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Pesticide Licensing

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Checklist: Pesticide Licensing

  • A Massachusetts Pesticide License issued by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is required in Agriculture when an individual is going to use a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP).  If an individual is using a General Use Pesticide, then he/she does not need to have a pesticide license.  However, that individual would need to be trained as a handler to comply with the Worker Protection Standard.
  • An individual making a restricted use pesticide application for greenhouse crop production, would need to obtain a Private Certification License. 
  • For information about how to obtain a Massachusetts pesticide license or certification contact the MDAR Pesticide Bureau at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/pesticides/ or call (617) 626-1785.
  • If needed, attend optional 2-day workshops held by the UMass Extension Pesticide Education program.  The workshops are designed to help individuals prepare for the pesticide applicator license exam.  Preregistration is required.  For information contact the UMass Extension Pesticide Education Program at http://www.umass.edu/pested/ or call (413) 545-1044.

Pesticide Licensing

“General use” pesticides are chemicals that can be purchased and used by the general public. “Restricted use pesticides” are chemicals that can be purchased and used only by certified and licensed pesticide applicators.

A Massachusetts Pesticide License issued by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is required in Agriculture when an individual is going to use a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP).  If an individual is using a General Use Pesticide, then he/she does not need to have a pesticide license.  However, that individual would need to be trained as a handler to comply with the Worker Protection Standard.

In greenhouse production, the individual making the Restricted Use Pesticide Application would need to obtain a Private Certification License.  There are several categories associated with this type of license and the individual would need to pick the appropriate category depending on the type of Agriculture facility.  For example an individual who is applying an RUP in a greenhouse would get a Private Certification License with a Category in Greenhouse (#26).

In accordance with the Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act and the current pesticide regulations, the MDAR conducts written examinations to measure competency to use, sell, and apply pesticides in Massachusetts.  Information about how to obtain a Massachusetts pesticide license or certification is available from the MDAR Pesticide Bureau Web site http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/pesticides/ or by calling (617) 626-1785.

Optional 2-day workshops by the UMass Extension Pesticide Education program are designed to help individuals prepare for the pesticide applicator license exam.  Preregistration is required. For information contact the UMass Extension Pesticide Education Program at http://www.umass.edu/pested/ or call (413) 545-1044.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Each year, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) receives numerous questions on the pesticide licensing requirements.  It is important to remember that the licensing requirements for Agriculture are different from the requirements for the commercial industry such as Structural Pest Control and/or Landscapers.  Below are some commonly asked questions about the Agriculture license requirements.

When do I need to get a Massachusetts Pesticide License?

 A Massachusetts Pesticide License is required in Agriculture when an individual is going to use a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP).  If an individual is using a General Use Pesticide, then he/she does not need to have a pesticide license.  However, that individual would need to be trained as a handler to comply with the Worker Protection Standard.

What kind of license is needed?

The individual making the Restricted Use Pesticide Application would need to obtain a Private Certification License.  There are several categories associated with this type of license and the individual would need to pick the appropriate category depending on the type of Agriculture facility.  For example an individual who is applying an RUP in a greenhouse would get a Private Certification License with a Category in Greenhouse (#26).

If I have a Private Certification license can I supervise someone without a license to make a Restricted Use Pesticide application?

No.  In order to “supervise” an RUP application, the individual making the application would need to have the Commercial Applicators License (commonly referred as the Core license).   This does not occur very often in Agriculture, because an individual without a license is able to take the Private Certification exam immediately without a two year waiting period. In other words, an application of an RUP cannot be done by someone without a license (supervised or not). 

How many credits do I need in order to maintain my license?

To maintain a Private Certification license, the license holder needs to obtain 12 Continuing Education Units (CEU) during their three year cycle.  It is also important to remember that an individual needs 12 credits for each category.  For example, if an individual has a Private Certification license with two categories (greenhouse & tree fruit) he/she would need 24 credits in total.

How do I know when my three year cycle resets?

When you receive your new license each year, you cycle is listed on the card the license come in.

Do I need to send in my CEU’s when I receive them?

No.  Hold onto your CEU’s and only send them into the Department if you receive an audit letter asking for them.

What is the “E-Licensing”?

E-Licensing will hopefully streamline and quicken the licensing process.  When complete, an individual will be able to do the following on line:

  • Sign up and pay for the exam
  • Check their license status
  • Renew license
  • Obtain a “temporary” two week license immediately after passing the test

I have heard that the Private Certification categories are changing is that true?

Yes. The Department along with the University of Massachusetts Extension Services is currently working on new study materials and new exams for the Private Certification Licenses.  This will also include combining some categories that are closely related and eliminating some categories that are no longer relevant. The Department will notify existing license holders of this change when it is complete.

If anyone has a question in regards to their license, please call the Department at (617) 626-1700 and ask for someone in the licensing division and someone will help you.

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