Certification and Training

Private Applicator — A licensed applicator who uses any restricted use pesticide (RUP) for purposes of producing any agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by him/her or his/her employer, or to apply on the property of another person without compensation (other than trading of personal services between producers of agricultural commodities).


Private applicator certification options are:

  1. Private Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) sessions — View the Private PSEP schedule of dates for certification/recertification training (sort by clicking on county, date, time, etc., on the black bar at the top of the schedule).
  2. Online private self-study program
  3. Direct examination — To inquire about taking a private applicator exam, administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), contact NDA at 402-471-2351.

Private Record Keeping Form (PDF 61 KB) — Private applicators can print this form and use it to keep records of RUP and GUP applications.

My current pesticide license status — Check to see if you are listed in the applicator database operated by NDA, or contact NDA at 402-471-2351.

Search for registered pesticides in Nebraska — NDA database of pesticides registered for use in Nebraska.

Commercial Applicator — A licensed applicator who uses any restricted use pesticide (RUP) on a contractual or “for hire” basis. Commercial applicator shall also include any person using restricted or general use pesticides “for hire” or compensation for lawn care, structural pest control, or community-wide outdoor vector control.

Noncommercial Applicator — A licensed applicator who applies RUPs only on lands owned or controlled by his/her employer or for a governmental agency or subdivision of the state. Also, a licensed applicator who applies either general or restricted use pesticides to control mosquitoes on behalf of a political subdivision of the state.


Initial Certification

Those seeking a license for the first time, or whose license has expired, must pass the NDA-administered General Standards exam, plus the exam for each applicator category needed.

Those seeking to add an applicator category to their existing license must pass that category's exam.

(Jump to Recertification)

List of Commercial/Noncommercial Categories (PDF 57 KB)

Preparing for exams

Potential applicators need to study before taking their certification exam(s). Currently available exam preparation options are:

  • FlipBooks: Our FlipBooks are enhanced digital versions of our traditional print manuals, and most also include the video training presented at our in-person training sessions. Internet access is required to use FlipBooks.

    FlipBooks offer significant cost–savings over traditional pesticide training. For example: A new applicator who needs to get certified in the Aquatic Pest Control (05) category could either:
    • Purchase the General Standards FlipBook ($60) and the Aquatic Pest Control FlipBook ($50). Total FlipBook training cost: $110; or
    • Purchase the General Standards print manual ($30), the Aquatic Pest Control print manual ($20), and attend an in-person training session ($80). Total traditional training cost: $130
    Try these FlipBooks for free!

Taking exams

If you have purchased FlipBooks, you will need to take your exams after you have studied the material. Due to the need for social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all exam opportunities have been halted. If you have any questions about taking exams, please contact NDA at 402-471-2351.


Recertification

Those whose license expires on April 15 must attend recertification training to renew their license for three years.

The following options are offered for recertification training:

  1. Recertification training sessions: These sessions are offered in February and March, and are available for most applicator categories*.
  2. Extension- or industry-sponsored meetings with recertification opportunities:

*If you need to recertify in a category for which no recertification sessions are available, you will need to retake the General Standards exam and category exam in order to recertify.

Check current pesticide license status — Are you listed in the applicator database operated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA)? Check online or contact NDA at 402-471-2351.

Search for registered pesticides in Nebraska — NDA database of pesticides registered for use in Nebraska.

The chemigation certification program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), and can be found on this UNL Water page.

On June 3, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the registrations of XtendiMax®, FeXapan™, and Engenia®. The Court did not vacate the registration of Tavium®.

On June 8, 2020, the EPA issued a cancellation order that outlines limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products can be used for a limited period of time. Key details of this order are:

  • Distribution or sale [of the three products] by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant[s].
  • Growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks [of the three products] that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product's previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020.

Dicamba-specific training must still be completed prior to using any of these products. Please visit the following pages for full details:

PLEASE NOTE: Dicamba training taken in 2019 does not carry over to 2020.

See also:

2020 FAQ for RUP Dicamba Herbicides (FeXapan™, Engenia®, XtendiMax® and Tavium®)

Applicators need to be aware that a Certified Applicator Training requirement will begin appearing on paraquat product labels in the near future. Once this requirement appears on the label, licensed applicators will be required to pass a paraquat-specific training program in order to purchase or use (mix, load, apply, etc.) the product. An EPA-approved paraquat training program is now available.

Access the paraquat training

EPA is also requiring:

  • New closed-system packaging designed to prevent transfer or removal of the paraquat product except directly into proper application equipment.
  • Changes to the pesticide label and distribution of supplemental warning materials to highlight the toxicity and risks associated with paraquat products.
  • Restricting the use of paraquat to certified pesticide applicators only. Individuals working under the supervision of a certified applicator are prohibited from using paraquat.
17 paraquat deaths since 2000 due to illegal transfer to beverage containers

Additional Certification Resources

Reciprocal Certification with Nebraska
Persons who live outside of Nebraska may obtain a license from NDA if they hold valid credentials from a state, agency, or tribe that NDA has a reciprocal agreement with.

Applicator Certification Plan in Indian Country
EPA certifies Private and Commercial applicators to legally apply restricted use pesticides in Indian Country.