National Pesticide Applicator Core Exam Prep Course Syllabus


Course Description

This course is intended as a study guide for preparing to take the Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Exam administered by your state, tribe, territory, or federal department/agency. Passing the core exam is essential to becoming a certified applicator. This certification manual benefits both you and the general public. By learning how to handle pesticides correctly, you will be able to protect yourself, others, and the environment from pesticide misuse.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize and implement a broad range of pesticide application best practices.
  • Be able to describe and integrate important regulatory requirements related to labeling, hazard management, environmental issues, and application procedures.
  • Outline the different types formulations, equipment, and PPE used in the pesticide industry.

Pesticide Applicator Certification

Chapter 1 – Pest Management

  • Historical pest management
  • Main groups of pests
  • Pest identification resources
  • Integrated pest management (IPM)
  • Preventative measures
  • Population levels and environmental influences
  • Pesticide resistance and the cause of failures.

Chapter 2 – Federal Pesticide Laws and Rules

  • Key Federal laws and regulations
  • Guide to proper record keeping
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
  • EPA involvement and responsibilities
  • Pesticide Classifications
  • Pesticide Applicator Classifications
  • Rules of Thumb
  • State Specific Pesticide Laws
  • Violations and penalties

Chapter 3 – Pesticide Labeling

  • Basis of pesticide labels
  • How to properly read a label
  • Explanation of pesticide:
    • Names
    • Ingredients
    • Formulations
    • Signal words and precaution statements
    • Environmental hazard statements
  • Directions for mixing, loading, application, storage, and disposal

Chapter 4 – Pesticide Formulations

  • Recognizing formulation abbreviation
  • Identifying formulations and their advantages VS. disadvantages
  • Explanation of adjuvants
  • Formulation selection and how to make the right choice
  • Proper use of each type of pesticide formulation

Chapter 5 – Pesticide Hazards and First Aid

  • Effects pesticides can have on your health
  • Understanding signal words
  • Knowing the routes of exposure
  • Recognizing the symptoms of exposure
  • When and how to give first aid.

Chapter 6 – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • PPE selection for applicators
  • PPE care and proper application
  • Storage vs. disposal of PPE
  • Proper clean up

Chapter 7 – Pesticides in the Environment

  • Environmental consequences of pesticide application
  • Preventing drift
  • Preventing runoff
  • Identifying pesticide-sensitive areas
  • Adjusting methods to minimize environmental impact
  • Maximizing effectiveness with minimized impact

Chapter 8 – Transportation, Storage and Security

  • Proper Storage of pesticides
  • Restricted access areas
  • Inventory and maintenance methods
  • How to prepare for potential spill and correct handling.
  • How to dispose of pesticide wastes

Chapter 9 – Emergency Response

  • Implementing and executing emergency response plans
  • How spills and fires can harm humans and the environment
  • How to clean up spills and reduce environmental impact
  • How to dispose of contaminated items
  • Emergency response equipment

Chapter 10 – Planning the Pesticide Application

  • Pesticide selection
  • Adjuvant selection
  • Tank mixing and loading
  • Pesticide pre-application procedures
  • Container and equipment rinsing considerations

Chapter 11 – Pesticide Application Procedures

  • Selecting appropriate application equipment
  • Selecting appropriate pesticide formulation
  • Understanding equipment components
  • Determining pesticide application rates
  • Drift and runoff reduction practices

Chapter 12 – Professional Conduct

  • Being professional as an applicator
  • Uncertified employees and supervision
  • Customer communication techniques

Practice Exam

  • Practice test questions in the same format as the actual exam.

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