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Pesticide Safety Education Program

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

Updated: 10/5/20

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) were cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-2020 clinic season.

For those planning to attend a regularly scheduled clinic in the 2020-2021 season:  Please see this announcement for training and testing options.

For those currently licensed, but needing to retest:  The Illinois Department of Agriculture extended licenses that expired on December 31, 2019 until December 31, 2020.  

For those who are unlicensed and would like to become an operator for the remainder of 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 to become a licensed applicator for the remainder of 2020:  All in-person testing is currently 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.  However, testing for the 2021 year will be available soon.  This “early” testing would provide licensure for the remainder of 2020 as well.  More information can be found here.  

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 prior to Nov. 1, the Private Applicator course online can serve as a substitute.  **A new workbook created for this purpose in English only is now available.**  Registration and a fee are required.  For more information, visit  After Nov. 1, a new General Standards training will be available.  More information can be found here.

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.

Please consult the University of Illinois PSEP Facebook Page for up-to-date information regarding training and testing