Licensing and Certification

Pesticides can be important tools which, in the hands of an informed applicator, offer many potential benefits. But pesticides can also pose risks if improperly used. Maine law requires many people who apply or sell pesticides to first obtain a license. The Board of Pesticides Control has the responsibility for licensing applicators and distributors to ensure pesticides are used properly and to protect the people and the environment of Maine.

 

Licenses administered by the Board (click on the name to get more information about each)

License

 

Brief Description

Agricultural Basic Applicator

 

For growers who annually sell more than $1,000 of plants or plant products intended for human consumption and who use only general-use (over-the-counter) pesticides on property owned or leased by them. These include:
  • Growers of fruits, vegetables, herbs and grains for human consumption;
  • Growers of the above crops who make bread, jam, french fries, wine, cider, juice, etc., or who sell produce to be processed into these products; and
  • Greenhouse growers selling fruit, vegetable and herb seedlings.
Private Applicator

 

 

For those wishing to purchase and use restricted-use, as well as general-use, pesticides in the production of agricultural commodities on property owned or leased by them.These typically include:
  • Farmers
  • Greenhouse and nursery operators
  • Orchardists
  • Christmas tree growers
  • Foresters
Commercial Applicator   For professionals using any pesticide in a variety of occupations. A commercial license is required in all of the following situations:
  • Application of any restricted-use pesticide for purposes other than producing an agricultural commodity;
  • Use of any pesticide as a service for which compensation is received. Examples include lawn and landscape care; tree and shrub care; and home pest control;
  • Use of any pesticide ina licensed food or eating establishment;
  • Use of any pesticide in connection with duties as an official or employee of federal, state or local government, including municipal agencies, schools, universities and housing authorities; and
  • Use of any pesticide on non-agricultural sites open to public use. property is considered open to use by the public when the owner permits routine access byt he public, even if a fee is charged for such use. Examples include office and apartment buildings and grounds; golf course, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities; hospitals and nursing homes; retail and commercial spaces.
Commercial Applicator—Operator   The minimum requirement for individuals employed as technicians under the supervision of a licensed master applicator. The operator license is in effect only if the employing company or organization has at least one licensed master applicator.

 

Commercial Applicator—Master   Required for one individual within each company, organization, branch office or agency. This license is for the person responsible for major pest management decisions, for establishing policies related to proper pesticide use and for employee training and overall work practices, gsnerally the owner, supervisor or manager.

 

General Use Pesticide Distributor    
Restricted Use Pesticide Distributor    

 

Applicator Certification and Licensing FAQs

 

Who needs to be licensed?

The need for a pesticide applicator license is determined by the types of pesticides applied and the circumstances under which the pesticides are applied.

The term pesticide covers a wide range of products. By definition, a pesticide is any naturally or synthetically derived substance used to kill, control or repel undesired insects, weeds, fungi, bacteria, mammals, birds, rodents or other organisms. Pesticide products that are approved for organic farming are also pesticides if they are used as described above. Consequently, these substances may include insecticides or bug sprays; herbicides, including weed killers like weed and feed and top killer products; fungicides or disease controls, rodenticides; deer repellents; defoliants; growth regulators, sanitizers; and disinfectants.

The BPC classifies all pesticides into three categories: general use pesticides, products available to the general public but requiring a license for some application; restricted use pesticides, chemicals for use and application only by licensed individuals; and limited use pesticides, products for use only by licensed applicators with a special BPC permit.

What is the difference between certification and licensing?

In order to become licensed in Maine, individuals must first earn certification, which shows proficiency in pest management, pesticide use and safety. This competence is demonstrated through successful completion of examinations. Licenses are issued to certified individuals once fees are paid and, if needed, insurance requirements are met. Certification is maintained by receiving approved continuing education training which is offered by BPC, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and industry and trade organizations. Certification periods are sometimes longer than license periods and are detailed below.

Types of licenses

The purpose for using a pesticide determines the type of license required. In Maine, pesticide licenses fall under three major categories: agricultural basic applicators, for pesticide use in agriculture or the production of other commodities using only general use pesticides; private applicators, for restricted and limited use pesticide application in agriculture or the production of other commodities; and commercial applicators, for any individual who uses any pesticides in public places (such as golf courses, campgrounds, apartment houses, hospitals and nursing homes) on a "for-hire" basis (for services such as lawn care, water damage restoration or mold remediation) or as a government employee. The BPC defines two levels of commercial license: operator and master.

Why bother to earn a license?

There are many sound reasons for having a license when using pesticides in any situation described here.

For one, it is the law!

For another, a license represents the level of knowledge needed to use pesticides in a manner that is responsible and effective.  Recertification credits further that competency, enabling the applicator to make the best pest control decisions based on the latest technology.  Certification also adds up to credibility that earns respect of fellow applicators and a positive image in the eyes of the general public.

