State of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Classes will be available for 6 months after date of purchase. Upon completion of all classes, email for your final signed certificate.


Pesticides are those substances, which control, kill, or mitigate pest organisms, and include, but not limited to, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and rodenticides. The following information briefly explains the need for certification and the process of becoming a certified pesticide applicator.

Applicator certification can be divided into two groups:

  1. Commercial and Public Applicators
  2. Private Applicators

Certification as a commercial or public applicator is required if:

-A pesticide application is being made to a property not owned or rented by the applicator or their employer.

-Restricted use pesticides or fumigants are being applied on a property rented or owned by the applicator, but are not applied for the production of an agricultural crop.

-Pesticides are being applied to apartments of four or more units, golf courses, parks, playgrounds/athletic fields, swimming pools other than single family residences, education/research institutions, and schools including a public and private day care centers with seven or more children.

Certification as a private applicator is required if:

-An applicator intends to purchase and/or apply restricted use pesticides for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity on land, which is owned or rented by that person or their employer.

Currently there are 26 categories of commercial and public applicators. To be eligible for certification a person must pass two written examinations (core and category) and be employed by a pesticide application business. Once exams have been successfully passed, that person has 12 months to apply for certification with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

In anticipation of employment by a pesticide application business, an individual may take and pass the examinations, and receive certification upon employment, provided the employment begins within 12 months of initial certification eligibility.

Study materials to prepare for the testing may be obtained through Penn State’s Publications Distribution Center. Arrangements for testing may be made locally through the PA Department of Agriculture regional offices.

To maintain certification, applicators must attend update-training programs in core and appropriate category-specific topics. Six core credits and up to 10 category credits for each category in which the applicator is certified.

Recertification credits are accumulated based on attendance at approved meetings and other appropriate training. Annual statements of credits, which outline the credit requirements and recertification renewal date, are mailed to each certified applicator.

If the recertification credit requirements are not met by the specified date, the applicator’s license will expire and that applicator will no longer be permitted to make pesticide applications until the license is reinstated.

To obtain pesticide certification, applicators must accumulate update training at three-year intervals for which recertification credits have been approved. Regardless of the category of certification, each applicator must accumulate six core credits. The number of category specific credits required for recertification varies from category to category. Specific requirements are listed below.

Category Credits
01 Agronomic Crops 10
02 Fruit and Nuts 10
03 Vegetable Crops 10
04 Agricultural Animals 6
05 Forest Pest Control 8
06 Ornamental and Shade Trees 10
07 Lawn and Turf 10
08 Seed Treatment 4
09 Aquatic Pest Control 4
10 Right-of-way 8
11 Household/Health Related 10
12 Wood Destroying Pests 10
13 Structural Fumigation 6
Category Credits
14 Industrial Weeds 8
15 Public Health – Vertebrate Pest 08
16 Public Health – Invertebrate Pest 8
17 Regulatory Pest Control 10
18 Demonstration and Research 10
19 Wood Preservation 4
20 Commodity and Space Fumigation 6
21 Soil Fumigation 4
22 Interior Plantscape 6
23 Park/School Pest Control 10
24 Swimming Pools 4
25 Aerial Applicator 10
26 Sewer Root Control 4

For more information regarding recertification through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture contact:

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Bureau of Plant Industry

Division of Health and Safety-Pesticides


Continuing Education

Each CEU is $15.00.

The following courses and appropriate continuing education points have been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.