Agricultural Pest Control Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Agricultural Pest Control?

A pest is any organism that spreads disease, causes destruction or is otherwise a nuisance and is detrimental to humans or human concerns such as agriculture or livestock production.

Pest management is a means to reduce pest numbers to an acceptable threshold

Diseases, insects and weeds can cause costly and irreparable harm to livestock and crops. Methods to manage these problems include the use of pesticides or biological pest control. Integrated pest management couples both methods and includes monitoring to reduce the overuse of pesticide applications.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Agricultural Pest Control courses in the following subject areas:

  • Diploma in Agricultural Pest Control: Level 4 – Gain in-depth information on the fundamentals of pest control. Learners will be introduced to pesticide controls and the application of agricultural pesticides. Have a clear understanding of the common crop insects and how to control them.
  • Advanced Pest Control – Gain a broad understanding of advanced level pest control.
  • Diploma in Advanced Pest Control: Level 3 – Aims to provide general pest control information not just to individuals working as pest control technicians, but to anyone involved in carrying out pest control measures.

Studying Agricultural Pest Control in college

There are many Agricultural Pest Control courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. It’s important to get hands-on work experience, which will increase your chances of securing a job after graduation. If you don’t have the opportunity to complete a placement year as part of your course, look for relevant work in the holidays. This may involve going to local commercial farms and asking if they have any extra work or seeing if you could shadow someone who works in farm management.

A broad knowledge of agriculture and farm management is essential, as is experience of working in the industry. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Agricultural Pest Control you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of agriculture, crops, animals and pest control methods.

There are diverse opportunities available for agriculture graduates. For example, you can work in areas such as farm management, the service and supply industries, sales, research, or advisory and consultancy work.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. Working hours can be demanding and varied, depending on the season and clients’ needs. Regular hours of 9am-5pm are uncommon, as clients may need to meet in the evenings or at weekends. Unsocial hours are typically worked especially in busy periods.

Working time is usually split between the office and the outdoors, although this can vary depending on the role. For example, crop consultancy involves spending the majority of your time out of the office, while a research role means more time spent in a laboratory.

Related jobs include:

  • Agricultural consultant
  • Estates manager
  • Farm manager
  • Fish farm manager
  • Plant breeder/geneticist
  • Rural practice surveyor
  • Soil scientist
  • Amenity horticulturist
  • Commercial horticulturist
  • Field trials officer
  • Forest/woodland manager
  • Horticultural consultant
  • Magazine journalist
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Sales executive

Further study

After completing a course in Agricultural Pest Control you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as agricultural engineering, animal or biological science, crop and plant science, environmental science, horticulture and soil science.


What is a pest in agriculture?

A pest is an organism with characteristics that people see as damaging or unwanted, as it harms agriculture through feeding on crops or parasitizing livestock.

The term pest is used to refer specifically to harmful animals but it also relates to all other harmful organisms, including fungi and viruses.

Why is pest control an issue in agriculture?

Diseases, insects, and weeds can cause costly and irreparable harm to livestock and crops.

What are examples of pest control?

Pesticides include herbicides and insecticides, which are mainly used in the pre-harvest stages; rodenticides, which are employed while storage of the crops; and fungicides, which can be applied at any stage of the process.

Where can I study Agricultural Pest Control?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • While we most often associate bats with Halloween and most people find them creepy and terrifying, they are actually necessary to pollinate some of our most popular foods. There are 300 different types of fruits that need bats for pollination. They spread the seeds for gigs, nuts, cacao, agave, and saguaro cactuses, among many others.
  • Only the male crickets chirp. They have a song to attract female crickets, a song to warn other males away, and a song to warn other male and female crickets that danger is near.
  • There are caterpillars that mimic the markings of snakes in order to keep predators from eating them.
  • The average mouse will have around 50 to 60 babies each year! Left unchecked, a mouse problem becomes infestation in a matter of months.
  • Ladybugs eat plants. However, if a lady bug reaches starvation, it will eat younger ladybugs and their larvae.

Mariza Halliday

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