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


  1. Who is required to become a certified or registered applicator?
  2. What are the requirements to become a Commercial Pesticide Applicator?
  3. What are the requirements to become a Private Pesticide Applicator?
  4. What are the requirements to become a Registered Pesticide Applicator?
  5. What are the requirements to become an Approved Trainer?
  6. Where do I purchase the study manuals?
  7. What category do I need to be certified in?
  8. Where do I get an application?
  9. Where and when can I take the exam(s)?
  10. How much is the certification/registration fee?
  11. When will I know the score results of my exam?
  12. When will I receive my certification card?
  13. How long is my certification/registration credential good for?
  14. Who do I report a change of address to?
  15. Do you have reciprocity with any other states?

1. Who is required to become a certified or registered applicator?

The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, P.A. 451, As Amended and Regulation 636, As Amended, require individuals to be either a certified pesticide applicator or registered applicator to apply a pesticide for a commercial purpose or in the course of his or her employment.  A person may apply a general use pesticide for a private agricultural purpose without being a certified applicator or registered applicator.  Some exceptions do exist:

a.  A person who uses a general-use, janitorial type supplies indoors such as: sanitizers, disinfectants and bactericides.
b.  A person who is not subject to the licensing requirements may apply a general use ready-to-use pesticide.
c.  Veterinarians or physicians, and employees working under their direct supervision, as part of their professional services, and laboratory personnel in pesticide use research.
d.  A person who is not subject to the licensing requirements may apply a general use pesticide to swimming pools.
e.  A person who is not subject to the licensing requirements may apply a general use antimicrobial pesticide if there is no potential for movement of an antimicrobial pesticide to affect surface water or groundwater.

A private agricultural applicator, who plans to use a restricted-use pesticide product, may apply for a private pesticide applicator certification credential.


2. 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.

a.  The general standard exam (CORE); and
b.  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.


3. What are the requirements to become a Private Pesticide Applicator?

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.


4. What are the requirements to become a Registered Pesticide Applicator?

Registered applicators must pass the general standard exam (CORE) and complete a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development approved training program coordinated by an MDARD Approved Trainer.  The training program must be verifiable and category-specific. (Note, the registered applicator must be under direct supervision while making any pesticide applications during the training program. 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.)

Once the training program is completed, registered applicators making a general use pesticide application only need to be supervised by a certified applicator when employed by a commercial pesticide application business.  The certified applicator does not have to be physically present at the time of the general use pesticide application. As non-certified applicators, registered applicators may not purchase or use restricted use pesticides (RUP's).

The applicant may complete the training requirement before or after taking the exam.  After the applicant has completed training, the approved trainer must complete the "Registered Applicator Verifiable Training Form"  and either have the applicant turn it in with his or her application at an MDARD paper-based exam site or mail it to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, Michigan  48909.

Individuals must be 18 years of age or older.

Submit the completed application and appropriate fee.


5. 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 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development OR pass the "Train the Trainer" exam.

Contact Michigan State University, Pesticide Education Safety Program office at 517-353-5134 to obtain the "Train the Trainer" manual.  You may also obtain the “Train the Trainer” manual by contacting MDARD at 800-292-3939. This manual is available without a fee.

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.


6. Where do I purchase the study manuals?

Study manuals, for select categories of pesticide application, may be viewed and downloaded at the Michigan State University Pesticide Education Web Site.  Manuals may also be ordered by mail or picked up from some Michigan State University County Extension Offices.  Visit the web site or check your local phone book for the nearest extension office. You may also contact the MSU Distribution Center at 800-709-9195. 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.


7. 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.


8. 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.


9. 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 Michigan.gov/pestexam for paper-based exams. Schedule online at Metrosignup.com for computer-based exams (note, computer-based exams have an additional fee per test). See “Examination Process” for details.


10. 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

If you are testing via paper-based exams at an MDARD exam site, the 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.

If you are testing via computer-based exams at an exam site hosted by Metro Institute, the completed application must be submitted with the appropriate fee to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, P.O. Box 30776, Lansing, Michigan  48909.

(Note:  If you choose to take computer-based exams, hosted by Metro Institute, there are additional fees per test. See “Examination Process” for details.)


11. When will I know the score results of my exam?

If you test at a paper-based exam site:

After you complete an exam, the exam result will be processed and will be written on 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. Your temporary credential must be carried with you while making applications until the certification card is received.

If you test at a computer-based exam site:

After you complete an exam, you will receive a test result sheet that has your score on it. You will receive a printout for each test you take. If all of your exams have been completed and passed, these printouts will be your temporary credential until the certification card is received. You must carry all of the exam result printouts (along with a copy of the application and check or check number that was mailed to MDARD) with you while making applications until the certification card is received.


12. 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.


13. 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.


14. 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 MDA-Info@michigan.gov. (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.


15. 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.


If you have further questions, check out our Pesticide Applicator FAQ document.  You may also contact our office at 800-292-3939.



Related Documents
Pesticide Applicator Certification-Registration Application PDF icon
Pesticide Applicator FAQ's PDF icon
Registered Applicator Verifiable Training Form PDF icon