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Licensing to Apply Pesticides to Lawns, Trees and Ornamentals

Applicators who want to apply any pesticides (regardless of use classification) to plants, trees, shrubs, grass or other horticultural plants for hire must be licensed by either the Texas Department of Agriculture 3A ag category or the Structural Pest Control Service (SPCS), formerly the Structural Pest Control Board but now part of TDA. Applicators who apply only fertilizer do not need to be licensed by either agency.

To license with TDA, applicators will certify as either commercial or noncommercial. Commercial applicators apply restricted-use and state-limited-use pesticides or regulated herbicides for hire. Applicators who will apply only general-use pesticides (those that can be purchased over the counter without a license) need a noncommercial license. 

SPCS applicators follow a different set of laws and regulations than the agricultural applicators.  For more information, phone (512) 305-8250 or 866-918-4481.  

Licensing Requirements

Applicants for a commercial applicator license in this category must:

  1. Pass the TDA general, laws and regulations, and ornamental and turf pest control exams;
  2. Provide the required certification of financial responsibility in the amount of $100,000 property damage and $100,000 bodily injury per occurrence or aggregate coverage of $200,000;
  3. Submit an application with a nonrefundable fee of $200;
  4. Not have been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude in the last five years; and
  5. Submit or have employer submit an Applicator Business Registration.

Applicants for a noncommercial applicator license in this category must:

  1. Pass the TDA general, laws and regulations, and ornamental and turf pest control exams;
  2. Submit application with $140 fee.

Exam Preparation

Study materials for license exams may be purchased from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. You may obtain order form D-1405 from a county Extension office or:
Extension Agricultural and Environmental Safety Program
P.O. Drawer FS,
College Station, Texas 77841
Phone: (979)845-1099
Fax: (979)845-6251

You need to order the following extension publications: B-5060 (general study manual), B-5056 (TDA laws/regulations study manual), B-5066 (ornamental and turf study manual).


TDA has partnered with PSI Services LLC to administer TDA agricultural pesticide applicator exams. Applicants for a license will complete an application and submit license fees to TDA.  After they receive an account number from TDA, they will be able to go to PSI’s web site or call 800-733-9267 and register for the test at one of 22 locations. 

Please see the information pages for complete information about how to obtain a license.             
    Commercial/Noncommercial/Noncommercial Political Subdivision


The license expires annually on the anniversary date on which it was issued or renewed.

Recertification Requirements

Licensed commercial and noncommercial applicators are required to recertify every year by obtaining five continuing education credits; with one credit each from two of the following categories: laws and regulations, integrated pest management or drift minimization.

TDA offices and information

For additional information, contact your nearest TDA office or write:
Pesticide Certification and Training
Texas Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 12847
Austin, Texas 78711
For the hearing impaired: Relay Texas: 1-800-735-2988 (voice); 1-800-735-2989 (TDD)