Cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast, or so the myth goes. Reports that the terrifying creatures ran free through the destruction of the atomic bombs dropped at the end of World War II gave rise to this frightening possibility. Exterminators will make a fortune in the event anyone survives nuclear war if the myth is true. However, even in peacetime, pest control technician is a solid career choice.

The profession is primed to experience steady growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pest control industry is expected to increase by 20 percent by 2022, or faster than other occupations. A high school diploma is usually a prerequisite to entering a training program. This career is well suited for hard workers who gain satisfaction from helping others. Furthermore, many jobs in the industry offer flexible schedules, competitive compensation and opportunity for advancement.

Candidates for exterminator positions must be in good physical condition. Kneeling, bending, and crawling into tight spaces or underneath houses are required when inspecting or treating sites. Aspiring exterminators should also be able to pass a background check. Applicants convicted of crimes involving the environment, pollution or terrorism are barred from working with pesticides with few exceptions. Needless to say, a fear of roaches, spiders and rats is not a plus in this industry.

Training is required for anyone interested in a career in pest control. Courses will cover how to recognize a variety of bugs and rodents, the life cycles or mating habits of these critters, and signs of infestation. Technicians will also be taught how to diagnose and treat a bug or rodent problem. To that end, they will be taught what chemicals should be used under what circumstances and how to properly apply them. Potential technicians will also learn how to mix the chemicals correctly.

Potential pest control technicians are required to obtain a license before starting work. A license is necessary because many of the chemicals used are registered as restricted use by the Environmental Protection Agency. Requirements vary by state. Some states require candidates to pass a test after a certain number of hours of course work in order to be licensed. Candidates should check with their own state’s laws regarding certification and make certain that any potential employer is up to date on its licensing. Continuing education is also required so that technicians can stay up-to-date of the latest information to keep their license current.

Technicians can start working after obtaining a license. On a typical day, a client, including owners of homes, restaurants and businesses, will call upon a technician. The technician will inspect the premises for signs of infestation or conditions that can allow critters access to the home or business. He or she will make recommendations on how to make the premises less attractive to unwelcome invaders and apply an insecticide or rodenticide if appropriate.

Working as a pest control technician can be very rewarding. Job security is guaranteed and there will be no shortage of clients thanking you for ridding their home or business of creatures.