University of Illinois Extension
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Pesticide Safety Education Program

Operators (Commercial and Commercial Not-for-Hire)


An operator is a person who uses pesticides at the job site. The operator is tied directly to the applicator's license. The operator cannot be licensed without an applicator being properly licensed. The operator can apply pesticides only under the direct supervision of the applicator and can apply pesticides only to areas covered by the applicator's license.

Supervision and direction of operators by an applicator is interpreted to mean that the applicator must be in daily contact with the operators. If the applicator is out of town or not available, the operator may not legally apply pesticides. An operator may not legally work for another applicator.

Operator Licensing Requirements

  1. Be employed and supervised by a currently licensed applicator.
  2. Pass the 100-question General Standards Exam or Aerial General Standards Exam.
  3. Commercial operators must pay a $40 annual license fee.
  4. Commercial not-for-hire and public operators must pay a $15 annual license fee.
  5. Training for the general standards exam is offered by the University of Illinois Extension on the first day of each clinic listed in the brochure.