How Do I Get a Pesticide License?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 June 2019
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The process of getting a pesticide license can vary depending on where you live, since both national and local agencies often regulate the application and use of these chemicals. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets national guidelines, but you need to take a licensing test administered by the specific state you intend to work in. The licensing procedure typically involves a written exam that tests whether or not you know how to safely handle and apply pesticides. Other countries typically have a national or local government body that governs pesticide activities and grants licenses if necessary, such as individual provincial and territorial governments in Canada, and Australian state governments.

Each country has its own laws and regulations that deal with eligibility to commercially apply pesticides, so you will need to investigate the laws in your own particular area. In the United States, you can typically obtain a commercial pesticide license by passing a state exam. You can prepare for such an exam on your own, take courses to learn safe procedures, or take the test if you already know how to safely handle pesticides. If you want to apply pesticides on land you do not own, you will typically need to obtain a pesticide license and may also need to work for a licensed company.


Every state in the United States has its own licensing program that is typically administered by the local department of agriculture, though many states offer reciprocal licenses. Oregon, for example, accepts licenses from Washington and Idaho. States in the same area that share environmental concerns and have similar tests often enter into these reciprocal agreements, though it is still important to make sure your pesticide license will be valid in the state you want to work in before you obtain it.

Other countries have different processes to become licensed to apply pesticide. In Canada, you will need to contact your local provincial government. The Ministry of Environment handles pesticide matters in British Columbia, and there are certain restricted pesticides that cannot be purchased without the proper license. In Australia, each state has its own unique requirements and you may or may not need a pesticide license depending on the services you provide. Other Australian states have different requirements, and you may need both an operator's pesticide license and a business pesticide license unless you work for a properly licensed company.



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