On the other hand, unlicensed applicators invite a host of dangers to themselves, to their families and communities, and to the environment for which there is neither ethical nor legal defense.

If pesticides are important to your profession, an applicator is an important part of showing that you are, indeed, a professional.

Agricultural Basic Pesticide Applicator License Details

An agricultural basic pesticide applicator license is required for fruit, vegetable and grain growers who use only general use (over-the-counter) pesticides and annually sell more than $1,000 of plants or plant products intended for human consumption.

How to get an agricultural basic license

To obtain an agricultural basic pesticide applicator license, the candidate must pass one written, closed book examination. The test is called the Core Exam and covers general pesticide information. The passing score is 80%. Once the exam is passed, the candidate is certified for three years and is eligible for a license. Licenses are obtained by submitting an application for an agricultural basic pesticide applicator license and $15 to the BPC.

Core exams are offered through county offices of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMCE). Applicants should call the BPC, telephone 207-287-2731, or e-mail gary.fish@maine.gov to confirm licensing needs and testing location. The BPC strongly urges use of self-help study materials available for purchase through UMEXT's Pest Management Office, 491 College Avenue, Orono, Maine 04473-1295; telephone 800-287-0279 or, outside Maine, 207-581-3880; or e-mail donald.barry@maine.edu; or go to UMCE's training manual Web pages.

Staying certified

Pesticide use is a rapidly changing technology. New products, application methods, safety standards and regulations are introduced every year. To update applicators regularly, the BPC requires three hours of approved continuing education training in order to renew the license. The BPC assigns and records credit for attending courses offered by itself, UMCE, industry and trade organizations. Credit is also accepted for attending out-of-state sessions.

AGRICULTURAL BASIC

C e r t i f i c a t i o n

Type of exam

1 written (Core exam)

Where do I get study material?

Core manual:
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Pesticide Applicator Training Manuals
1-800-287-0279
207-581-3880
UCTV online has programs that can help you prepare. Understanding Pesticides Part I and II

Where do I take my exam?

Any county Cooperative Extension Office by arrangement.
Call BPC at 207-287-2731 for information.

Exam fee

None

Certification expiration

3 years (same as license)

Required recertification credits

3 over the 3 year certification period

L i c e n s i n g

License fee

$15

License expiration

3 years (expiring 10/31 of the third year)

 

Private Pesticide Applicator License Details

A private license is necessary for anyone who wishes to purchase, apply or supervise application of a restricted or limited use pesticide with the intent of producing a commodity. These pesticides may be used only on property owned, leased or rented by the licensee or licensee's employer. Typical private license holders include farmers, greenhouse operators, florists, orchardists, Christmas tree growers and foresters.

How to get a private applicator license

To obtain a private license, the candidate must pass two written, closed book examinations. The first, called a Core Exam, covers general pesticide information. The second, a Commodity Exam measures knowledge of pest management practices for a given crop or crop family. Once the exams are passed, the candidate is eligible for a license. The passing score is 80%. Licenses are obtained by submitting an application for private license and $15 to the BPC.

Private exams are offered through county offices of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMCE). Applicants should call the BPC, telephone 207-287-2731, or e-mail gary.fish@maine.gov to confirm licensing needs and testing location. The BPC strongly urges use of self-help study materials available for purchase through UMEXT's Pest Management Office, 491 College Avenue, Orono, Maine 04473-1295; telephone 800-287-0279 or, outside Maine, 207-581-3880; e-mail donald.barry@maine.edu; or go to UMCE's training manual Web pages.

Staying certified

Pesticide use is a rapidly changing technology. New products, application methods, safety standards and regulations are introduced every year. To update applicators regularly, the BPC requires six hours of approved continuing education training in order to renew the private license. The BPC assigns and records credit for attending courses offered by itself, UMCE, industry and trade organizations. Credit is also accepted for attending out-of-state sessions.

All private licensees, regardless of commodity, are required to obtain six recertification credits in order to renew their license every three years.

PRIVATE

Certification

Type of exams

2 written (Core and Primary Commodity exams)

Where do I get study materials?

Core and Commodity manuals:
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Pesticide Applicator Training Manuals
1-800-287-0279
207-581-3880
UCTV online has programs that can help you prepare. Understanding Pesticides Part I and II

Where do I take my exams?

Any county Cooperative Extension Office by arrangement.
Call BPC at 207-287-2731 for information.

Exam fees

None

Exam pass policy

Examinees must pass both the core and commodity exam within one year. If an applicant only passes one of the required exams within one year, the examinee must retake and successfully complete all exams, even those previously passed, before qualifying for certification.

