Illinois Pesticide Applicator Requirements & FAQs

ILLINOIS PESTICIDE APPLICATOR GENERAL INFORMATION

State Licensing Contact Information

Phone: (217) 785-2427

Email: agr.pesticide@illinois.gov

Web: Illinois Department of Agriculture

What pesticide application activities require a license in Illinois?

A pesticide license is required of everyone applying Restricted Use pesticides. Also, anyone applying Restricted or general Use pesticides in the course of employment must have a license. A person applying a General Use pesticide on his or her own property is exempt.

What kind of Illinois pesticide applicator's certification do I need?

An applicator is the person(s) in an organization who has the responsibility for all pesticide purchasing, storage, handling, and use. Each organization must have at least one person licensed as an applicator at each facility location. The applicator's license categories dictate the areas in which a company may legally apply pesticides. An applicator is usually an owner, a supervisor, or a foreman. An applicator may use pesticides or supervise the use of pesticides by that person's licensed operators.

An operator is a person who uses pesticides at the job site. The operator is tied directly to the applicator's license. The operator cannot be licensed without an applicator being properly licensed. The operator can apply pesticides only under the direct supervision of the applicator and can apply pesticides only to areas covered by the applicator's license.

Supervision and direction of operators by an applicator is interpreted to mean that the applicator must be in daily contact with the operators. If the applicator is out of town or not available, the operator may not legally apply pesticides. An operator may not legally work for another applicator.

What classifications of applicator's licensing does Illinois have?

  • Private Applicators – an individual who applies or supervises the application of any restricted use pesticides on agricultural commodities on property owned or rented without compensation.
  • Pesticide Dealer License – An individual selling Restricted Use pesticides.
  • Commercial Applicator or Operator License- required for individuals who purchase, use or supervise the use of pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use for hire. (Applicator - $60; Operator - $40; both 1-year licenses).
  • Public Applicator or Operator License- required for individuals who use or supervise the use of pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use, as an employee of a state agency, municipality, or other duty constituted governmental agency or unit (Applicator - $20; Operator - $15; both 1-year licenses).
  • Commercial Not-for-Hire Applicator or Operator License- required for individuals who use or supervise the use of pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use for any purpose on property of an employer when such activity is a requirement of the terms of employment and the application is limited to property under the control of the employer only (Applicator - $20; Operator - $15; both 1-year licenses).

What are the categories for Illinois pesticide licensing?

The State of Illinois currently has 18 categories and subcategories for pesticide licensing. Applicators holding a commercial license will need to pass the core exam along with at least one of these specialties. For more information about categories click here.

Aquatic Pest Control
Demonstration and Research
Field Crop Pest Control
Forest Pest Control
Fruit Crop Pest Control
Grain Facility Pest Control
Livestock Pest Control
Mosquito Control
Ornamental Pest Control
Plant Management Pest Control
Regulatory Pest Control
Right-of-Way Pest Control
Sewer Line Root Control
Soil Fumigation
Seed Treatment
Soil Fumigation
Turf Pest Control
Vegetable Crop Pest Control

Does the state of Illinois offer pesticide applicator reciprocity with other states?

Individuals may qualify for pesticide licensure in the state of Illinois through reciprocity, if they are currently licensed to conduct the same type of pesticide application in another state, provided that the licensure is from their current state of residency and licensure was based on the successful completion of a closed book examination within the previous three years. Individuals wishing to qualify for an Illinois license using this method can qualify for a ONE CALENDAR YEAR Illinois license.

Application for a reciprocal license is a two-step process:

  • First, complete the top portion of the Reciprocity Request and Verification Form (available below) and submit it to your home state regulatory agency.  They will complete the lower portion of the form detailing your licensure and test history in your state of residency and will then forward the completed form to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.?
  • Second, complete and submit the Reciprocal Pest Control License Application form (see below), along with the applicable licensing fee, to the Illinois Department of Agriculture at the address indicated.

Reciprocity Request and Verification Form

Reciprocal Pest Control License Application

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ILLINOIS PESTICIDE APPLICATOR CERTIFICATION

How do I become a certified Illinois pesticide applicator?

Private Applicators –

  • Step 1 – Pass the 100 question general standards with a 70% or better. Click here for information on our Exam Prep Course.
  • Step 2 - Pass on or more 50 question Category exams with 35 or more correct.
  • Step 3 – Complete the license application that will arrive in the mail.
  • Step 4 – Send the completed license application and the $30 fee to the Illinois Department of Agriculture within 90 days.

Commercial Applicators –

  • Step 1 – Pass the 100 question general standards with a 70% or better. Click here for information on our Exam Prep Course.
  • Step 2 - Pass on or more 50 question Category exams with 35 or more correct.
  • Step 3 – Complete the license application that will arrive in the mail.
  • Step 4 – Send the completed license application and the $60 fee to the Illinois Department of Agriculture within 90 days.

