Navigating to Pesticides Schools, Exams, and Study Materials for Pesticide License

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When is the Next Pesticide School? 

North Carolina residents seeking to obtain a license to apply restricted pesticides to their own land(s) or general pesticides to land of others as a commercial applicator must do so by passing an exam. N.C. Cooperative Extension has coordinated with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) to provide schools that review appropriate materials prior to testing. Information for these schools and associated fees is found at the NCDA&CS Pesticide website.

Where Can I Order Study Materials?

Prior to the school, it is strongly advised to prepare for the exam. These schools are not intended to cover every aspect necessary to pass the exam. Rather these schools cover critical materials and provide updates. Study materials can be ordered from NC State University.

Which category do I need?

General, broad classification of pesticide license first divides applicators into four types of operators. These types are:

  • Commercial Ground Applicators: The North Carolina Pesticide Law of 1971 requires licensing for individuals applying any pesticide for compensation.
  • Public Ground Operators: Employees of federal, state, county, or municipal governments who apply pesticides in the course of their jobs are certified and licensed in the same manner as commercial applicators. However, no fee is charged for the public operator license and use of the license is restricted to applications made as a government employee.
  • Private Pesticide Applicators: Farmers, or their employees, who use restricted-use pesticides in the production of an agricultural commodity, on land that they own or lease.
  • Aerial Applicators: Pesticide applicators who apply pesticides with a plane or helicopter.

Additionally, one special certification is necessary. Pest Consultants are defined as anyone who, for a fee, offers or supplies technical advice, supervision, or recommends the use of pesticides is required to obtain a Pest Control Consultants License. Individuals applying for this license must hold a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. degree in a biological or agricultural science, with specific course work relevant to the area of consultation.

Within each of these four divisions are categories. Each category varies in minimum requirements, recertification requirements, and fees.

Aquatic – application of pesticides to standing or running water

Public Health – application to outdoor areas to protect human health

Dealer – sales of restricted-use pesticides

Forest – use of pesticide in forest, forest nursery or forest production

Right of Way – pesticides use as maintenance of public roads

Ag Pest – Animal – pesticide application to animals or animal confinement

Ag Pest – Plant – pesticides to farms, crops, greenhouse production systems

Ornamental & Turf – maintenance or production of ornamental, shrubs,  turf, public grounds,  cemeteries, golf courses, parks, or greenhouses

Seed Treatment – application to seeds for resale

Demonstration and Research – application as part of research of demonstrations

Aerial – use of aircraft to apply pesticides

Soil Fumigant – Commercial – use of fumigant on soil or media as commercial operator

Soil Fumigant – Private – use of fumigant on soil or media as private applicator

Private Applicator – application of pesticides as part of growing agricultural commodity on own or leased lands

Additional information is found at the NCDA&CS website, Pesticide Section Categories.

How many hours do I need for recertification?

Recertification hours and associated fees will vary by category. This information is maintained by the NCDA&CS Pesticide Division.