Certification expiration

3 years (same as license)

Required recertification credits

6 over the 3 year certification period

Licensing

License fee

$15

License expiration

3 years (expiring 10/31 of the third year)

 

Commercial Applicator License Details

A commercial license is required for any one of the following situations:

  • Application of any restricted/limited use pesticide for purposes other than producing an agricultural commodity
  • Use of any pesticide as a service for which compensation is received. Examples include lawn and landscape care; water damage restoration; mold remediation; tree and shrub care; and home pest control.
  • Use of any pesticide on sites open to public use. Property is considered open to use by the public when the owner permits routine access by the public, even if a fee is charged for such use. Examples include office and apartment buildings and grounds; golf courses, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities; hospitals and nursing homes; retail and commercial spaces.
  • Use of any pesticide in a licensed food or eating establishment.
  • Use of any pesticide by a government employee as part of their job duties. Government employees include but are not limited to school, town, county, housing authority, water district, State, Federal and Defense officials.

The commercial applicator/operator certification is the minimum license requirement for individuals employed as technicians under supervision of a licensed master applicator. The operator's license is in effect only if the employing company or organization has at least one licensed master applicator.

The commercial applicator/master certification is required for one individual within each company, organization or agency and at every branch office of that company. This license is generally intended for the owner, supervisor or manager as long as it is the person responsible for major pest control decisions, for establishing policies related to proper pesticide use, and for employee training and overall work practices.

How to earn a commercial license certification

Persons wishing to obtain either level of commercial applicator certification must pass two or more written, closed book examinations with the exception of mold remediation and water damage restoration applicators who must pass only one test. The two minimum tests are the Core Exam which covers general pesticide information and the Category Exams which test knowledge of pest management practices pertinent to the specific profession where pesticides are used, such as in forestry, lawn care services or structural pest control (see full category list). The core exam and category exams cost $10.00 each. (exam fees are waived for governmental examinees)

Master-level applicants must also successfully complete a test on pesticide regulations and pass an oral examination conducted by the BPC staff. These exams cost an additional $50.00. (exam fees are waived for governmental examinees)

Tests must be scheduled by submitting a completed application form and the proper fee to the BPC. Exam applications are available by visiting our online Download Library or from the BPC. Exams are generally held weekly at the BPC offices in Augusta (usually on Wednesdays) or in Presque Isle by special arrangement (usually on the last Friday of each month). Self-help study materials are available through the UMCE Pest Management Office, 491 College Avenue, Orono, ME 04773; telephone 800-287-0279 or, outside Maine, 207-581-3880, e-mail donald.barry@maine.edu or go to UMCE's training manual Web pages.

Staying certified

A commercial certification is valid for six years; however, the commercial license must be renewed biennially. So that applicators remain current in the latest technologies and regulations while they are certified, the BPC requires holders to attend continuing education courses. The number of credits (1 credit = 1 hour of training) needed for recertification varies according to the license level. Commercial-Master Applicators need 18 credits every 6 years; Commercial-Operator Applicators need 12 credits every 6 years. As with recertification for private license holders, commercial applicators participate in category specific training sessions made available through the BPC, UMCE, industry and trade organizations both in Maine and out of state.

COMMERCIAL MASTER

C e r t i f i c a t i o n

Type of exams

Minimum of 3 written (Core, one or more categories, and regulation exams) plus a Master's Oral exam.

Where do I get my study materials?

Core and Commodity manuals:
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Pesticide Applicator Training Manuals
1-800-287-0279 or
207-581-3880
Regulations manual:
BPC
207-287-2731
Regulations study manual will be mailed once exam application is received.
UCTV online has programs that can help you prepare. Understanding Pesticides Part I and II

Where do I take exams?

BPC offices by prefiled exam application (see below) only.
207-287-2731
Get directions to BPC

Exam application

Commercial Applicator Exam Application (PDF)
ATTENTION!
Commercial Master Examinees: You must complete pages 1 and 2 of the exam application. Remember: You need to take a category exam for each type of application you perform or anticipate performing. Visit commercial applicator license categories.
Once your application and fees are received, you will be mailed the Regulations Exam Study Manual and your exam date. This usually takes 3 - 4 weeks except during "peak" examination season, March through May, then it may take up to 8 weeks.

Exam fees

$10 each for the Core and for each category exam.
$50 for the regulation and Master's Oral exams.

Exam pass policy

Examinees must pass both the core and at least one category exam within one year. If an applicant only passes one of the required exams within one year, the examinee must retake and successfully complete all exams, even those previously passed, before qualifying for certification.

