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Pesticide Safety Education Program

COVID-19 Effects on Illinois Pesticide Applicator Training, Testing, and Licensing

The impact of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to create uncertainty and concern both globally and here in our community. Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the University of Illinois has implemented social-distancing protocols that impact all university events. Illinois Extension, as the outreach program of the university, aligns with all policies related to public health and safety.

The Pesticide Applicator Training and Testing Clinics jointly administered by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) and University of Illinois Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) are cancelled for the remainder of the clinic season (through May). Refunds will be issued as soon as possible.

For those currently licensed, but needing to retest:  The Illinois Department of Agriculture will extend licenses that expired on December 31, 2019 until December 31, 2020.  If license verification is required, contact IDA at or (217) 785-2427. 

For those who are unlicensed and would like to become an operator for 2020:  Due to the special circumstance, non-certified applicators (operators) will not have a testing requirement for the remainder of 2020. Operators must continue to work under the direction of a certified applicator and receive general pesticide training. The supervising applicator must be certified in each category applicable to the pesticide use.  A training option is this video, Agricultural Worker and Handler Pesticide Safety Training at

For those NOT currently licensed and still needing to test in either General Standards or any category:  All in-house testing has been suspended.  IDA is offering online testing for a limited number of exam categories.  To request and register for an exam, please carefully follow the instructions at  Please note that these exams are being offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  IDA has stated that all individuals who take an online exam to receive a temporary license will be required to re-test in 2021.   

For those who still have licensing and testing questions:  Please consult IDA’s FAQ site at

For those who need training: PSEP offers several online trainings that can be used for individual study. For those preparing for the General Standards exam, the Private Applicator course online can serve as a substitute.  **A new workbook created for this purpose in English only is now available.**  Registration is required and the fee is $15.  For more information, visit

For those who need study materials:  Manuals and workbooks are available for order at Shipping delays will likely occur due to the shelter in place mandate and restrictions in campus mailing.  We are currently unable to accept publication orders through the Pesticide Safety Education Program's website.

Training and testing opportunities will be available at a later time, once stay at home restrictions are lifted.  We are already starting on the 20-21 training and testing season schedule.  Please consult the University of Illinois PSEP Facebook Page for up-to-date information regarding training and testing