University of Illinois Extension
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Pesticide Safety Education Program

Applicators (Commercial and Commercial Not-for-Hire)


An applicator is the person(s) in an organization who has the responsibility for all pesticide purchasing, storage, handling, and use. Each organization must have at least one person licensed as an applicator at each facility location. The applicator's license categories dictate the areas in which a company may legally apply pesticides. An applicator is usually an owner, a supervisor, or a foreman. An applicator may use pesticides or supervise the use of pesticides by that person's licensed operators. 

Applicator Licensing Requirements

  1. Pass the 100-question General Standards Exam or Aerial General Standards Exam. 
  2. Pass one or more 50-question Category exams. Category selection depends on the sites where the company uses pesticides.
  3. Commercial applicators must pay a $60 annual fee and provide a certificate of insurance with proper coverage. The insurance requirements will be sent with your application.
  4. Commercial not-for-hire and public applicators must pay a $20 annual license fee and no certification of insurance is required.
  5. Training for the general standards exam and several category exams is offered by University of Illinois Extension as indicated in the brochure.