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Frequently Asked Questions

General Pesticide FAQs

Licensing FAQs

Recertification FAQs

Record Keeping FAQs

School IPM FAQs

General Pesticide FAQs

1. What is a pesticide?

Pesticides are substances used to control living organisms - this term includes a wide range of substances such as insecticides, herbicides, disinfectants, and rodent baits, among other things. The legal definition from the state regulations at N.J.A.C. 7:30-1 is the following: "'Pesticide' means and includes any substance or mixture of substances labeled, designed or intended for use in preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest, or any substance or mixture of substances labeled, designed, or intended for use as a defoliant, desiccant, or plant regulator; provided, that the term 'pesticide' shall not include any substance or mixture of substances which the US EPA does not consider to be a pesticide."  

2. Can pesticides be used at schools?

Yes, pesticides can be used at schools. A number of regulatory controls are in place such as licensing, notification, and re-entry restrictions for treated areas- requirements that to date have been the responsibility of the licensed commercial pesticide applicator performing pest control at the school. The School IPM Act places additional responsibilities on public, private and charter schools in New Jersey that will be explained further in these FAQ's and in training materials distributed to schools.

3. What is a Private Applicator?

A Private Applicator is any person who uses, or supervises the use, of pesticides for the purpose of raising an agricultural commodity. The pesticide use can be 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.

4. Do you need to have a license to apply straight fertilizer or lime? 

No, a pesticide license is not required if a company is applying straight fertilizer or lime. However, all professional fertilizer applicators and lawn care providers are required to undergo training and become certified through the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University. To learn more, go to the Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certification and Training website.

5. Can an employee of a licensed company apply pesticides without a license?

The employee must be under the “direct supervision” of a licensed commercial pesticide applicator that is working for the company. Direct supervision means within eye sight and ear shot of the pesticide applicator. 

6. Does a business need to provide a consumer information notice for each pesticide application that is made?
Yes, a consumer information notice must be provided. A waiver declining to receive consumer information may be signed by the contracting party/resident.

7. Can a business apply “over the counter” weed control without a license?

A business is exempt from needing a license if using any “minimum risk” pesticidal substance listed in 40 CFR Part 152.

Licensing FAQs

1. Do I need a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license?

Most people who apply pesticides as part of their job or on a for hire basis need to be licensed as a Commercial Pesticide Applicator. A license to apply pesticides is required under the above circumstances, whether the pesticide can be obtained from the local garden center or a licensed pesticide dealer. Examples are exterminators, landscapers, tree sprayers, or pet groomers. These people all need to have a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license along with a Pesticide Applicator Business license. School maintenance people and apartment building superintendents who apply pesticides are other examples of people who need a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license, although they do not need an Applicator Business license since they are not in business to apply pesticides.

2. Do I need a Pesticide Operator license?

If a person wants to apply pesticides as part of his/her job or on a for-hire basis without becoming a Commercial Certified Pesticide Applicator, he/she may become licensed as a Pesticide Operator. However, the Pesticide Operator must work under the direct supervision of a Commercial Pesticide Applicator. The Commercial Pesticide Applicator does not have to be present for a Pesticide Operator to apply most pesticides.

3. What is the difference between a Commercial Pesticide Applicator and a Pesticide Operator?
A pesticide applicator must be certified by fulfilling the training requirements and passing the necessary exams. A pesticide operator must undergo the required training (see 7:30-5.2) and must become licensed, but is not required to take exams. A licensed pesticide operator may apply pesticides only under the direct supervision of a Commercial Pesticide Applicator. The pesticide applicator does not have to be physically present for a licensed pesticide operator to apply pesticides (in most cases). Both pesticide applicators and pesticide operators must be licensed.

4. Do I need a Private Pesticide Applicator license?
People who apply pesticides for the purpose of raising an agricultural commodity, including organic farmers, need to be licensed as a Private Pesticide Applicator. Examples of commodities are vegetables, fruit, flowers, greenhouse plants, Christmas trees, or animals such as livestock. Farmers and/or their employees are usually Private Pesticide Applicators. Companies that are hired by the farmer to apply pesticides must have a Commercial Pesticide Applicator and an Applicator Business license.

5. How do I become a licensed Private Applicator?
Certification is accomplished by passing the Private pesticide applicator certification exam. This exam is based on the training manual entitled "Pesticide Applicator Training Manual - Private." This training manual can be obtained from your County Cooperative Extension Office.

6. Do I need a Pesticide Dealer license?
Anyone who sells restricted-use pesticides to people who use them must be a Certified Pesticide Dealer and work for a company that is licensed as a Pesticide Dealer Business.

7.  Do I need an Applicator Business or Dealer Business license?

Anyone who operates a business that applies pesticides as a service must be licensed as a Pesticide Applicator Business. Any business selling restricted-use pesticides to an end-user must be licensed as a Pesticide Dealer Business.

8.  Do pesticide products need to be registered in New Jersey?

All pesticide products that are held, sold, used or offered for sale in New Jersey need to be registered with the PCP. There is a $300 annual registration fee per product. See the Pesticide Product Registration page. Also see the list of restricted-use pesticides for New Jersey.

