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Private and Commercial Classification

Certified applicators are classified as either private or commercial. There are separate standards for each.

Private Applicator

A private applicator uses or supervises the use of restricted use pesticides for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity. This activity may occur on property owned or rented by the applicator or the applicator's employer, or, if applied without compensation other than the trading of personal services between producers of agricultural commodities, on the property of another person.

Standards for Certification of Private Applicators

Private applicators must show a practical knowledge of:

This knowledge must include the ability to:

Competence of private applicators must be verified through a certification system administered by the responsible state, territorial, or tribal agency. This may involve a written or oral test, or an equivalent system approved by EPA.

Commercial Applicator

A commercial applicator uses or supervises the use of restricted use pesticides for any purpose or on any property not covered by private applicators.

Standards for Certification of Commercial Applicators

Commercial applicators must demonstrate practical knowledge of the principles and practices of pest control and the safe use of pesticides. Competence must be determined by a written exam and, as appropriate, performance testing in the following areas:

In addition, tests are given on the particular category of the applicator's certification.

Categories of Commercial Applicator Certification

Following are typical categories of certification. States, tribes, or
territories may delete a category not needed, request the
Administrator's approval of additional major categories, or designate
subcategories within these 10 categories, as needed.

(1) Agricultural pest control

(i) Plant
(ii) Animal

(2) Forest pest control

(3) Ornamental & turf pest control

(4) Seed treatment

(5) Aquatic pest control

(6) Right-of-Way pest control

(7) Industrial, institutional, structural and health related pest control

(8) Public health pest control

(9) Regulatory pest control

(10) Demonstration and research pest control

How to Become a Certified Applicator

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