management profession can be a perfect fit for a wide variety of people. The job has science—of buildings,
environment, and the pests. There’s the education—teaching property managers,
staff, and residents to think like the pest and do their parts. There is the social
work aspect—finding resources and ways to help people who can’t do their part.
And, there’s the business—meeting the basic, somewhat unchanging, need to live
without public health pests.
Today, I’m going to speak to a group of 8th graders for a career day. I’m going to have each of them list two hobbies and see if I can make a link between their interests and a career in pest control. I’m pretty confident I can.
I’ve presented about the StopPests in Housing Program to maintenance technicians and pest management professionals across the country. After many of these talks, audience members come up to me asking about degree or certification programs that they can participate in to prove their knowledge and passion. Perhaps you have maintenance technicians, who are licensed pesticide applicators, who would be interested in taking their careers to the next level, too.
Today’s post is a summary of the degree and certification programs I know of that can help an individual pest management professional prove his or her knowledge and passion meets a high standard. I’ll organize the options by ascending levels of education.
high school diploma/GED
It's never too late.
- Watch webinars, some of which offer certificates. StopPests.org posts many of these opportunities.
- Get licensed to apply pesticides. Licensing is managed by each State’s lead agency. Click on your state to find contacts who can point you in the right direction.
- Attend pest- and health- focused talks at conferences (especially those that qualify for CEU (continuing education unit) credits).
- Become an Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) <-this allows you to put ", ACE" after your name!
High school diploma/GED
- All previous, plus...
- Get an undergraduate degree in entomology either at a university or through online degree programs.
(it doesn't have to be in entomology)
The options vary widely in time commitment and cost. Many pest management professionals opt to have a combination of credentials. Regardless of licencing, degrees, or certification, continuing education is a must. What makes this work so interesting is that both the pests and the pest control methods are always changing!
For study/reference materials to know and love, the Entomological Society of America recommends the following books be used to study for the ACE exam. They are also some of my favorite go-to materials. Most are available through http://www.pctonline.com/Store/:
- Handbook of Household and Structural Insect Pests
- Field Guide for the Management of Structure-Infesting Flies
- Field Guide for the Management of Structure-Infesting Ants
- Field Guide for the Management of Structure-infesting Beetles
- PCT Technician's Handbook
- Mallis Handbook of Pest Control
- The Pesticide Book
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