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Choosing the best from among the different pest control courses available involves a number of considerations. First, the training provided must be consistent with your own goals. Second, pest control courses must meet any state or country requirements for certification or approval. Third, the course must have a proven track record of successfully preparing students to take and pass the licensing exam and qualify for employment in the field. Both classroom and practical training should be available, and the instructors should have significant practical experience, both in the field and in front of the class.
Pest control courses generally are designed to help people enhance their opportunities for employment or advancement. There are dozens of different areas of pest control for which courses are offered and licenses required. For example, in urban areas, structural pest control is the most common, and concentrates on elimination of pests such as rodents, insects, and fungi in residential or commercial structures. In rural areas, though, pest control operators more commonly treat agricultural, storage, and processing facilities. Pest control courses also address maritime pests and fungus control; some cover ornamental and turf pest control, which is of prime concern to landscapers.
Many of the substances used in modern pest control are highly toxic and thus are often tightly regulated. In the US, you must be certified or licensed by the appropriate agency in your state to purchase or use these substances, or to supervise others in their use. This certification is obtained after passing a state-administered examination. Some states require applicants to pass a state-approved training course as well; others require state-approved training courses only for applicants for certain licenses, especially the structural pest control applicator’s license. Pest control courses you consider should be compliant with your state’s certification regulations.
Furthermore, pest control courses should have a good track record of preparing students to take and pass the licensing exam. Many will include their success rate in their advertising. A related measure is the employment record of the course’s graduates.
Of particular concern when selecting from among pest control courses is the structure of the training sessions themselves. The ideal structure of a class for beginners consists of both a classroom component and a practical component. The practical component is essential to teach students the proper way to mix pesticides, load them into equipment or store them, use the equipment to apply pesticides, and similar tasks. Courses that do not include a practical component generally are oriented more toward preparing students to pass the licensing or re-certification exam; there is nothing wrong with this if you’re already familiar with the field and the techniques and procedures involved.
Instructors of pest control courses should have significant experience not only in the area of pest control they’re teaching, but also as instructors. There is no substitute for practical experience. In addition to having a wider range of knowledge to draw from than can be covered in instruction manuals and textbooks, experienced instructors will generally carry more credibility, especially when teaching a course for re-certification or continuing education credits.
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