Licensing and Credentials

What license and credentials does a pest control company need to have? What about their employees?

Tennessee and Georgia require all pest control companies hold a license in each category of service they offer. A company offering service to control wood destroying organisms (termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and other wood infesting pests or organisms) must have a license issued by the Department of Agriculture from each state served. To sit for the licensing exam, an individual must have either industry experience or a college degree in a science-related field. This is true for other licensing categories including household pest control (including insects and rodents) or fumigation. Once the individual has successfully passed the exam, a license is issued after proof of liability insurance and a surety bond is provided to the Department of Agriculture. The license holder is required to obtain recertification hours through on-going yearly continuing education.

Technicians too have their own certification requirements and must pass a written exam within 90 days of employment. Employees also obtain recertification through on-going yearly continuing education. Industry trade associations including the Tennessee Pest Control Association, the Georgia Pest Control Association and the National Pest Management Association provide educational opportunities and support for the pest control industry.

The National Pest Management Association has an additional program for qualifying member companies that certifies them as a Quality Pro company. It is often referred to as the “Mark of Excellence in Pest Management” and goes beyond the requirements discussed above.

Quality Pro certified companies must demonstrate they provide advanced training for technicians, are good environmental stewards, and conduct business with high ethical standards and practices. The program includes Quality Pro certification for Schools, Food Protection and Green pest control. To learn more about this program and to find out what companies are Quality Pro certified visit the National Pest Management Association website at and click on the green Quality Pro quick link for more information.

What is the state of today's Pest Control Industry?

For many years, the pest control industry has been a relatively low-tech industry.  It seemed anyone with a compressed air sprayer and a pick-up truck became a “bug man” or "bug woman".  An individual needed only two years experience working for another company to take the state license exam.  Often these individuals ran a route for a company and when they started their business, they simply took those customers as theirs.  Having little knowledge and even less business experience, they would struggle along building a business and at times, developing both bad business practices and treatment methods, contributing to the "spray jockey” mentality.

In the middle 1980’s two crises developed that forever changed the pest control industry.  The first was the ever-increasing resistance on the part of roaches, fleas, ticks and other common pests to chemicals that were industry standards for many years. The second crisis came when the chlorinated hydrocarbons, Chlordane, Heptachlor Dieldrin and Aldrin, were removed from the market.  These chemicals were used to control subterranean termites for over forty years.  Once they were applied to a structure, there would be no more termites, period.  This made for lazy bug men and women. 

As a result of these two events, the pest control industry was forced to re-invent itself. As new technologies emerged, innovative treatment strategies were adopted by progressive companies who now regard their employees as “pest management professionals.”  Education and business management are at the forefront for these companies leaving others behind who have not adapted to the new paradigm. Controlling pests is not an exact science, rather it is an art form that relies on the knowledge, skills, tools, and the implementation of various strategies that are available to pest management professionals (PMP). PMPs today must know the ever changing technology, rules and regulations, and earn continuing education credits for every category of pest control service they provide and understand the latest in technological advancements.

What is the Quality Pro Seal of Approval?

You may have noticed our “seal of approval” for the pest control industry – the QualityPro designation. Like other total quality management programs and industry awards, the QualityPro mark of excellence in pest management has key compliance areas. QualityPro is administered by the National Pest Management Association and was designed to increase professionalism of the pest management profession. 

If your pest management company has the QualityPro designation, this certifies they have met a number of important requirements.

To achieve QualityPro, a company must certify that it follows key steps in four areas – (1) Business Operations; (2) Environmental Stewardship; (3) Consumer Relations; and (4) Sales/Technician Training. 

The qualifications for Business Operations focuses on both recruiting and hiring new pest control service technicians. A QualityPro company must have a comprehensive employment application and have job applicants outline their last 15 years of job history and provide explanations for any employment gaps. The QualityPro employer must carefully screen applicants and conduct a formal interview with applicants before hiring.  

QualityPro practices include a number of applicant checks including confirming references, performing a criminal background check with the local sheriff’s office, and conducting a department of motor vehicle (DMV) or a motor vehicle records check for accidents and drug/alcohol related accidents or violations and to ensure the applicant has a valid driver’s license.  In addition, all current employees must meet these same evaluations and background checks to remain employed. QualityPro firms must have a drug-free workplace policy and once hired, applicants will be asked to comply with an initial drug test with random drug and alcohol tests performed for all employees. All employees must meet all QualityPro requirements.

For the QualityPro firm, a minimum of $1 million liability insurance must be in place along with auto insurance and workers’ compensation coverage. Vehicle maintenance is also a key qualification under the business operation category. Vehicles must be marked in accordance with state laws and should be clean and maintained on a formal vehicle productive maintenance schedule.  A formal company dress policy includes proper identification and protective/safety equipment. 

The Environmental Stewardship qualification certifies companies provide integrated pest management (IPM) services to all customers. This means the company focuses on the inspection and identification of pests, establishes threshold levels for pest activity, uses appropriate control and management, and evaluates the effectiveness of the chosen measures. QualityPro covers safe pesticide handling practices, storage, and disposal. 

The Consumer Relations statute of the quality program is directed at all advertising and requires such advertising is true and uses easy-to-understand terminology.  The statute covers contracts and warranty practices.  The final qualification is for Extensive Sales/Technician Training. Tennessee and Georgia both have required examinations for sales technicians. To be QualityPro, all sales and service employees must be in compliance with state requirements, including passing a written test and maintaining their certification with on-going continuing education classes. Training for employees ranges from on-the-job safety to state and industry standards. QualityPro companies agree to annual audits that ensure adherence to the principles of the program.    

Enviroguard is QualityPro Certified!

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