A private pesticide applicator is someone who uses or supervises the use of restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticides or regulated herbicides to produce an agricultural commodity on:
- Personally owned property;
- Rented property;
- Property owned by his or her employer;
- Property under his or her general control; or
- The property of another person if applied without compensation, other than the trading of personal services between producers of agricultural commodities.
An agricultural commodity is a plant or animal grown for sale, lease, barter, feed or human consumption and animals raised for farm or ranch work. No license is required to apply general-use pesticides to produce agricultural commodities.
Individuals who want a private applicator license must:
- attend a private applicator training program offered by Texas AgriLife Extension Service (Extension) or a private entity approved by TDA;
- pass the TDA private applicator exam; and
- purchase a license.
The private applicator license fee is $60. A private applicator license expires on the fifth anniversary of the date on which it was issued or renewed.
TDA approves Extension and certain private entities to conduct private applicator training. Contact your County Extension Agent or TDA Regional office for training information. A proof of training form is given to those who complete the course. Some training courses are listed here.
The Private Applicator Manual and pesticide laws and regulations may be ordered for a small fee from:
Extension Agricultural and Environmental Safety Program
P.O. Drawer FS,
College Station, Texas 77841
Order forms are available from your county extension office.
TDA testing is available at some Extension training sessions. Individuals may also take the private applicator test during regular monthly test days at TDA Regional and satellite offices. Please call ahead to make sure space is available. Be sure to present your training form.
Applicants for a license:
- Must be able to read and comprehend the subject matter in English -- no tests are given orally;
- Must obtain a passing grade of 70 percent on the 100 question test;
- Are not charged testing fees; and
- Must successfully complete training and testing, then submit an application for a license along with the nonrefundable fee.
Licensed private applicators are required to recertify every five years by obtaining 15 continuing education credits, including two (2) credits in laws and regulations and two (2) credits in integrated pest management (IPM), prior to expiration of the license. Contact TDA for a list of approved courses. A list of courses is also available on TDA's web site.
Private applicators may earn the required credits by passing the recertification exam that includes questions on information covered in continuing education courses. If an applicator passes the exam, a certificate of completion for 15 CEUs will be issued. The exam costs $50 per attempt.
TDA Pest Control Categories
Licensed private applicators are certified to make and supervise applications of restricted-use and state-limited-use pesticides and regulated herbicides in the following categories and subcategories:
1. Agricultural Pest Control
A. Field Crop Pest Control
B. Fruit, Nut and Vegetable Pest Control
C. Weed & Brush Control in pasture and rangeland
D. Predatory Animal Control
E. Farm Storage Pest Control and Fumigation
F. Animal Pest Control
G. Citrus Pest Control
H. Livestock Protection Collar Application
2. Forest Pest Control
3. Ornamental Plant and Turf Pest Control
A. Plant Pest & Weed Control
B. Greenhouse Pest Control
4. Seed Treatments
6. Aquatic Pest Control
A. Aquatic Plant and Animal Pest Control
9. Aerial Appliction
11. Chlorine gas
Applicators who want to be certified in M-44, livestock protection collar and aerial application categories must complete additional requirements.
Private Applicator Recordkeeping Requirements
Pesticide Applicator Recordkeeping Form (a word version is also available on the forms page)