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State of Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Certification Requirements
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State of Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Certification Requirements

General Information - Public 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 Pennsylvania that are certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Registered Technicians are non-certified applicators who must complete minimum training requirements under the direction of a certified applicator, having at least one year's certification in the category of training. Registered technicians may make applications without a certified applicator being present. However, registered technicians must be under the supervision of a certified applicator that can be on site within five hours if necessary.

Procedures for Obtaining Registered Technician Training - The business (location) submits a list of employees that it intends to register as technicians to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) on the form approved by the department. The postmarked date will indicate the beginning of the required 30-day training. At the end of the 30-day period, and upon completion of appropriate training, applicators may be registered with the PDA. A technician's registration may not be transferred from one business to another and is not transferable to other states. Registered technicians must be re-registered and receive update training on an annual basis. The annual fee for registered technicians is $20.

Non-certified Applicators - Applications may be made by an individual who is neither certified nor a registered technician, if and only if that individual is under the supervision of a certified applicator who is physically present and within sight of the application being made.

Basic Certification Requirements - ARS researchers are required to apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, using Departmental forms, for certification as a public applicator, generally in category 18 (Demonstration and Research). Applicants must successfully pass two written examinations (core and category) and demonstrate proof of practical and scientific knowledge of pest control by meeting one of the following:

  1. One year of experience acceptable to the commissioner as a full-time registered employee engaged in those categories in which the applicant seeks to be certified (proof of experience from former employers, certification or licensure from other states or the federal government)
  2. A degree or academic certificate acceptable to the commissioner
  3. A combination of education and experience acceptable to the commissioner

Recertification Requirements - To maintain certification, applicators must attend update training programs in order to accumulate recertification credits in core and appropriate category-specific topics at three-year intervals. An annual statement that outlines credit requirements, accumulated credits, and the recertification renewal date, is mailed to each certified applicator. Six core credits and up to 10 category credits for each category in which the applicator is certified are required for recertification. The number of category specific credits required for recertification under Demonstration and Research is 10. 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. However, the applicator has up to one year to reinstate the license by obtaining the necessary recertification credits and paying the appropriate fees. If the certification has expired longer than a one-year period, reexamination is required for recertification.

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 Pennsylvania can be downloaded from the following websites: or