Pesticide Application Certification Details & FAQ

Expires: December 31st every third year
Fee: Variable (see fee schedule, below)
Contact: Faye Burns 517-284-5653
Forms: Examination Application


What are the requirements to become a Commercial Pesticide Applicator?

Individuals must be 18 years of age or older.

Individuals must pass a minimum of two exams.

  1. The general standard exam (CORE); and
  2. A minimum of one category and/or subcategory exam in the applicant's area of pesticide application. Additional standards are required for individuals who use fumigant pesticides or apply pesticides by aircraft.

Submit the completed application and appropriate fee.

What are the requirements to become a Registered Pesticide Applicator?

As non-certified applicators, registered applicators may not purchase or use restricted use pesticides; however, they may apply general use pesticides as part of their work activities.

Only in those instances when the registered applicators are undergoing training as part of an MDARD approved training program do they need to be under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.  A pesticide applicator is considered to be under direct supervision of a certified applicator when the certified applicator is physically present at the time and place the pesticide is being applied.

Individuals must be 18 years of age or older.

Individuals must pass the general standard exam (CORE) and must complete an MDARD approved training program coordinated by an MDARD approved trainer.  The training program must be verifiable and category-specific.

Submit the completed application and appropriate fee. 

What are the requirements to become a Private Pesticide Applicator?

Private pesticide applicator credentials are required for individuals or their employees who apply restricted-use pesticides for the purpose of producing any agricultural commodity on property that meets the following requirements:

    • Owned or rented by an individual or his/her employer; or
    • On property of another for no compensation other than trading of personal services between producers.

  • Individuals must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Individuals must pass the private general standard exam (CORE).
  • An additional standard exam is required for individuals who use fumigant pesticides or apply pesticides by aircraft.
  • Submit the completed application and appropriate fee.
Note: There is a study manual and exam for each category of pesticide application. Each examination requires a minimum score of 70 percent to pass. All exams are closed book. The questions are true/false and multiple choice.

Where do I purchase the study manuals?

Training manuals for pesticide applicator certification and registration may be obtained from your County Cooperative Extension Service or contact the MSU Distribution Center at (517) 353-6740. Click here for more information on the List of Study Manuals by Applicator TypeNote: There may be some instances, as in the use of microbicide (category 5B) or domestic animal (7G), when general standard (core) materials and category-specific materials will be combined into one study manual.

What category do I need to be certified in?

Individuals may apply for as many categories of pesticide certification as they wish. However, certification credentials will not be issued until all examination categories applied for on the application have been passed with a score of 70 percent or better. Initial applicants have six (6) months from their application date and renewal applicants have twelve (12) months from their expiration date to complete all requirements. Click here for a listing of "Pesticide Application Categories".

Where do I get an application?

Applications may be obtained from an exam monitor prior to taking an exam or application is available on the MDARD website.

Where and when can I take the exam(s)?

Certified Pesticide Applicator and Registered Technician exams are offered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) at various locations throughout the state by appointment. Schedule online at

How much is the certification/registration fee?

  • Commercial application fee is $75.00
  • Registered application fee is $45.00
  • Private application fee is $50.00

Application fee is paid at the exam site with a check or money order payable to the "State of Michigan." Cash and credit cards are not accepted.

When will I know the score results of my exam?

After you complete an exam, the exam result will be processed and will be written on the your Pesticide Applicator's receipt.   If all your exams have been completed and passed, your receipt will be your temporary credential until the certification card is received.

When will I receive my certification card?

Your certification card will be issued within two months of successfully completing all examinations. If you do not receive your card within this time, MDARD must be contacted or a replacement fee may be charged. The replacement fee is $10.00.

How long is my certification/registration credential good for?

Pesticide applicator certification/registration credentials expire December 31 every third year. The renewal fee is $75.00 for commercial applicators, $45.00 for registered applicators, and $50.00 for private applicators. A renewal notice and information pertaining to requirements for renewal will be mailed approximately three months prior to the December 31 expiration date.

Who do I report a change of address to?

Certified pesticide applicators must report address changes to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development at 800-292-3939 or by email (Email should include name, certification number, telephone number and new address.) Address changes must be reported in order to insure receipt of any regulation changes, renewal notices or other pertinent information.

Do you have reciprocity with any other states?

Michigan has reciprocal agreements with the states of Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Commercial and private applicators who are residents of these states may be granted reciprocal certification without examination. To obtain Michigan certification credentials as part of a reciprocal agreement, submit an application and the prescribed fee (payable to State of Michigan) to MDARD at the address listed on the application.

What are the requirements to become an Approved Trainer?

Individuals must meet all of the following qualifications in order to be a state-approved trainer.

  • Have a current pesticide applicator certification credential from the state of Michigan in the pesticide applicator category(s) for which they will provide training.
  • Have a minimum of two (2) years of experience.
  • Participated in an "Approved Trainer" program offered jointly by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and Michigan State University.
  • Individuals must pass the "Train the Trainer" exam.
  • Contact Michigan State University, Pesticide Education office at (517) 353-5147 to obtain the "Train the Trainer" manual.

Training programs used by the approved trainer must be submitted to MDARD for approval. It is the approved trainer's responsibility to ensure effective implementation of the approved program.

Related Documents
List of Study Manuals by Applicator Type PDF icon