Commercial Not-for-Hire Applicator Licenses –

  • Step 1 – Pass the 100 question general standards with a 70% or better. Click here for information on our Exam Prep Course.
  • Step 2 - Pass on or more 50 question Category exams with 35 or more correct.
  • Step 3 – Complete the license application that will arrive in the mail.
  • Step 4 – Send the completed license application and the $20 fee to the Illinois Department of Agriculture within 90 days.

Pesticide Dealer License –

  • Step 1 – Pass the 100 question general standards with a 70% or better. Click here for information on our Exam Prep Course.
  • Step 2 - Pass on or more 50 question Category exams with 35 or more correct.
  • Step 3 – Complete the license application that will arrive in the mail.
  • Step 4 – Send the completed license application and the $100 fee to the Illinois Department of Agriculture within 90 days.

Who administers the Illinois pesticide exams?

Pesticide Safety Education Program

Where can I find reference materials for the Illinois pesticide exams?

Pesticide Safety Education Program

Are the Illinois pesticide exams open book?

No.

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ILLINOIS PESTICIDE CERTIFICATION RENEWALS

What continuing education is required to renew an Illinois pesticide applicator's certification?

The state of Illinois requires applicators to retake an exam every three years. Click here for information on our Exam Prep Course. NO CE is required.

How long is my Illinois pesticide applicator's certification valid?

Private Applicators: 3 year

Pesticide Dealers: 1 year

Commercial Applicators and Operators: 1 year

Public Applicators and Operators: 1 year

Commercial Not-for-hire Applicators and Operators: 1 year

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WORKER PROTECTION STANDARD (WPS) FAQS

How does it work?

  • $159 will train your whole staff for a year (up to 25 employees)
  • Training can be completed as often as needed for up to 25 employees
  • Employees can watch the video course individually or all at once
  • Certificates will be available for each worker at the end of the course

Who is an agricultural worker?

An agricultural worker is anyone who works in a field that has been sprayed with pesticides within the last 30 days or does high-contact agricultural tasks such as weeding, moving irrigation equipment, pruning and harvesting. Workers DO NOT handle pesticides.

Who is a handler?

A handler is anyone who:

  • Assists with applications
  • Mixes, loads or transfers pesticides into application equipment
  • Cleans, repairs or maintains application equipment
  • Works on equipment that has been used to mix, load or apply pesticides
  • Disposes of pesticides or materials with pesticides on them
  • Acts as a flagger
  • Performs tasks as a crop adviser
  • Applies pesticides

Which establishments are required to provide Worker Protection Standard Training?

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) applies to all establishments involved in growing, producing, or maintaining for sale agricultural plants (including ornamental plants).

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Nurseries, garden centers, or other similar operations where plants are maintained for sale (retail or wholesale)
  • All crop producing farms
  • Dairy farms that produce hay for cattle
  • Forestry operations
  • Golf courses that produce their own sod
  • Public park operations that produce their own plants
  • Prisons that have "Prison Farms" where agricultural plants are produced and the prisoners are employed as workers or handlers
  • The WPS also applies to any establishment operating as a commercial pesticide handling establishment that applies WPS-labeled pesticide products on agricultural establishments or provides crop advising services for an agricultural establishment

Which pesticide applicators are covered by the Worker Protection Standard?

Most establishments covered by the WPS are crop producing farms, forest operations or nurseries. WPS also covers family owned agricultural operations even if only family members handle and work around pesticides. Essentially, WPS applies to any entity that grows, maintains or produces agricultural plants.

The following facilities or operations that are not generally recognized as traditional agricultural production establishments are covered by the rule if they use WPS-labeled pesticide products:

  • Nurseries, garden centers or other similar operations
  • Dairy farms if they produce hay for cattle feed
  • Golf courses that produce sod or ornamentals for their course
  • Public parks or privately-held ornamental garden operations that produce ornamental plants
  • Theme parks, hotels or other entertainment operations that produce ornamentals for their locations
  • Prisons that have "prison farms" where plants are produced by employed prisoners
  • University extension agricultural research facilities that conduct research on agricultural plants
  • Educational classes or vocational agriculture programs where plant production is completed by students and students receive compensation or reduced tuition
  • Pine straw harvesting/production operations
  • Government-owned or managed agricultural operations

The WPS also applies to any entity operating as a commercial pesticide handling establishment applying or advising the application of WPS-labeled pesticide products on agricultural commodities.

What does Worker Protection Standard require?

Educate

All employers must provide EPA approved pesticide training for workers and handlers. Employers must also provide access to specific information including: applications on the establishment, safety data sheets for pesticides applied on establishment, and display a poster with pesticide safety and emergency information.

Caution

Employers must keep workers and others out of areas where pesticides are being applied and away from equipment during applications. Handlers must stop application if workers or others are near equipment during applications. Workers must stay out of areas that are under a restricted-entry interval (REI). All early-entry workers on the job in in pesticide-treated areas during REI must be trained in the correct usage of personal protective equipment. Any handlers using highly toxic pesticides must be monitored. Personal protective equipment must be provided and monitored by employers.

Mitigate

The Worker Protection Standard course will train handlers and workers on supply decontamination and emergency assistance including transportation in the case of a pesticide-related accident.

More information on the Worker Protection Standard requirements and how to comply can be found here.

