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Private Pesticide Applicator

Part 1. General Information
Part 2. Private Applicator Certification
Part 3. Recertification of Private Applicators

Part 1. General Information

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, and nurserymen.

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, etc.

If you are not sure whether you are classified as a private or commercial applicator, call the Department at (609) 984-6568.

NOTE: To make changes to personal information associated with a current license, including updates to the home address, please submit License Change Form VPC-004 to

Part 2. 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 through Rutgers from your County Cooperative Extension Office or at

The exam is a closed book exam. There is a 1 hour 45 minute time limit for taking the exam. Visit the Exam Sign-Up page for detailed sign-up instructions.

Once you have passed the exam, you will automatically receive a licensing invoice in the mail. There is no fee charged for the Private Certified Pesticide Applicator license. To receive a copy of your license you must process the invoice online:

The license will be valid for a minimum of 5 years, at which point another $0 invoice will generate. Make sure to process invoices online to ensure your license remains active.  Delays in processing could lead to loss of certification status. If this occurs the Applicator will need to pass the exams again to become certified again.

Part 3. Recertification of Private Pesticide Applicators

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 NJ 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 specific pesticides.

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 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 you are not eligible for recertification you will not receive this notice. Visit our Online Reports to check your license recertification status and credit transcript.

If there are any questions on the certification program for Private Pesticide Applicators, please call the PCP at (609) 984-6568.

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Last Updated: August 8, 2022