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


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.


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


CERTIFIED CROP ADVISER 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

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 approved courses 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, 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 re-certification 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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