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Becoming a Certified & Licensed Applicator for Schools




Certification as a commercial pesticide applicator is usually a two-step process. Individuals seeking certification must pass a written Core exam covering pesticide laws, general pest biology, pesticide formulations, personal and environmental safety and label comprehension. The Core exam is usually followed by a Category exam covering information on pest identification and biology, pesticide chemistry, pesticide application techniques, equipment and calibration, and environmental concerns.

Most pesticide applications at schools will be covered by a Category 7a (Insects, Rodents, Birds, etc. in and around the buildings) and by Category 3b (Lawn & Turf areas including athletic fields & general weed control).

In addition to passing the Core and Category 3b exams, there is an experience requirement for anyone who wants to apply pesticides to lawns for hire.

View additional experience requirements
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Certification candidates may attempt any exam up to three times in a twelve-month period. Once the exams are passed, the certification is valid for five years, expiring on December 31 of the fourth year following the year of qualification. 

View details on scheduling an exam



Certification may be renewed for another five years by repeating the examination process or accumulating continuing certification hours by attending approved recertification training programs.

View details on continuing certification programs


Once certified, a commercial pesticide applicator must become licensed in order to legally purchase, use, or supervise the use of pesticides. Licensing refers to the issuance of a wallet-size license (credential). Licenses expire and are renewable annually on December 31.

View the license application form  (pdf, 58kb)