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Commercial Pesticide Applicator/Technician


A commercial pesticide applicator or commercial pesticide technician applies pesticides in a variety of commercial settings and contexts. Commercial application of pesticides means any application of any pesticide except private or residential applications. (See New York Compilation Rules Regulations (NYCRR), Title 6, Part 325. The official NY rules and regulations relating to the application of pesticides, Sections 325.1 (m), (n), and (t), provide a description/definition of these occupations.)

Age Requirements

Certified commercial pesticide applicator must be at least 18 years of age.
Certified commercial pesticide technicians must be at least 17 years of age.

Certification Requirements

There are 12 categories for which an individual may be certified. Several of these categories are further divided into subcategories. A description of these categories can be found in section 325.16, Categories of commercial pesticide application. Commercial pesticide applicators and technicians must be certified in the appropriate category/subcategory to apply pesticides in that category/subcategory. Commercial pesticide applicator identification cards and commercial pesticide technician identification cards are issued to individuals who are certified by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Applicators must register as a pesticide business, work for a registered pesticide business, or apply pesticides on property owned or leased by their employer.


Commercial pesticide applicators must be recertified every third year. Recertification credits are earned by attending continuing education courses throughout the 3-year period. Continuing courses are core or specific to the category or sub-category of certification. If you do not earn the required credits, a closed book recertification examination is available as an alternative.

Fees: (as of August 1, 2012)

$100 -- Each exam
$450 -- Initial category - 3-year term (except categories 3a and 3b only which have an annual $200 renewal fee)
$150 -- Each additional category - 3-year term
$900 -- Pesticide Business registration fee - 3-year term

Education and Training

All individuals must meet the following requirements to become eligible commercial pesticide applicators:
2 years of verifiable experience as a technician;

- or-

1 year of verifiable experience as a technician, with 12 hours of category-specific training credits as a technician;

- or -

3 years of verifiable experience in the past 5 years as an apprentice working in the category the applicant is seeking certification in, plus pass the pesticide applicator examination;

- or -

3 years of verifiable experience in the past 5 years as a certified private applicator in a corresponding private category, plus pass the pesticide applicator examination;

- or -

Certification in another state with which New York State has reciprocity;

- or -

if seeking certification in the sales category, at least 3 years of experience in the sale of pesticides or can demonstrate, through applicable training certifications or education degrees, that one possesses the appropriate technical background.

All individuals must meet the following requirements to be eligible to take the pesticide applicator examination to become a certified commercial pesticide technician: an applicant must have completed a 30-hour training course approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation, or have a baccalaureate or associate degree from an accredited college or university in the area of certification, or have 2 years of verifiable experience as an apprentice.

Proof of experience must be provided on letterhead from the certified applicator under whom you gained your experience, either as a technician or apprentice, and must be signed and notarized. Proof of education must be provided via a copy of your degree or transcript, or an original 30-hour course completion certificate.

Examination Requirements

The pesticide applicator examination consists of 2 parts: core and category/subcategory. The core section is a 50-question closed-book test, with 70 percent required to pass. The category/subcategory portion of the pesticide applicator exam is a 50-question open-book segment for which a 70 percent score is required to pass.

Registered Pesticide Business/Agency

Any agency applying pesticides, and each business offering, advertising or providing pesticide application services for hire must register. A pesticide business would include -- but is not limited to -- lawn care, extermination, and custom applicators for agricultural crops. Some examples of agencies are New York State agencies, school districts, colleges, and municipal corporations.

Certificates Issued and Active

As of January 1, 2016, there were 18,429 active licenses this occupation.

Certification Authority

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Materials Management
Pesticides Certification Section
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12333-7254
Phone: (518) 402-8748
Fax: (518) 402-9024
E-mail: [email protected]

Standard Occupational Classification

37-3012 - Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Additional Information

6 NYCRR Part 325: Rules and Regulations Relating to the Application of Pesticide


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 11/4/16.

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