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Certified Applicators & Registered Technicians

COVID-19 note about disinfectants and sanitizers: 

A pesticide applicator license is not required to apply disinfectants and sanitizers (except for those commercial/public applicators making applications to a swimming pool or cooling tower.)  All disinfectant and sanitizer products for use on surfaces are required to be registered and have an EPA registration number on the label.  Users must adhere to the product label instructions. 

EPA Registered products known to be effective for COVID-19

Changes to Pesticide Licensing Programs due to COVID-19 Pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, all pesticide applicator exam sessions have been cancelled, at least through the month of March 2020.  The PaPlants website will be updated with the latest exam schedule when exams resume.

As of March 16, all Third-Party testing sites have been closed.

For those who have taken exams recently:  notification of exam results will be delayed. Those who have taken a pesticide exam and have not heard back from PDA will receive notification once PDA offices are re-opened and exams can be processed. 

Those who are already signed up to take a pesticide exam at exam sessions that were cancelled will be contacted by the department to reschedule.

Private applicators with March 31, 2020 expiration dates will be extended to June 1, 2020.   For those who are currently licensed and need to renew their license, the PDA will be extending the private applicator renewal date to June 1, 2020. 

Additionally, this extension will allow private pesticide applicators to purchase and make pesticide applications legally until June 1, 2020.  The PDA will not be mailing out new certification cards to reflect this extension, but we will be notifying pesticide dealers so you will be able to purchase your pesticides during this time period. 

For those whose private applicator certification expiration date reads March 31, 2019, or March 31, 2020, you will have until June 1, 2020 to obtain the required recertification credits and make payment for the applicators license.  Even with this extension, we urge private pesticide applicators to utilize pesticide online resources to obtain your recertification credits and pay for your license.  This can be done through the PaPlants website.

Completed renewals may be viewed in PaPlants but mailing of certification cards will be delayed.

 If you have any questions about this information, please contact 717-772-5231 or

Private Pesticide Applicator

A private applicator certification is required to purchase and/or apply restricted use pesticides for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity on land which is owned or rented by that person or their employer. To become a certified private applicator, testing is required.  There is no charge for the exam.  Once the exam is successfully passed, there is an initial $10.00 fee for the license. 

Additional testing is required if the applicator intends to use a restricted use fumigant.  In this case, the applicator must obtain a special permit by passing a written examination specifically related to the type of fumigation which will be made.   

Private applicators are required to obtain update training (six core and six category) credits at three-year intervals for recertification.  There is a $10 fee to renew the license at three-year intervals. 

Applicators can find training opportunities for recertification through our Recertification Course Locator.  

Commercial/Public Pesticide Technician

To be eligible for certification, a person must pass two written examinations (core and a minimum of one category) and be employed by a pesticide application business or plan to start their own.  Currently there are 26 categories of commercial and public applicators.

Core Test Fee, $50
Category Test $10 each
Commercial Applicator Fee - $40, annually
Public Applicator Fee - $10, Tri-annually

To maintain certification, applicators must attend update training programs in core and appropriate category-specific topics.  Six core credits and up to ten category credits for each category in which the applicator is certified are required.  If the recertification credit requirements are not met by the specified date, the applicator's license will expire and that applicator will no longer be permitted to make pesticide applications until the license is reinstated.

Applicators can find training opportunities for recertification through our Recertification Course Locator.  

Examinations are given through the PDA Regional Offices.  Dates and time are available at PaPlants under Pesticide Programs, then Certification Exam Locations.

Study materials for the exams are sold by the Publications Distribution Center at Penn State University 1-877-345-0691 or online at Penn State Study Packets

For answers to frequently asked questions, visit Penn State Extension's FAQ webpage.

Registered Pesticide Technician

Persons can register with the Department of Agriculture as a Registered Pesticide Technician.  To become Registered Technician the business must submit the person’s name and date of birth to the Department using the Registered Technician Form, which will start a minimum 30-day training period.  Training must be conducted by a certified applicator with at least 1-years experience and knowledge, who works for the business entity.  

During the 30-day training period, the technician is not permitted to make pesticide applications on their own, they must be under the continuous visual and voice control of a certified applicator.  Once licensed, applications made by technicians are limited to the use of materials, methods, and equipment on which they have documented training.  Technicians must be under the supervision of a certified applicator that can be on site within 5 hours if necessary.  Technician licensing is not transferable between businesses. 

Commercial Registered Technician Fee - $30, annually
Public Registered Technician Fee - $20, annually