The Certification of Private Pesticide Applicators
in New Jersey
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide
Act of 1972 (FIFRA) required each state to set up a program
to certify users of pesticides. This certification is designed
to demonstrate a certain level of competency by pesticide users
on the safe use of pesticides. New Jersey, through the Pesticide
Control Program (PCP), began its certification program in 1975.
Users of pesticides are classified as either
private applicators or commercial applicators. The definition
of each is as follows:
PRIVATE APPLICATOR - any person who uses,
or supervises the use, of pesticides for the purpose of raising
an agricultural commodity. The pesticide use can be on
land owned or rented by the applicator or the applicator's employer.
Examples of private applicators are dairy farmers, vegetable
or fruit growers, greenhouse growers, ranchers, nurserymen,
and home gardeners.
COMMERCIAL APPLICATOR -
any person who applies pesticides for non-agricultural purposes.
Any person who uses, or supervises the use, of pesticides on
a "for hire" basis, no matter what for. Also, any person who
applies pesticides as part of his job with any government agency.
Examples of commercial applicators are those who work for exterminators;
landscapers; tree services; aerial applicators; weed control
firms; pet groomers; apartments, motels, nursing homes, restaurants,
etc. who do their own pest control work; and government agencies
such as mosquito extermination commissions, public school systems,
Departments of Public Works, Departments of Health, the DOT,
If you are not sure whether you are classified
as a private or commercial applicator, call the PCP at (609) 984-6601.
Private Applicator Certification
Certification is accomplished by passing the Private
pesticide applicator certification exam. This exam is based on
the training manual entitled "Pesticide Applicator Training Manual
- Private." This training
manual can be obtained from your County
Cooperative Extension Office.
The exam is a closed book exam. There is a 1
hour 45 minute time limit for taking the exam. Exam sessions
are held monthly throughout the state. Visit the Exam
Sign-Up page. You can also call the PCP at (609) 984-6614
to sign-up for the certification exam.
Once you have passed the exam, you are fully
certified. Once you are fully certified, you will automatically
receive licensing information in the mail. You cannot "use"
your certification until you have received a license. The license
will be valid for a minimum of 5 years. There is no fee charged
for the Private Certified Pesticide Applicator license.
Within 12 months after a person has become fully
certified and eligible to become licensed as a private pesticide
applicator, the certified private pesticide applicator shall
complete and file with the Department (on forms provided by
the Department) a license application. Any certified pesticide
applicator who fails to file for a license within the 12 month
period will lose certification status and shall again become
certified in accordance with the exam process.
The Recertification of Private
Once you are certified, your certification is good
for a minimum of 5 years. The recertification date will be an
October 31st date and is calculated by adding 5 years to the next
October 31st date following the date you passed the certification
exam (example: pass exam May 15, 2000; next October 31st date
is October 31, 2000; recertification date is October 31, 2005).
Recertification can be accomplished in two ways.
One way is to retake the Private applicator certification exam
during the 5th year. The other way, which is encouraged, is
to accumulate units of recertification credit over the 5 year
period by attending PCP approved courses, seminars and meetings.
A Private applicator must accumulate 8 units of credit (one
unit equals 30 minutes of instruction time) in Core subject
matter and 16 units of credit in Private Part 2 (PP2) subject
matter over the 5 years. Examples of Core subject matter are
topics such as pesticide regulations, the hazards of pesticide
use, and the use of personal safety equipment. Examples of PP2
subject matter are topics such as pest ID, methods of pest control,
including integrated pest management, and the proper use of
Check the Recertification
Course page for courses currently being offered. The
PCP itself does not offer any recertification courses. Course
information can also be obtained by contacting your County
Cooperative Extension Office, professional associations
and private companies which offer such courses.
You will receive an update of your recertification
status at least once a year. The "Recertification Update Form"
will tell you when your 5 year period is up, how many units
you have accumulated and how many more you need.
If there are any questions on the certification
program for Private Pesticide Applicators, please call the PCP
at (609) 984-6507.