A collection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) for applicators with questions on maintaining your license, getting certified, getting recertified, obtaining training manuals, exams, whether to get certified, and other related topics.

How do I become a Registered Technician?

posted Feb 21, 2017, 2:45 PM by Michael Weaver   [ updated Feb 21, 2017, 2:46 PM ]

Applicators with limited experience must practice as a registered technician before they can become a fully certified commercial pesticide applicator. Registered Technicians must have 40 hours of training.

  • 20 hours of the 40 hours required is study based on the VA Core Manual. (This may be self-study, classroom or discussion organized for you by your trainer, or both.) You can order a Virginia Core Manual (Pub. #456-210) through our online order system.
  • In addition, prospective RTs must have at least 20 hours of on-the-job training. This training must include safe and proper handling of pesticides, under the direct, on-site supervision of a properly-certified Commercial Applicator. The CA trainer must be certified in a category corresponding to work the prospective RT will do.
At the end of your training, complete a Registered Technician application [PDF], sign it, and have whoever supervised you sign it. Mail completed application to VDACS along with payment ($30). In about 10 days you will receive a “letter of authorization”. You have 90 days from the date on the letter to take the RT exam. Be sure to take the “letter of authorization” and picture I.D. with you to the testing center. You need a score of at least 76% to pass the RT exam. (The RT exam is based on the VA Core Manual.)

Do I need a certificate to spray Round-Up if it's part of my job?

posted Feb 12, 2017, 2:59 PM by Michael Weaver   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 2:59 PM ]

Many applicators ask about whether they need to be certified to apply weed killers and other pesticides that normally might be applied by the average homeowner.

It depends!

NO, if you are a grower, producing an agricultural commodity on property you own or lease (or on the property of another grower if you apply pesticides in exchange for goods or services with the other producer.) Growers only need to be certified if they use restricted-use pesticides. Round-Up is not classified as restricted-use.

However, if you are NOT engaged in agricultural production or hired as a farmworker by a grower, the answer is quite different:

YES, if you apply pesticides for hire or as part of your job duties as a government employee. In Virginia, For-Hire and Government Employee applicators must be certified to use ANY pesticide for ANY purpose on the job.

MAYBE, if you do not apply pesticides for-hire but do use them as part of your job. Not-for-hire applicators -- for example, maintenance workers, golf course managers -- must be certified to use restricted-use pesticides, and ANY pesticide (including RoundUP) in these areas:

  • any area open to the general public at the following establishments: educational institutions, health care facilities, day-care facilities, convalescent facilities;
  • where open food is stored, processed or sold; or
  • any recreational land over five acres.

So Where Do I start?

posted Feb 12, 2017, 2:55 PM by Michael Weaver   [ updated Feb 14, 2017, 7:30 AM ]

This government gobbledegook confuses the heck out of me! I want to use pesticides in my business and I don't know where to get started?
Government red tape and this doggone website can be confusing. Because we are dealing with state and federal laws and regulations. Because there are up-teen policies and procedures you must follow as a pesticide applicator to stay out of trouble, this can get complex. You can't just blow off the details. If you decide you want to become a professional pesticide applicator and sell your services or work for someone who uses them, then the key to success is becoming a "PROFESSIONAL." Being a professional applicator is not a quick and dirty process. If you are looking to make a fast buck - go elsewhere. Cutting corners will cost you! Fines for pesticide misuse can amount into the tens of thousands of dollars!

So you still want to look into this and have assigned yourself to the fact that you will have to do some work with a goal to be a professional? Great! Then welcome to the world of pesticide regulation and safety - the most important place to start!

Okay, let's get started.

Here are a series of questions to lead you to the details on the other end contained in this website and elsewhere.
Are you seeking to start your own pesticide application business?
YES - then you will need to obtain a pesticide business license and hire a competent and trained commercial applicator with experience in the type of application you are selling. If you want to do the application yourself, then you will need at least one year's experience as a pesticide applicator.

People accumulate this experience in various ways. Applying chemicals in your home garden or lawn doesn't cut it. Taking college or high school vocational agriculture courses with instruction in pest management does count. Working on a farm and applying pesticides counts. Working in a commercial application business as a volunteer or intern counts. Having experience in the area you are seeking to work is best. If you are starting your own pest control business it is almost mandatory to have experience in the work related to your business. It is common sense that you have this experience and it may help your business survive past the first year without disaster.

NO - see below...
Then are you working or seeking to work for someone who wants to hire you as a commercial applicator?
YES - then (as above) you will be required to have at least one year's experience as a pesticide applicator to qualify. If you don't have the experience then you will need to work for someone (including your potential employer) as a registered technician - until you gain the year's experience.

NO - see below... 
Are you working on a farm, forest, greenhouse or nursery and applying restricted use pesticides?
YES - then you will need to be certified as a private applicator or work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.

NO - then you can apply general use pesticides without a certification, although we encourage all applicators to take advantage of the training offered by your local Extension agent by either attending this training, getting certified, or both.
So what do I do next - I have read all of this - how do I proceed?
This website has a tab (above) called APPLICATORS. Go there and read the various areas pertaining to the type of applicator you have decided to become. We even have a section for non-certified applicators - if you are seeking to not become certified, but are still seeking help. Our site has information on where to obtain training materials (manuals) or training in the form of either online or classroom training. We also have details on many other aspects of pesticide application and pest management. This FAQ has other answers if you are seeking more details.

In addition, we have a link to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services website. That resource has details of the laws and regulations, certification rules and policies, forms, and other compliance assistance information.

So good luck and we wish you a successful venture as a professional applicator.

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