Cannot be complacent about certification of applicators
“In Virginia, with limited exceptions, any person who uses or supervises the use of any pesticide in exchange for compensation of any kind must be certified as a commercial applicator,” said Liza Fleeson, program manager for the Office of Pesticide Services, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “In addition, private applicators who apply restricted use pesticides for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity, on property owned or leased by them or their employer, must be certified.”
Certified applicators must understand their own state’s certification and recertification requirements, as well as the types of certification (commercial, private, etc.) and certification categories available. If certified applicators apply pesticides in multiple states, they must know what other states, if any, recognize their state’s certified applicator status for the specific category of use.
Here are a few examples of state-level certification and training requirements:
- New York certifies individuals as commercial pesticide applicators, private pesticide applicators and commercial pesticide technicians. Commercial pesticide technicians apply restricted use pesticides under the supervision of a commercial applicator and, with additional training and/or experience, can become commercial pesticide applicators themselves.
- Some states require that certain pesticide businesses have their own registered technician training program. In Kansas, every pesticide business that applies pesticides to control wood-destroying, structural, ornamental, turf or interior landscape pests is required to have a registered technician training program for any uncertified applicators they employ.
- Some states require certification of everyone applying a pesticide (restricted or general use) in certain categories. For example, Wisconsin requires certification of anyone who applies or directs the use of pesticides in public schools, on school grounds or in aquatic environments.
More than 40 states post their lists of currently certified commercial and private applicators on the Web. Depending on the type and category of applicator, many states require additional training and/or recertification after a specified timeframe.
Comprehensive training by the Pesticide Safety Education Program and other approved entities is essential prior to the initial certification and recertification of pesticide applicators by state regulatory agencies. “Proper pesticide use is continually impacted by new research, new products and new pest management best practices,” Fleeson noted. “Pesticide safety education programs are integral to the ongoing competency of certified pesticide applicators and must be sufficiently funded and staffed.”