Pesticide Applicators Must Be Certified

Pesticide Applicators Must Be Certified

Testing to renew your pesticide certification or to become certified for the first time is available at Des Moines Area Community College and other sites throughout Iowa.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey reminds certified pesticide applicators there are a number of options for them to meet the continuing education and testing requirements to maintain their pesticide applicator certifications.

"This is a busy time of the year for pesticide applicators that need to take the certification exam as well as those participating in continuing instruction courses. There a variety of options of available for them to keep their pesticide application certification up-to-date," notes Northey.

All commercial pesticide applicators must pass the pesticide application certification exam to receive their certification. Private applicators (farmers) who wish to apply a restricted use pesticide must also pass a certification exam.

Upon passing the certification exam both commercial and private applicators receive a three year certification. The certification can be renewed without further testing if the applicator participates in continuing instruction each of the three years they hold the certification. Applicators must pay the certification fees to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship regardless of whether they renew by continuing instruction or by testing.

Testing available at Des Moines Area Community College and other sites throughout Iowa

Iowa State University Extension Service, in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, offers the continuing instruction courses across the state. Applicators can find a course near them at and then select "Pesticide Applicator Training" on the drop down "Category" menu.

Testing Options: For those people who need to take the pesticide applicator test, exams are available daily at the DMACC college test center or at Iowa Western Community College's main campus in Council Bluffs and the college's centers in Atlantic, Harlan and Shenandoah. Tests are also available by appointment at nine additional community college sites across the state and the Iowa State University Borlaug Learning Center in Nashua.

In addition, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and ISU Extension will host more than 50 winter test sites around the state in February and March of this year.  More information about all the pesticide testing option available can be found at

The state ag department's Pesticide Bureau is responsible for the distribution and use of pesticide, responding to complaints of alleged misuse, and providing education and certification for safe use of pesticides by applicators. There are currently 22,000 certified private applicators and 13,000 certified commercial applicators in Iowa.

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