Wisconsin Online Pesticide Exam Scheduling

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the legal requirements for individuals that apply pesticides?

To legally apply any pesticide as a commercial applicator for hire, or restricted-use (RU) pesticides as a commercial applicator not for-hire, you must:

  • Receive training in the appropriate pesticide use category from UW-Extension's Pesticide Applicator Training Program;
  • Become certified in that category by passing a written certification exam administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDATCP); and,
  • Be licensed as an Individual Commercial Pesticide Applicator with WDATCP.


What commercial pest control category should I test in?

It depends on how you intend to use pesticide products. Visit the University of Wisconsin Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program website for more detailed information on pesticide applicator certification categories and to obtain training materials.

You must pass a written exam testing your practical knowledge and competency in each category or subcategory for which you seek certification.

Commercial Pest Control Categories
Field & Vegetable Crops
Fruit Crops
Livestock & Poultry
Turf & Landscape
Greenhouse & Nursery
Seed Treatment
Aquatic Pest Control
Antifouling Paints
Right-of-Way and Natural Areas
Structural Pest Control
Space & Commodity Fumigation
Termite Control
Wood Preservation
Sewer Root Control
Companion Animals
Mixer & Loader Certification
Commercial Pest Control Subcategories
Aerial Application
Soil Fumigation
26.0 Chemigation

I am certified in multiple categories. When one of my certifications expires do I have to recertify in all the categories, or only the expiring category?

You must recertify in all the categories. Individuals may certify in multiple applicator categories; however, note that 1) the 5-year certification length is based on the date of the initial category certification; and, 2) any additional category certifications will expire concurrently with the expiration of the initial certification. For example, in 2010 you certify in category 7.1, then in 2012 you certify in cateogry 3.0. In 2015, both the 7.1 and 3.0 certifications expire.

What is the difference between commercial for-hire pesticide applicators and commercial not for-hire pesticide applicators?

  • Commercial for-hire pesticide applicators are individuals who make contractual pesticide applications for which they or their employer receives compensation, e.g., employees of a lawn care firm or custom agricultural pesticide applicator.
  • Commercial not for-hire pesticide applicators are individuals who make non-agricultural applications to land or buildings they or their employer own or rent, and they receive no compensation other than their normal wages, e.g., a power plant employee who uses restricted-use pesticides for weed control on the utility company's property or rights-of-way. Commercial not for-hire applicators who use restricted-use pesticides must be licensed and certified. Those who only use non-restricted use pesticides (general use) in the course of their employment are not required by state law to become certified and licensed commercial pesticide applicators.

What if I hold a temporary Commercial Applicator Trainee Registration?

Trainee registration expires after 30 days, at which time you must take and pass the exam to continue using pesticides.


Is a training manual required?

Yes. You must bring the receipt for the training manual to the exam. The certification exams are based on the category-specific training manuals developed by the UW-Extension's Pesticide Applicator Training program. Exams are based on the current training manual. You will be at a disadvantage if you do not purchase and study the correct training manual edition.

How do I obtain a training manual?

Contact the University of Wisconsin's Pesticide Applicator Training Program at http://ipcm.wisc.edu/pat, or
call 608-262-7588.


When can I sign up to take the exam?

After you have received the training material, studied the information and are ready to take the exam. You must have a reservation to take the exam. Use this online system or call 608-224-4548.

How much does the exam cost?

There is no fee for taking an exam.

What should I bring to the exam?

  • Photo ID (e.g., driver's license)
  • Social Security number (not your Social Security card)
    • WDATCP will not issue you an exam without photo ID and SSN
  • Your training manual. Complete the training registration form in the inside cover
    • Do not remove the form until instructed to do so by the exam proctor
    • WDATCP cannot grade your exam until the form is collected. If the form is missing from your book you must purchase a new manual, unless you are retaking the exam due to a previous non-passing score.
  • Calculator. You may use a calculator for the exam; however, cell phone calculators, programmable calculators, or those with alphabet keypads are not permitted. Do not bring a calculator that must be connected to AC power.

How long do I have to take an exam?

90 minutes.

What type of exam is it?

The certification exam is approximately 70 multiple choice questions that cover a broad range of areas, including label and labeling comprehension, risks and safety measures, the environment, pests, pesticides, equipment, application techniques, laws and regulations, and topics specific to the appropriate pest control category. Exam questions are based on the corresponding training manual.

Are commercial applicator exams open book?


What is a passing score?

A minimum of 70% correct.

When will I know my test score?

Exams taken at WDATCP in Madison are graded immediately. Exams taken at other locations are graded within two weeks. WDATCP will mail results within 30 days after taking your exam. Contact WDATCP if you do not receive your exam results after 30 days.

What if I fail the exam?

If you fail your first exam, you may retake the exam after a 24-hour waiting period. Individuals failing a 2nd or 3rd retake exam must wait 30 days before testing again. If you fail the exam four times within a 6-month period, you must wait 6 months from the date of the last failed exam before taking the exam again. If you fail the exam WDATCP will send your exam score and instructions for scheduling a date to retake the exam. There are no fees for retesting.

How long is certification valid for?

Certification is valid for five years. All certification categories expire concurrently. You must recertify every five years by passing a new written examination, based on revised training materials. Upon passing the exam you will receive a certification card containing a unique six-digit number assigned to you.


Do I need anything besides certification before I apply pesticides?

Yes, both the individual applicator and the business must be licensed.

  • An Individual Commercial Applicator License is required in addition to certification for all commercial applicators for-hire using any pesticide, and all commercial not-for-hire pesticide applicators using restricted-use pesticides. Government employees and employees of public and private educational institutions must file an application, but are exempt from the license fee. Application materials are available at: http://datcp.wi.gov/Plants/Pesticides/Licenses/Commercial_Applicator_License/index.aspx
  • Any business that applies pesticides for payment must have a Commercial Pesticide Business Application License for each business location. This includes locations where orders for pesticide applications are regularly taken. If your business, or your employer, has never had this license, it is recommended that you or your employer submit the Commercial Pesticide Business Application License application and the Individual Commercial Pesticide Applicator application at the same time. This form is available at: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Licenses_Permits/Business.aspx