How Do I Get My Pesticide License?

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Tractor in a peanut field

Anyone who wishes to apply restricted-use pesticides (Grazon, Prowl, etc.) requires certification through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). Certification is given after applicatants pass an exam(s). What type of exam and how many you take depends on what type of pesticide license you would like to have. There are two categories for certification and licensing:

  1. PRIVATE APPLICATORS – those who only apply pesticides only on their property.
  2. COMMERCIAL APPLICATORS – those who can make custom applications for others on property they do not own.

To get your Private Applicators license you must pay $10 to take a 50 question exam which can be taken up to 3 times a year. Once you have passed the exam, you will then be a certified applicator for 3 years with a recertification fee of $10 every 3 years.

Getting your Commercial Applicators license is not only more rigorous, but there are several different subcategories (view a full list). No matter which commercial subcategory you would like to be certified in, you will first need to pass a 100 question core exam. It is highly recommended to study the NC Pesticide Applicator Core Manual before taking the exam. The Core Manual mail order form can be found Google Drive or purchased online.

NCDA&CS offers the pesticide applicator exams year-round. View the pesticide exam schedule and register online for the exam.

If you have any question, please contact the Nash County office at (252) 459-9810 or via email at