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Pesticide Sprayer

Job Duties

Pesticide sprayers mix together pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides in the form of vapors or dusts. They apply these chemical compounds to soil, trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Those who work for chemical lawn services specialize in different areas. Some may inspect lawns and diagnose lawn problems. Others may apply chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals to lawns and gardens. These chemicals are applied in order to control weed growth, plant diseases, or insects. Some pesticide sprayers rely less on synthetic chemicals and more on integrated pest-management techniques.

Pesticide sprayers help to create healthy, well-maintained lawns and gardens that can leave a positive first impression on people visiting properties. Well-maintained areas around buildings can increase real estate values. Pesticide sprayers work to achieve a pleasant and functional outdoor environment that can give people a peaceful mood or a relaxed feeling.

Job Skills

Pesticide sprayers need to be in good physical shape due to the strenuous nature of the job. They should be able to stand and walk for most of the day. They often are required to lift heavy loads of 100 pound or even more. They need to have the ability to follow instructions carefully and precisely. They also should be responsible and self-motivated because they are often left to work without supervision. Those interested in supervisory positions should have good communication and leadership skills..

Income

In 2002, pesticide sprayers earned a median hourly wage of $11.94. The following shows the median hourly wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of pesticide sprayers:

  • Elementary and secondary schools -- $13.36
  • Local government -- $11.81
  • Services to buildings and dwellings -- $9.38
  • Other amusement and recreation industries -- $8.92
  • Lessors of real estate -- $8.65
  • Employment services -- $8.05

Training and Education

Many workers who handle pesticides and other chemicals are required to be certified by the State. Certification requirements usually include successful completion of an examination covering proper use and disposal of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Some pesticide sprayer jobs require a high school diploma, but, other than that, there usually are no minimum education requirements. A majority of workers have a high school diploma or less. Safety procedures and equipment operation are typically taught on the job. Being able to follow directions well is usually the most important requirement. If driving is involved in the job, employers usually try to hire candidates with a good driving record and truck driving experience. Some pesticide sprayers may start their own businesses if they have gained enough experience and have enough motivation.

Employment

In 2002, pesticide sprayers held about 27,000 jobs.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of pesticide sprayers is expected to increase faster than the average. This will result from expected growth in building construction, as well as an increase in the number of highways and parks. The maintenance of existing facilities will also generate demand for services from these workers. More businesses are expected to hire pesticide services to improve the image of their business, and homeowners will continue to be a growing source of demand. More two-income households lack the time to care for their property themselves and will hire more pesticide sprayers to do the work for them.

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