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Pest controller

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Summary of occupation

Pest and weed controllers prevent and eradicate infestations of weeds, insects, rodents and other organisms that pose a threat to the safety and livelihood of people, property or crops and livestock. They employ a range of pest and weed management techniques in a range of areas, including domestic, commercial and industrial spaces, public places such as parks and roadsides, and on agricultural land. They inspect an area to find where pests are concentrated and using that information, decide on the best solution for the problem, whether it involves spraying pesticide, laying traps for animals and insects, or using a range of other methods. Some may even spray crops using planes with aerial pesticide applicators.

ANZSCO description: Applies pest management techniques to control  invertebrate and insect pests inside and outside domestic, commercial  and industrial premises. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Pest Control Operator, Pest Control Technician, Pest Exterminator, Pest Management Technician, Pest or Weed Controller
Specialisations: Fumigator, Termite Technician, Weed Controller
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A pest and weed controller needs:

  • to be free from allergies and skin conditions
  • physical fitness and stamina
  • to enjoy undertaking practical tasks
  • some technical skill and the ability to operate equipment
  • organisational skills
  • the ability to
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Working conditions

Pest and weed controllers work both inside and outside houses, commercial and industrial buildings, in public spaces such as roadsides and parks, and in large agricultural spaces such as farms and crops. They may be required to work in dirty or awkward spaces. They may travel both short or long distances to get to a particular job. They usually work regular hours. As they handle toxic materials they need to wear protective clothing and observe strict safety procedures. Agricultural pest controllers may fly planes in order to apply pesticides to crops.Pest and weed controllers work right across the state, from suburban houses and back yards to expansive crop fields in our regional areas.

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Salary details

On average, pest controllers, classified under other farm, forestry and garden workers, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 000 and $51 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a pest controller develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Pest and weed controllers may use liquid chemical applicators, traps and firearms, as well as baits and pesticides. They often drive vans or utility vehicles, and some may even fly planes. They often need to wear protective clothing such as full-length overalls, gloves, masks, wet weather gear, and covered shoes.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified pest controller you usually need to complete a traineeship. A pest management technician traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.

You can also become a qualified pest controller by completing a Certificate III in Pest Management, or a Certificate III in Vertebrate Pest Management. These courses are available from TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia (WA). 

​To work as a pest controller in WA, you must hold a Pest Management Technician's Licence from the Department of Health WA. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related videos

Pest & weed technician Video Pest & weed technician Occupation

Pest and weed technicians prevent and eradicate infestations of weeds, insects, rodents and other organisms that pose a threat to the safety and livelihood of people, property or crops and livestock.

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