When is Worker Protection Standard required?

As of January 2nd, 2017 employers are required to train workers and handlers annually before pesticide application.

What has changed with Worker Protection Standards?

  • Full training for workers and handlers is now required annually (every year).
  • No grace period for training. Workers must be trained before they work in an area where pesticide has been used or an REI has been in effect in the past 30 days.
  • Handlers are no longer able to be the qualified person available during the training.
  • Expanded training content requirements.
  • Establishments must keep records of training for 2 years and provide records to workers and handlers if requested.
  • Handlers and early entry workers must be at least 18 years old.

Which Pesticides are included under the Worker Protection Standards?

The Worker Protection Standard covers both general and restricted use pesticide that are used in the production of agricultural plants, these products will generally have an "Agricultural Use Requirements" section on the product label. The WPS applies whenever a pesticide is used in the production of agricultural plants on an agricultural establishment that has an “Agricultural Use Requirements” section on the product label.

How can I contact the EPA with Worker Protection Standard questions?

Mike Goodis

goodis.michael@epa.gov

703-308-8157

Who is required to complete WPS training?

Employers at agricultural establishments and commercial pesticide handling establishments such as farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses.

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CORE EXAM PREP FAQS

What do I have to know to pass the Core Applicator Exam?

  • Up-to-date pest management information and your responsibilities as an applicator
  • Six general pest management methods and their application
  • "Integrated Pest Management (IPM)" solutions defined
  • Simplified federal pesticide laws and regulations that you will understand
  • "Restricted use" vs. "general use" pesticides
  • Learn to build an organized record keeping system
  • Pesticide label explanations for proper identification and use
  • Understand pesticide formulation and its effects
  • Common abbreviations for pesticide formulations (e.g. WP or RUP)
  • Typical symptoms of pesticide exposure in humans and harmful effects
  • Hazard level classification including corresponding signal words
  • Complete guide to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Clear understanding of environmental effects of pesticides
  • Proper transportation, storage and security of pesticides
  • Emergency response and how to react
  • Choosing the proper pesticide and correct application procedures
  • Practice exam to test your knowledge

Who should take this online video course?

Anyone who is preparing to become a commercial or private pesticide applicator and plans on taking the National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Exam. This course will give you everything you need to know to pass the exam on your first try. It is also an awesome tool for pesticide applicators who would like to refresh their knowledge or need to complete CEUs*.

*Please check with your state for current continuing education requirements.

This is the most thorough online pesticide exam prep available!

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CERTIFIED CROP ADVISER (CCA) FAQS

What is a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA)?

The CCA certification was established by the American Society of Agronomy in 1992 to provide a benchmark for practicing agronomy professionals in the United States and Canada.

Who should become a Certified Crop Adviser?

Any adviser/consultant that spends the majority of their time advising growers or farm managers/operators on agronomic practices and can meet the standards of the program. Being certified adds credibility and shows that you are serious about what you do.

How do I become a Certified Crop Adviser?

  1. Pass two exams (International and Local Board)
  2. Meet the experience requirements
  3. Apply for the CCA Credential

What are the minimum experience requirements for becoming a Certified Crop Adviser?

  • Have at least two years of experience with at least a Bachelor of Science Degree in an agronomy related field
    (Please keep in mind that University degrees and transcripts must be in English and based on the United States educational standard. If you need assistance in the translation process, you may use Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. or World Education Services)
    *The number of CCAs with at least a Bachelor of Science Degree is greater than 70%

     
  • Have at least three years of experience with an Associates Degree in an agronomy related field
     
  • Have at least four years of experience with no degree

How do I apply to become a Certified Crop Adviser?

  1. Document education and crop advising experience (Including transcripts and supporting references)
  2. Sign and agree to uphold the CCA Code of Ethics (Included in application)

Once I become a Certified Crop Adviser, how do I maintain my certification?

  1. Earn 40 hours of continuing education units every 2 years
  2. Pay an annual renewal fee

How long is my Certified Crop Adviser certification valid?

2 years: your certification will expire December 31st two years after your initial certification date.

For example: if you became a CCA on any day between January 1st, 2018-December 31st, 2018--your expiration date would be December 31st, 2020.

Are your continuing education courses approved for CCA CEU Credit by the American Society of Agronomy?

Yes, many of our courses are approved by the American Society of Agronomy Board. On the state pages, the course description will say “Approved for Certified Crop Adviser Credit”.

As a Certified Crop Adviser, am I required to take continuing education units in certain areas or topics?

Yes, the continuing education units you complete must fall within certain topic guidelines. The topic breakdown is as follows:

In each two year cycle, a CCA must complete a minimum of 5 CEUs in each of the 4 categories.

The categories are Nutrient Management, Soil and Water Management, Integrated Pest Management, and Crop Management.

At least 20 of the 40 total CEUs must be board approved.

Can I use your courses for credit for CCA continuing education requirements as well as my state licensing recertification requirements?

Yes, absolutely! Any course that is approved for Certified Crop Adviser Credit can also be used for state pesticide applicator continuing education credits.

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