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Pest Control Technician

Kaihangarau Patu Orotā

Alternative titles for this job

Pest control technicians manage pests such as insects and rodents in commercial, industrial and domestic buildings. 


Pest control technicians usually earn

$22-$34 per hour

Source: Pest Management Association of New Zealand, 2016.

Job opportunities

Job opportunities for pest control technicians are average, with steady demand for their services.


Trainee pest control technicians usually start on $22 an hour.

Experienced pest control technicians usually earn $22 to $34 an hour depending on qualifications and length of experience.

Source: Pest Management Association of New Zealand, 2016.

(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, industrial complexes, houses and businesses for any signs of pests or pest activity
  • identify pests
  • develop and apply pest control plans
  • control and monitor pests through chemical and non chemical methods such as pesticides, traps and hygiene advice
  • give advice to land or building owners on pest control and prevention
  • provide specialist services such as shooting pests, bird control, exotic ant control or fumigation of imported and exported goods
  • provide specialist services and advice to industries such as food and dairy manufacturing, aviation, shipping and export/import services.

Skills and knowledge

Pest control technicians need to have:

  • knowledge of pests, including knowledge of methods for trapping, poisoning, controlling or removing pests
  • understanding of insect and animal biology and habits
  • understanding of safety rules and methods when using and handling pesticides and poisons
  • knowledge of handling restricted poisons
  • knowledge of relevant laws such as the Health and Safety Work Act, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Acts and the Biosecurity Act. 

Working conditions

Pest control technicians:

  • often work evenings or weekends
  • work in various places such as restaurant kitchens, shops, factories, hospitals, farms, bush, homes, industrial sites, airports and shipping ports.
  • often work in awkward to reach and dirty places.

What's the job really like?

Paul Chapman

Pest Control Technician

Growing up in the industry

Paul has always wanted to be a "pestie". His family had their own pest control business in Lebanon, where he was born. "When I was little, I used to see my father and uncle doing odd things with chemicals wearing masks and protective suits, and I was fascinated by it all. So, when I was old enough, I joined the business.

After several years working with the family and then on his own, Paul moved to New Zealand in 2000 and soon started his own pest control business.

Thinking outside the box

Paul remembers one job where he had to get roosting pigeons out of a cavity in a building under construction. The construction manager wanted the pigeons gone without any shooting or poisoning as getting the dead birds out would be impossible. "I came up with a one-way door that let the pigeons go out as usual to collect food, but wouldn't let them back in. He was really happy with that!"

Humane alternatives like this are what Paul believes in. "I don't use traps that maim animals, and wherever possible, I catch them live and take them to the RSPCA, where they terminate them painlessly."

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements to become a pest control technician.

However, you need to:

  • hold a full and clean Class 1 driver's licence
  • have achieved NCEA Level 2.

Most larger employers prefer you to have, or be prepared to work towards, a New Zealand Certificate in Pest Operations (Level 3) (Urban Pest Control). You must be working as a pest control technician to study this qualification.

Pest control technicians who handle restricted poisons will need to get an Approved Handler certificate.

Secondary education

Pest control technicians need to have achieved NCEA Level 2.  Useful subjects include English, biology and chemistry.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Pest control technicians who work in rabbit and possum control may need a firearm licence.

Personal requirements

Pest control technicians need to be:

  • careful and accurate, especially when dealing with poisons
  • good communicators with sound written and verbal communication skills
  • computer literate
  • hard working and methodical
  • able to work well on their own
  • able to work well with technology and machinery
  • comfortable working around animal pests such as rats and mice, cockroaches, wasps and bees, spiders and feral animals.

Useful experience

Useful experience for pest control technicians includes:

  • farm work
  • working with animals
  • hunting
  • work handling chemicals and/or poisons.

Physical requirements

Pest control technicians need to be reasonably fit as some of their work involves working in remote or difficult to reach places.

Those working in urban areas must be comfortable working in confined spaces and at heights.


Pest control technicians are recommended to register with the Pest Management Association of New Zealand.

Find out more about training

0800 277 486 - info@careerforce.org.nz - www.careerforce.org.nz
Primary ITO
04 801 9616 - info@primaryito.ac.nz - www.primaryito.ac.nz


Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Demand for pest control services remains steady due to requirements such as:

  • imports needing to be fumigated at the border
  • the food service industry needing to maintain health standards in their premises.

Casual work for pest controllers between early spring and autumn

Your chances of getting casual pest control work are best from early spring to late autumn, when most pests are breeding. Most companies hire extra workers on short-term contracts to cover this busy period.

Short-term contracts are a good way to gain experience and can lead on to permanent positions.

Four main pest control companies

The urban pest control industry has four main employers, some of which offer franchises:

  • Rentokil
  • Ecolab
  • Genera
  • Flybusters Antiants.

According to census data, a third of all pest control technicians are self-employed and working on their own.


  • Hunn, S, president, Pest Management Association of New Zealand, Careers New Zealand interview, June 2016.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.

(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 by moving into management roles or by starting their own businesses.

Pest control technicians may specialise in certain types of pest control, such as:

  • vertebrate pests (pests with a spinal column, such as rats and possums)
  • insect control
  • shooting and bird control.
Pest control technician sitting in a roof cavity holding a poison dispenser.

Pest control technicians set traps and lay poisons for pests

Last updated 5 April 2019