Careers Related to Pesticides and Pest Management

If you are interested in a career in pest management there are a number of job fields to consider.  Pest management careers go beyond applying pesticides to control insects, weeds or fungi.  They include careers which apply integrated pest management techniques such as sanitation, exclusion (property maintenance), non-chemical alternatives or trapping.  As new pests emerge, scientists must also research new management methods. 

Select Job Sector

Agricultural and Private Industry

Educational, Environmental & Scientific

Government

Healthcare

Manufacturing

Advocacy

Agricultural and Private Industry

While a degree in a related field is beneficial for most jobs in these Sectors, a number of employers offer training programs for employees who have little or no prior experience with pesticides.  Individuals working in agricultural or the private industry will need to become familiar with specific pest species as well as management alternatives. 

Looking for a Career in structural pest management? The National Pest Management Association, Inc. has put together information more specific to careers available in the structural pest management industry on PestWorld. Follow the links below to learn more.


Businesses


The following businesses may employ the use of pesticides or other integrated pest management practices.

  • Cleaning/Janitorial Companies
  • Pool Maintenance Companies
  • Commercial Crop Protection Firms
  • Golf Courses
  • Trade Journal Publisher
  • Greenhouse & Nursery  Operations
  • Vineyards
  • Wildlife Management Businesses


Related Jobs

Individuals working in the following jobs may use pesticides or other integrated pest management options to control pests.  While a degree in a related field is beneficial for most jobs, a number of employers offer training programs for employees who have little or no prior experience with pesticides or pest management practices. 

  • Managers or Technical Directors (at Above Businesses)
  • Park Supervisor
  • Crop Consultant
  • Pool Technician
  • Customer Service and Sales Representative
  • Maintenance Staff
  • Structural Pest Inspector
  • Viticulturist (Vineyard)

Note:  Many of the above links go to information that is posted on the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

*To learn about becoming a certified pesticide applicator in Virginia visit read the Certification Information posted under Industry at the top of the page.  The Tennessee Career Information Delivery System has developed a career information page which provides information about pesticide handlers, sprayers and applicators (basically different titles for same job).  This page contains videos, job descriptions and other related information.  To view this page click here.

For information about the other types of businesses, visit the links listed on the Industry Association page. 

Educational, Environmental & Science Careers

Individuals trained in the Sciences play a key role in research related to pest identification and management, pesticide impact studies and monitoring, development of new pesticides and other new technologies.  These positions represent those found sought by both private and public sector employers including manufacturers and government agencies.
  • Fish Biologist
  • Botanist
  • Forest Pathologist
  • Museum Curator/Technician
  • Pesticide Safety Educator or Trainer
  • Silviculturist
  • Ecologist
  • Entomologist
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Zoologist


Visit Duke University’s Cruising Chemistry Pesticide Careers Page for more information about pesticide related careers in Chemistry.

Government Careers

Government agencies not only regulate pesticide usage but serve other functions such as: monitoring for pests which pose a risk to human health, the environment or agriculture; researching new management options including new pesticides; testing food, water or air samples for pesticide residues; educating the public and private industries about the safe and proper use of pesticides; and study impact of pesticides on human health, wildlife and the environment.  Employees in some agencies may apply pest management techniques to protect or preserve parks, forests, historic buildings or even museum pieces.  A brief summary of each agency’s or programs pest management or pesticide related activities is provided.  Backgrounds in the careers listed in the other job sectors may be relevant to employment with government agencies.

Health Related Careers

Healthcare professionals involvement with pest management and pesticides includes not only treatment of pesticide related injuries but also activities related to poison prevention and recognition. 
  • Agricultural Medicine
  • Poison Prevention/Information Center

Manufacturing Careers

Manufacturers need scientists to identify and formulate new pesticides as well as employees that work to get the new products on the market.  They also work with consulting firms and independent laboratories during the state and federal registration process.  Many of the manufacturers have career information on their company website.
  • Product Registration (State and Federal)
  • Communications/Media Staff
  • Research/Development (R & D)
    • Lab Technicians

    • Research Assistant (B.S./B.A. Chemistry/Biology)

    • Research Scientist (M.A./M.S. or Ph.D.)
  • Government & Regulatory Affairs Staff
  • Legal-Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, etc.
  • Pesticide Chemist

 

To learn more about working in the chemical manufacturing industry click here for information from the Bureau of Labor & Statistics.  For 2010 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates click here.  Most pesticide manufacturers fall within the agricultural or specialty chemicals segments.

               
Advocacy Groups


Whether or not you support the use of pesticides, there are advocacy groups involved in representing both sides of the issue.  Advocacy groups depend on staff with a variety of backgrounds depending on their specific focus areas.  A group which focuses on the environmental impacts of pesticides will be interested in people with a background in the environmental sciences while a group that focuses on the impacts of pesticides on the health of farmworkers will be interested in people with experience in medicine, toxicology or a related field.  These groups also need support staff, who, while knowledgeable of pesticides, may not have degrees or backgrounds in one of the sciences.  The support staff may assist in public presentations, outreach, media development and administration of their programs.  Regardless of your background in using pesticides or applying pest management practices, there is probably some way you can be involved with protecting human health and the environment or informing the public about integrated pest management and the safe and proper use of pesticides.  The following are some specific
  • Administrative Support Staff
  • Grantwriter
  • Community Service Managers
  • Health and Safety Outreach Coordinators
  • Consumer Advocates
  • Lawyers & Legal Aid Staff
  • Executives
  • Government Affairs Staff
  • Scientists

 

To learn more about working for an Advocacy Organization click here for information from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.