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State of New York Pesticide Applicator Certification Requirements
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State of New York Pesticide Applicator Certification Requirements

General Information - No location or contractor conducting commercial application of pesticides shall engage in the application of such pesticides unless the business is registered with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and unless that location or contractor employs at least one certified commercial applicator.Commercial Applicators are employees of any federal, state, county or local government agency or any training institution that are engaged in pesticide application in the State of New York that are certified by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Non-certified Applicators - This state does not currently require employers to provide formal state approved training under a registered employee or registered technician program. However, it is the responsibility of the certified applicator to acquaint non-certified applicators under his/her supervision with the hazards associated with handling pesticides and to provide for the protection of employees. Certified applicators whose activities indicate a supervisory role must demonstrate a practical knowledge of State and Federal supervisory requirements, including labeling, regarding the application of restricted use pesticides by non-certified applicators. The availability of the certified applicator must be directly related to the hazard of the situation. In many situations, where the certified applicator is not required to be physically present, "direct supervision" shall include verifiable instruction to the competent person, as follows:

  1. Detailed guidance for applying the pesticide properly, and
  2. Provisions for contacting the certified applicator in the event help is needed. In other situation, and as required by the label, the actual physical presence of a certified applicator may be required when application is made by a non-certified applicator.

Basic Certification Requirements - To become certified in any category or subcategory, an applicant shall be required to pass two separate written examinations: a core examination which shall include, but not be limited to, such areas as pesticide handling and safety, environmental considerations, symptoms of pesticide poisoning, current State and Federal laws and regulations governing the use of pesticides; and a technical examination which shall be specific to the commercial category or subcategory in which the applicant has applied to be certified. All category and subcategory exams are 'open-book'.

Applicants are not permitted to take the examinations unless they have:

  1. Completed a 30-hour training course approved by the Department; or
  2. Received an associate or baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university; or
  3. At least three years of full-time experience within the last five years in a category or categories of commercial pesticide application

Experience in corresponding private applicator categories will also be accepted. An individual who has met the education requirements instead of the experience requirements may take the examination and, if passed, may be provisionally certified until the necessary experience requirements have been met. The length of the provisional period will be based on the individual's previous education. Those individuals not meeting the experience requirements of subdivision (a) of this section will be in provisional status for the following periods of time:

  1. One year with a baccalaureate degree; or
  2. Two years with an associate degree or a 30-hour training course; or
  3. The number of years necessary to complete three years of experience.

Recertification Requirements - Certified commercial applicators must be recertified in each category or subcategory every six years. Recertification is based on the applicant's satisfactory attendance at a minimum of three training courses within the previous six years that have been approved by the commissioner, combined with a history of satisfactory performance for each category or subcategory. Commercial applicator certificates are valid for a period of three years unless suspended, revoked or otherwise modified by the commissioner and are renewed by application to the department and payment of appropriate fees.

In order to contact your state agency for assistance and information, please refer to the North Atlantic Area State Pesticide Applicator Information Table in this section. Information on the licensing requirements for pesticide applicators in the State of New York can be downloaded from the following websites: or