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Pesticide Applicator Certification
The Exam Process

The VDACS Office of Pesticide Services will determine whether you are qualified to take the examination and then send you a letter confirming the receipt of your application. You must present this authorization letter and a photo identification at the testing center. You will have 90 days from the date of the letter to sit for the examinations leading to commercial applicator certification.

To become a Commercial Applicator, you must first pass a Core Examination.* This test deals with general principles of pesticide safety, and knowledge of appropriate federal and state laws and regulations. Then, you must further demonstrate competency in a particular type of pest control by passing the appropriate category examination(s).

*(Persons preparing for certification in Category 5B, Marine Antifoulant Paints, are required to take only the category examination.)

The Commercial Core and category examinations are offered as computerized or written examinations. They are administered in writing at VDACS testing centers and on touch-screen computers at Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Customer Service Centers. Examinations are given during business hours at more than 70 local DMV Customer Service Centers, or by appointment at eleven VDACS testing centers. Exams on the DMV computerized equipment are scored as you are taking them, and you will be notified of your score as you complete each exam. Written exams taken at VDACS testing centers will be sent to the Office of Pesticide Services in Richmond to be scored. A score of 76% is the passing score required to earn a commercial applicator certificate.

Once you have passed the Core exam, you may take any additional category exams listed on your Notice of Authorization, at one sitting. Most exams have a one-hour time limit, and you should allow sufficient time to complete all exams before the closing time of the DMV Customer Service Center.

If you wish to be examined to add categories to your certification, you must also submit an additional application with the required $35.00 fee.

Receiving your certificate
If you pass the Core and one or more category examinations, the Office of Pesticide Services (OPS) will notify you, and send you your certificate. If you take and pass your exams at one of the DMV Customer Service Centers, you will be issued a temporary certificate good for seven days. Your permanent certificate will be mailed to you by OPS within seven days.

If you fail an exam, OPS will notify you, and will send you a new application. Another application is required to take an exam again. You must wait 10 days before taking any examination a second time. If an exam is failed more than once, you must submit another application with the $70 fee, and there is a 30-day waiting period.

Please note that Commercial Applicators For Hire may not be issued an active certificate unless they have, or work for someone who has, a valid Pesticide Business License.

More Information:

The exam process
Maintaining Your Certificate
Commercial Application A (PDF format)
Commercial Application B (PDF format)
Categories for Commercial Applicator Certification (PDF format)
VDACS testing centers
(DMV) Customer Service Centers

Order Training Manuals from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Distribution Center

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