What type of license or certification is required to apply pesticides?

There are two types of pesticides: general use of pesticides and restricted use of pesticides. General use pesticides are those purchased by the public in garden centers and retail outlets, which can be applied by homeowners without special training, just by following directions on the product label. General use pesticides are also applied by professional applicators, although professionals may have a greater choice of products or quantities from which to choose and more sophisticated application equipment. Restricted use pesticides can be applied only by certified applicators or individuals operating under the supervision of certified applicators. To become certified, professional applicators must demonstrate, through testing, practical knowledge of pests related to the category of certification for which the individual is applying.

These minimum standards for certification are established by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and each state’s lead agency for pesticides is responsible for enforcement. A state may establish more stringent requirements for certification, according to needs within that particular state. Generally, it is the Cooperative Extension Service that is responsible for training and testing pesticide applicators. Training classes are usually offered in individual counties throughout a state. Certified applicators must also renew their training regularly by attending approved continuing education programs.