Certification and Training ProgramsThe pesticide applicator certification and training program provides pesticide applicators with the knowledge and ability to use pesticides safely and effectively. Understanding pesticide product labels and the proper methods of pesticide application is essential in applying pesticides safely and reducing risks to human health and the environment. Pesticide applicators are trained by state Cooperative Extension Service pesticide applicator training programs and are certified by pesticide State Lead Agencies.
EPA regulations require that applicators be certified as competent to apply restricted use pesticides in accordance with national standards. Certification programs are conducted by states, territories, and tribes in accordance with these national standards. Training of certified applicators covers safe pesticide use as well as environmental issues such as endangered species and water quality protection.
Certified applicators are classified as either private or commercial. There are separate standards for each. All states require commercial applicators to be recertified, generally every three to five years. Some states also require recertification or other training for private applicators.
- Over one million applicators are currently certified nationwide, including over 900,000 private applicators and about 350,000 commercial applicators.
- Approximately 80,000 private and 65,000 commercial applicators are certified annually.
- Approximately 130,000 private and 120,000 commercial applicators are recertified annually.
EPA funds cooperative agreements to assist state, territory and tribal governments in conducting certification and training programs. EPA supports "train-the-trainer" workshops, pesticide applicator training workshops, training materials for improving pesticide drift management and application technology, and methods for assessing behavioral and attitudinal changes in applicators as a result of certification and training programs.