Pest & Weed Controller



Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs


 Practical or MechanicalNature or RecreationAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 1

Skill Level 2Skill Level 3

Pest and weed controllers kill or control plants, animals, invertebrates and insects that are considered troublesome or harmful to agricultural, industrial or domestic activities. Pest controllers exterminate or contain infestations of animals, insects or plants which are harmful or hazardous to the local environment. Future Growth Very Strong

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 ID: 841913

Alternative names: Pest Management Technician; Fumigator; Pest Control Operator; Pest Control Technician

Specialisations: Fumigator, Termite Technician

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • good communication and customer service skills
  • able to work independently and solve problems
  • good practical and problem solving skills
    a high level of fitness
  • good eyesight
  • numeracy skills for dose calculations for chemicals
  • an understanding of environmental effects of chemicals you are using
  • good health and safety awareness
  • free from breathing problems and related conditions
  • no known allergies to the chemicals used
  • safety-conscious
  • able to make accurate observations and calculations
  • responsible attitude

Pest and Weed Controller spraying
(Source: Good Universities Guide)

Duties and Tasks

Pest and weed controllers may perform the following tasks:

  • inspect properties, identify problems, determine treatments and provide estimates of costs at the request of landowners or government authorities
  • identify the type of pests or infestation
  • advise on preventative measures
  • plan a treatment for the issue with an estimate of costs involved
  • apply appropriate pesticides (including sprays, gels, dusts, baits and fumigants) to infested areas
  • handle, mix and store chemicals following safety precautions and regulations set by manufacturers and government legislation
  • operate generators, compressors, and manual and electric pumps to inject or spray liquid and gaseous pesticides and herbicides
  • take care to minimise damage to other plants, animals and the environment
  • carry out simple maintenance practices to prevent pests entering buildings, such as bird-proofing roofs, and filling cracks and crevices
  • dispose of dead or captured animals using required methods
  • maintain equipment in safe, efficient working order
  • maintain work records of each property inspected, the pest or weed problem, chemicals used and the amount of time spent at each location
  • write reports for clients - pest and inspection reports and documentation.
  • may make follow-up visits to ensure eradication has been completed.

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 travel both short or long distances to get to a particular job.  As they handle toxic materials they need to wear protective clothing and observe strict safety procedures. Pest and weed controllers have a lot of contact with chemicals and wear protective clothing such as overalls, gloves and masks. Pest controllers are sometimes required to work in cramped, dirty or awkward conditions, such as under houses or in attics. You may be required to crawl into small spaces or climb ladders, depending on the type of pest you are dealing with.

Agricultural pest controllers may fly planes in order to apply pesticides to crops.Pest and weed controllers work right across States and Territories, from suburban houses and back yards to expansive crop fields in regional areas.

As a pest controller you would usually work a standard number of hours per week. Some pest controllers are self-employed and might therefore work more flexible hours, including weekends. Generally you would work alone, and drive between jobs. You would need a current drivers' licence.

Weed controllers usually work outside.

Pest and weed controllers usually have a lot of contact with clients.

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.

(Source: Termites & Pest Control)

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a pest and weed controller without formal qualifications, but you will need to obtain a special licence, which requires some study. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You would get some training on the job. A licence is required for you to perform this role.

A VET qualification in conservation and land management, pest management, vertebrate pest management or weed management may improve your chances of a job in this occupation or of obtaining a traineeship. The Certificate III in Urban Pest Management and Certificate III in Pest Management are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia.

You may like to consider a VOC qualification in conservation and land management, pest management, vertebrate pest management or weed management. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education. You can undertake a pest management technician (level 3) traineeship. The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.

You can also become a pest and weed controller through a traineeship in Pest Management, Conservation and Land Management, Vertebrate Pest Management or Weed Management.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Additional Information

Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Property Services or Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Packages that will expand your career opportunities within these industries.

In the ACT, the Environment Protection Act requires all persons who apply herbicides or pesticides for a fee or reward to have a licence for the use of commercial chemicals. In NSW, the Pesticide Act requires people working with pesticides to hold a Fumigator or Pest Management Technician Certificate of Competency. Applicants for a certificate of competency must be at least 18 years old. Contact SafeWork NSW or the Environment and Planning Directorate (ACT) for licensing details.


Employment Opportunities

Pest and weed control is largely seasonal work, with high demand for experienced staff in the summer months and less demand in winter. Controllers may work for large pest control companies servicing a wide geographical area, or they may be self-employed, operating in a relatively small area or specialising in a particular type of control. Demand may also be affected by the level of housing construction as new houses are required by law to be treated.

Environmental and health concerns will result in more people hiring professionals, rather than trying to control pests themselves. Job opportunities should be good.


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