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 — Please call your local Extension office for training dates in your area, and to preregister.
  2. Online private self-study program — Register here to take our online Private Pesticide Applicator Training program. Obtain certification or recertification for a private applicator license.
  3. Private applicator exam

Getting started with the online private applicator training

Private Applicator Recordkeeping Resources — A collection of forms and information to help private applicators track their farm operations, keep their employees safe, and comply with federal regulations.

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 should prepare before taking their certification exam(s). Currently available exam preparation options are:

  • Initial training sessions: Attending an initial training session, in combination with our print manuals (see next bullet point), is a great way to prepare for applicator exams.
    • Print Manuals: Our traditional exam preparation tools, these hardcopy manuals can be ordered online with a credit card and are mailed to you.
  • 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 plan to attend an initial training session, you will have the opportunity to take your exams at the session. Otherwise, you can attend a testing-only session or take the exams through Pearson VUE computerized testing service.


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 in-person 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.

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.

Math for Pesticide Applicators New
It's never a bad time to brush up on your applicator math, especially if you're preparing for an applicator exam. These resources are meant to help.