chemicals unless it’s necessary. We try to provide customers with good value.
“Someone might have a trail of ants, and they call saying, 'We want the whole property treated for ants.'
"We may be able to resolve the issue by just applying ant bait to the problem area – customers appreciate this approach and will tell their friends and relations."
How do you keep up to date?
"You need a certain level of training to safely and legally work as a registered pest control technician.
"I did the new pest management qualification to update and get accredited for my skills, and I attend conferences and other training.”
Is there a downside to the work?
"Summer’s the busy time so you’re not at the beach – you’re spraying.
"You’re dealing with chemicals that are potentially harmful, so even if it’s 30 degrees, you’re dressed up like an astronaut for safety – visor, hood, respirator and gloves."
What are opportunities like for pest control technicians?
"You can make a good living as a qualified technician, and you can run your own business."
There are no specific requirements to become a pest control technician. However, if you don't have a qualification, you can only work when supervised by someone qualified in pest management.
To become a qualified pest control technician, you need to:
- gain a New Zealand Certificate in Pest Operations (Level 3) in Urban Pest Control, or Rural Pest Control, while you work as a trainee
- have a full Class 1 driver's licence.
Careerforce and the Primary ITO oversee pest control qualifications.
You can register with the Pest Management Association of New Zealand.
- Careerforce website - New Zealand Certificate in Pest Operations - Urban Pest Control (Level 3)
- Primary ITO website - New Zealand Certificate in Pest Operations - Rural Pest Control (Level 3)
There are no specific secondary education requirements for this job, but NCEA Level 2 English, biology, chemistry and maths are useful.
Additional requirements for specialist roles:
Pest control technicians who work in rabbit and possum control may need a firearms licence.
Pest control technicians need to be:
- careful and accurate, especially when dealing with poisons
- good communicators
- able to work well alone
- good at solving problems.
They must not be squeamish, because they deal with pests such as rats and cockroaches.
Useful experience for pest control technicians includes:
- outdoor work with animals
- work with chemicals and poisons.
Pest control technicians need to:
- have a good level of fitness, as they spend long periods on their feet and need to carry containers of chemicals
- be comfortable working in confined spaces or at heights
- have no breathing problems, or allergies to pests or dust.
Qualified pest control technicians can choose to register with the Pest Management Association of New Zealand.
Find out more about training
- 0800 277 486 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.careerforce.org.nz
- Primary ITO
- 04 801 9616 - email@example.com - www.primaryito.ac.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Good demand for pest control technicians
Pest control technicians are in demand due to:
- continuing need for pest control – particularly in places, such as restaurants, where people produce and serve food
- a warming climate, which leads to more pests such as flies and cockroaches
- some younger staff leaving the role after a short time, once they realise what the job involves
- a number of pest control technicians reaching retirement.
According to the Census, 849 pest control technicians worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Approach employers to find vacancies
Many pest control technician vacancies aren't advertised, so the best way to find work is to approach employers directly.
Warm months the best time to look for work
The best time to look for work is in the warmer months – October to April – when most pests breed. You may be offered a short-term role, which could lead to a permanent job.
Four main pest control employers
Pest control technicians work for a range of employers. The four largest are:
- Flick Anticimex.
A third of pest control technicians are self-employed.
- Collins, M, president, Pest Management Association of New Zealand, careers.govt.nz interview, June 2019.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for careers.govt.nz), 2015.
- Radio New Zealand, 'Global Insect Decline May See "Plague of Pests" ', 12 February 2019, (www.rnz.co.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Pest control technicians may progress to set up their own pest control business, or move into management.
Pest control technicians may specialise in removing:
- animals such as rats and possums
Last updated 22 May 2020