What Does Pesticide Applicator Certificate Mean?

Prior to becoming eligible to handle pesticides, seeking answers on “what does pesticide applicator certificate mean” is significant for everyone. Thus, given that all pesticides must be registered, pesticide applicators shall be authorized too.

To guarantee that pesticide applications are done in a cautious and responsible approach, certification is needed to attest that the applicator has the fundamental knowledge of what he’s doing. Likewise, it is a major requirement for individuals who are planning to sell, purchase, transport, store, or use non-domestic pesticides.

what does pesticide applicator certificate mean

Though pesticides are widely available in the market, everyone must have sufficient training in using pesticides safely and be skilled in the job they are carrying out. In general, the need for a Pesticide Applicator Certificate (PAC) is required for specific purposes.

Pesticides are classified as either general or restricted-use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Yet, only trained and certified applicators, or those under their direct supervision, may purchase and apply restricted-use pesticides.


Pesticide Applicator Certificate

Pesticides could be chemical or natural substances that could kill, control, or mitigate pest populations in various area conditions. Herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and rodenticides, to name a few, are among them.

For purchasing or using high-grade or restricted class pesticides, a Pesticide Applicator Certificate is required. In some cases, pesticide products are labeled for specific usage and for a certain certificate holder.

If you are curious about why is it important to read the pesticide labels first, this article is a great help. 

Talking about certificate holders, applicator certifications could be given to commercial and private applicators. These two categories have specific preconditions that limit pesticide use.

Certification as a commercial applicator is required if pesticide-like fumigants with a restricted use are applied on a property that the applicator rents or owns, but not for the production of agricultural produce. For a detailed discussion, read this article to learn “what is commercial pest control”.

A commercial applicator can be actively involved in the marketing of services, offering product recommendations, preparing the application, and actually applying the pesticides. Thus, a commercial applicator must be accredited in the category that best suits the application.

On the other hand, certification as a private applicator is required if an applicator wants to buy and/or use restricted-use pesticides to produce an agricultural commodity on land that they or their company owns or rents. In non-agricultural locations, private applicator certification does not allow an individual to apply pesticides or utilize limited use items.

In line with that, it must be documented by operations that employ agricultural employees or handlers who are protected by the Worker Protection Standard. Hence, all applications or restricted-use pesticides must be documented by private applicators.


How Necessary Is A Pesticide Applicator Certificate?

Pesticides are essential tools for controlling pests that diminish crop output and quality, spread illness, or put the quality of life at risk. With that, pesticide applicator certification is designed to protect the people and their property, their food supply, and the general environment from pests and pesticide misuse by guaranteeing pesticide applicators’ initial and ongoing competence.

Besides, individuals purchasing or using restricted-use pesticides are required to have pesticide applicator certification in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Individuals must be eighteen years of age or older to be eligible for commercial certification.

In addition, pesticides with a restricted usage period have a higher risk of harming individuals, the environment, or both. Therefore, restricted-use pesticides can only be applied by a qualified pesticide applicator or someone working under his or her supervision and can only be sold by licensed pesticide dealers.


What are the general steps to obtain a pesticide applicator certificate?

To be able to obtain a pesticide applicator certificate, here are some steps that might help.


Step #1. Pass the general and sub-category examination

In becoming a certified Commercial or Private Pesticide Applicator, it is important to demonstrate expertise in using pesticides. To be able to prove that, the applicant has to take the Commercial or Private Pesticide Applicator Examination.

Applicants must pass a minimum of two examinations, such as a general standard examination and a category or subcategory exam in the applicants’ area of pesticide application. For applicants who use fumigant pesticides, additional standards are required.

For every state, there are several locations of examination venues to enquire. Thus, some states screen applicants if they have been a technician for at least one year or something that could prove that they have sufficient education, training, and actual experience in pesticide use.

It is important to know that examination passing grades would depend on the institution’s set standards. Plus, you must not forget that there are certain fees in examination, recertification, and training.


Step #2. Maintaining certification and renewal

It is critical to renew your certification every two year by attending a category-specific recertification session for the category you are certified with. Conversely, renewing your pesticide applicator certificate is required to keep your pesticide applicator certification current.



To become a legitimate pesticide applicator, it is important to know “what does pesticide applicator certificate mean”. Besides, having a Pesticide Applicator Certificate is as important as eliminating pests.

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