9.  How do I get licensed?
In most cases Commercial Pesticide Applicators must fulfill the training requirements (see 7:30-6.2) prior to applying for the exams. After completing the required training the applicant must take and pass a minimum of two exams, a Core exam & a category exam. (To be licensed in Categories 10 - Demonstration & Research, or Category 11- Aerial, and Category 13 - IPM in Schools, you must pass Core and one additional category exam). Private Pesticide Applicators and Certified Pesticide Dealers take one exam. The Commercial Pesticide Applicator and Certified Pesticide Dealer's licenses expire on October 31 of each calendar year. The Private Pesticide Applicator's license is valid for five years. New Jersey also accepts reciprocal certification from other states which allows the person to use his/her out-of-state certification to get a NJ license.

10.  How do I get a reciprocal or EtO exam waiver?

Call the PCP and request the reciprocal or EtO Waiver package. This will include all needed information and forms and a take-at-home exam on the NJ Pesticide Control regulations. There is no fee for this exam. Reciprocal license information can also be found on the Reciprocal License page.

11.  Where do I get the study manuals?

The training manuals for all of the exams can be obtained from your County Extension Office or click here to order online:

12.  How much do the study manuals cost?

Anywhere from $20 to $45, depending on the manual requested. Manuals are printed and sold only by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

13.  I lost my invoice (bill) or license. How do I get a new one?

Call the PCP at 609-984-6568 and request a duplicate invoice or license.

14.  What are the license fees?
Commercial Pesticide Applicator - $80/year
Private Pesticide Applicator - No fee. The license is valid for 5 years.
Certified Pesticide Dealer - $75/year
Pesticide Operator - $30/year
Pesticide Applicator Business - $150/year
Pesticide Dealer Business - $150/year

15.  How do I maintain my license?

Private and Commercial Pesticide Applicators maintain their license by attending continuing education (recertification) courses and accumulating units of recertification credit. Each unit is based on 30 minutes of instruction time. The required number of recertification units (8 in Core & 16 in each category) must be accumulated during the five-year recertification period established once an exam is passed. Applicators may also retake their certification exams within five years for recertification. There currently is no recertification requirement for Certified Pesticide Dealers. Pesticide Operators shall renew their license annually with the invoice provided by the Department.

16.  Why didn't I receive a renewal of my license?

There may be several reasons for this:
a. For Private and Commercial Pesticide Applicators: The applicator did not accumulate enough recertification units within the five-year recertification period, in one or more of the certification areas.
b. The license has not been renewed for two consecutive years.
c. A change of address was not been reported to the PCP.
d. Pesticide Operators, Applicator Businesses, and Dealer Businesses will not receive a renewal if the responsible pesticide applicator or dealer associated with the license becomes ineligible as a result of a, b or c above.

Recertification FAQs

1.  How many recertification units do I need to maintain my pesticide applicator certification?
An applicator requires 8 units in Core and 16 units in each category over the exam's five year recertification period.

2.  How is the recertification period determined?

The recertification period starts on the November 1st after you pass an exam and lasts until October 31st five years later. Each exam has its own 5-year recertification period.

3.  How many recertification units do I currently have?

Refer to your most recent license renewal document. Your recertification status is indicated in the document. Private Pesticide Applicators will be sent a Recertification Update notice once a year during their five-year license period (which corresponds to their five-year recertification period). You may also check the number of units you have by going to the Online Report portal and running the "Commercial Certified Pesticide Applicators - Specific Information" or "Private Pesticide Applicator - Specific Information" report.

4.  What recertification courses are available?
Refer to the Recertification Course page.

5.  How do I get recertification course information?

By joining an association that represents your industry, contacting the Rutgers Cooperative Extension office in your area, and checking the Recertification Course page.

6.  When do I get an update on my recertification status?

With each annual renewal for Commercial Pesticide Applicators and at least once a year for Private Pesticide Applicators (private applicators have a five year license). You can also get your recertification status anytime by going to the Online Report portal and running the "Commercial Certified Pesticide Applicators - Specific Information" or "Private Pesticide Applicator - Specific Information" report.

Record Keeping FAQs

1. What do inspectors look for in a Commercial Applicator Business Inspection?
Licensing, business insurance pesticide application records, notification documents, service vehicle requirements, pesticide storage area requirements. The inspector may also perform a use inspection comparing pesticide application records to labeling instructions for the pesticide applied.

2. What exactly constitutes the pesticide concentrate, and diluent? How is this recorded on my application record?
The pesticide concentrate is the amount of product used from the manufacturers container, the diluent is the amount of water or other medium used that the concentrate is mixed in. For example; 1ounce of pesticide is mixed into 1 gallon of water. This is recorded as Concentrate + Diluent, e.g. 1oz of concentrate is recorded, and 1gal of diluent recorded.

School IPM FAQs

1. What does the School IPM Act require, in general terms?
Schools will be responsible for naming an "IPM coordinator" who will oversee the IPM and pest control activities at the school, retain recorded information about pest control at the school, and act as a contact for inquiries from students, staff, and parents. Additional responsibilities of the school include an annual notice to parents and staff that describes the IPM program, specific written notice and posting when pesticides are used, restrictions on when pesticide can be applied, and re-entry times for pesticide treated areas. The law requires schools to begin implementing an IPM Policy by June 12, 2004. A Model IPM Policy required by the law to be developed by the DEP is available for use by schools.


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Last Updated: August 8, 2022