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Commercial Pesticide Applicator


Part 1. General Information
Part 2. Commercial Applicator Certification
Part 3. Recertification of Private Applicators

Part 1. General Information

Pesticide Applicator Certification is designed to demonstrate a certain level of competency by pesticide users on the safe use of pesticides. Users of pesticides are classified as either private applicators or commercial applicators.

PRIVATE APPLICATOR - any person who uses, or supervises the use, of pesticides for the purpose of raising an agricultural commodity. The application can be done on land owned or rented by the applicator or the applicator's employer. Examples of private applicators are dairy farmers, vegetable or fruit growers, greenhouse growers, ranchers, nurserymen, and home gardeners. Request a private exam application if your occupation requires private certification.

COMMERCIAL APPLICATOR - any person who applies pesticides for non-agricultural purposes. Any person who uses, or supervises the use, of pesticides on a "for hire" basis.* Also, any person who applies pesticides as part of his job with any governmental agency. Examples of commercial applicators are those who work for exterminators; landscapers; tree services; aerial applicators; weed control firms; pet groomers; apartments, motels, nursing homes, restaurants, etc. who do their own pest control work; and governmental agencies such as mosquito extermination commissions, public schools, Departments of Public Works, Departments of Health, the DOT, etc.

*If you apply pesticides "for hire" in New Jersey, State law requires that your business obtain a Pesticide Applicator Business License. The definition of a Pesticide Applicator Business is a business (or person) who, either wholly or in part, holds himself out for hire to apply pesticides. Examples are: pet groomers, exterminators, landscapers, tree services, aerial applicators, etc. This Pesticide Applicator Business License is in addition to your Certified Pesticide Applicator license.


Part 2. Commercial Applicator Certification

Certification is accomplished by passing pesticide applicator certification exams. Everyone must pass the basic "Core" certification exam. This exam is based on the Pesticide Applicator Training Manual - Core. To be eligible to take the Core exam, the applicant shall submit proof of completion of a Department approved Basic Pesticide Training Course (see Notice). The course shall provide a working knowledge of the following: proper use of application equipment, potential hazards involved in applying pesticides, instructions for the mixing of pesticides, protective clothing and equipment, applicable State and Federal pesticide laws and regulations, interpretation of pesticide labels and understanding integrated pest management. Proof of course completion must be submitted with the Core Certification Exam application form.

In addition to the Core exam, one or more "Category" certification exams must be passed. The Category exams needed depend on the type of pest control that will be done. To be eligible to take a Category exam, the applicant must complete a minimum of 40 hours of "on-the-job training" (OJT) for each category applied for. By definition, 40 hours of on-the-job training shall consist of a minimum number of separate applications, as specified in the following table. Certification in Category 10 and 13 is exempt from the category training requirements. Certification in Category 11 requires training in aerial only. Proof of the required training in Category 11 shall be submitted with the exam application form.

To submit the 40 hours of OJT information, indicate on the "Category Training Verification Form" the following information:

1. Check the yes block and fill in the category training received;
2. Enter the applicant's name, signature and date;
3. Complete the trainer's name, signature and date;
4. Submit the "Category Training Verification Form" with the exam application form.

Forty hours of OJT is required if it is available to you. Presently, you may take training courses for categories 3A, 3B, 7A and 7B (see Notice) in lieu of the 40 hours of OJT, if it is not available to you. For other categories, an exemption is available. Some of the situations that would qualify for this exemption include a person who is starting their own business, or someone working for an apartment complex, school or government agency and where there is no Certified Pesticide Applicator currently employed to give the training. To apply for the exemption, indicate on the Category Training Verification Form why the 40 hours of OJT is not available to you and submit along with the exam application form. You may also sign an affidavit stating that you have at least one year of work experience in the categories you are applying for. Submit the signed affidavit along with the exam application.

Categories Available and Minimum Number of Applications to beWitnessed or Performed:

Category of Work
Minimum Number of Applications
Category 1A - Plant
5
Category 1B - Animals
2
Category 2 - Forest pest control
2
Category 3A - Ornamental
15
Category 3B - Turf
15
Category 3C - Interior plantscaping
15
Category 4 - Seed treatment
2
Category 5 - Aquatic pest control
5
Category 6A - General vegetation management
10
Category 6B - Right of Way
5
Category 7A - General and household pest control
15
Category 7B - Termites & other wood destroying insects
6
Category 7C - Fumigation pest control
2
Category 7D - Food manufacturing and processing
5
Category 7E - Wood preserving pest control
2
Category 7F - Antifoulants
2
Category 8A - General Public Health
15
Category 8B - Mosquito control
5
Category 8C - Campground pest control
5
Category 8D - Cooling water pest control
2
Category 8E - Sewer Root Control
2
Category 8F - Pet grooming
15
Category 9 - Regulatory pest control
5
Category 10 - Demo & Research
0
Category 11 - Aerial pest control
10
Category 12A - Water Sanitization
10
Category 12B - Sterilization
15
Category 13 - School IPM
0

The Category exams are based on information contained in specific Category training manuals. The training manuals for all of the exams can be obtained from your County Cooperative Extension Office.

The Core and Categories 1A, 2, 3A, 3B, 3C, 7A, 8B and 13 exams are closed book exams. All other category exams are open book exams. There is a limit of one hour and forty-five minutes for taking each exam. You can take a maximum of three exams at each session (any combination of Core and Category).

When you have passed the Core exam and at least one Category exam, you are fully certified, unless you have taken either the Category 10 or 11 exam. For Category 10 and 11, you must pass at least one other category exam in order to be fully certified. Because Categories 10 and 11 are general categories, an additional category exam, which is more specific to the type of pesticide work being done, must be taken. You must become fully certified within one year of passing any certification exam or the exams previously passed will become invalid.

You will automatically receive licensing information in the mail when you are fully certified. You cannot "use" your certification until you have received a license. Once you are fully certified, you must maintain your certification. This is accomplished by meeting the requirements of recertification.


Part 3. Commercial Applicator Recertification

Once you are fully certified, your certification is good for a minimum of 5 years. Each certification exam you have passed will have its own 5 year recertification date. The recertification date will be an October 31st date and is calculated by adding 5 years to the next October 31st date following the date you passed the exam (example: pass exam May 15, 2000; next October 31st date is October 31, 2000; recertification date is October 31, 2005).

Recertification can be accomplished in two ways:

1) Retake the exams during the 5th year.

2) Accumulate units of recertification credit over the 5 year period by attending PCP approved courses, seminars and meetings. A Commercial applicator must accumulate 8 units (one unit equals 30 minutes of instruction time) of Core subject matter credit and 16 units of Category subject matter credit (for each Category of certification) over the 5 years. Course information can also be obtained by contacting your County Cooperative Extension Office, industry associations, and private companies which handle such courses. The PCP does not offer any recertification courses.

You will receive an update of your recertification status at least once a year with your license renewal. The "Recertification Update Form" will tell you when your 5-year period is up for each area you are certified in, how many units you have accumulated and how many more you need.

For detailed information on certification and training requirements, refer to the NJ Pesticide Control Regulations N.J.A.C. 7:30 - 6. If there are any questions on Commercial Applicator certification, please call the PCP at 609-984-6507.

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1997-2008
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: March 21, 2014