Rescheduling exams

Requests to reschedule exams must be made at least 24 hours in advance. If you fail to do so, all exam fees will be forfeited, and you must re-file the complete exam application, pay all appropriate fees and pay an additional $15 reapplication fee.
Once your application and fees are received, you will be mailed the Regulations Exam Study Manual and your exam date. This usually takes 3 - 4 weeks except during "peak" examination season, March through May, then it may take up to 8 weeks.

Certification expiration

6 years

Required recertification credits

Commercial Master - 18 hours over the 6 year certification period

L i c e n s i n g

License fee

$70

License expiration

2 years (renewable 12/31)

License application

Commercial Applicator License Application (PDF)


COMMERCIAL-OPERATOR

C e r t i f i c a t i o n

Type of exams

Minimum of 2 written (Core and one or more category exams)

Where do I get study materials?

Core and Commodity manuals:
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Pesticide Applicator Training Manuals
1-800-287-0279
207-581-3880
UCTV online has programs that can help you prepare. Understanding Pesticides Part I and II

Where do I take exams

BPC offices by prefiled exam application only.
207-287-2731
Get directions to BPC

Exam application

Commercial Applicator Exam Application (PDF)
Commercial Operator Examinees: You complete pages 1 and 2 of the exam application. Remember: You need to take a category exam for each type of application you perform or anticipate performing. Visit commercial applicator license categories.
Exams are given in BPC offices by appointment. You will be notified of your examination date by mail. There is usually a 2-3 week waiting period for operator examinations from the time the completed application is received.

Exam fees

$10 each for the Core and for each category exam

Exam pass policy

Examinees must pass both the core and at least one category exam within one year. If an applicant only passes one of the required exams within one year, the examinee must retake and successfully complete all exams, even those previously passed, before qualifying for certification.

Rescheduling exams

Requests to reschedule exams must be made at least 24 hours in advance. If you fail to do so, all exam fees will be forfeited, and you must re-file the complete exam application, pay all appropriate fees and pay an additional $15 reapplication fee.
Maine State offices occasionally close during severe storm events. On such days, applicants are encouraged to contact the Board of Pesticides Control prior to travelling to make sure the office is open.

Certification expiration

6 years

Required recertification credits

Commercial Operator - 12 hours over the 6 year certification period

L i c e n s i n g

License fee

$70

License expiration

2 years (renewable 12/31)

License application

Commercial Applicator License Application (PDF)

NOTE: Company agency must have a licensed Commercial Master applicator before Commercial Operators may be licensed. See Chapter 31 (Word) exemptions.


FIRM*

L i c e n s i n g

License fee

$200**

License expiration

2 years (renewable 12/31)

*Required of all custom applicator companies other than sole proprietors with no other employees or companies which perform all applications solely on or within a premises which they own or lease (i.e., golf courses or wood treating establishments and boat yards).
**In addition to the license fee, proof of insurance and Commercial Master applicator is required.


LICENSE CATEGORIES-COMMERCIAL APPLICATORS

1A Agricultural - Animal

1B Agricultural - Plant
Option I - Limited Commercial Blueberry
Option II - Chemigation
Option III - Agricultural Fumigation
Option IV - Post-Harvest Treatment

2 Forest Pest Management

3A Outdoor Ornamentals

3B Turf

3C Indoor Ornamentals

4 Seed Treatment

5A Aquatic Pest Control

5B Sewer Root Control

6A Right of Way Vegetation Management

6B Industrial/Commercial/Municipal Vegetation Management

7A Structural General Pest Control (Includes Food Processing)

7B Structural Fumigation

7C1 Disinfectant and Biocide Treatments

7C2 Swimming Pool & Spa

7C3 Mold Remediation & Water Damage Restoration

7D Wood Preserving

7E Biting Fly & Other Arthropod Vectors (Ticks)

7F Termite Pests

8A Public Health - Biting Fly (a)

8B Public Health - Other (a)

9 Regulatory Pest Control (a)

10 Demonstration & Research Pest Control (b)

11 Aerial Pest Control (b)

(a) for government officials only
(b) requires another certification category

Insurance coverage

  • Affidavit of Insurance Coverage form (PDF) must be completed prior to licensing. This form is considered a legally binding document and is assurance that liability insurance coverage is in effect when making custom applications.

Treat only in your licensed category (ies)

Commercial applicators are only allowed to apply in categories in which they are licensed. Summary reports have revealed several applicators reporting applications made to areas they are not licensed to treat.

An area which has caused concern is weed control on sidewalks, patios, driveways or parking lots. Commercial applicators must be licensed in Category 6D (Industrial/Commercial/Municipal Vegetation Management) to do these types of applications. Those areas cannot legally be treated if the applicator is only licensed in Category 3A (Outdoor Ornamentals) or 3B (Turf).

If a licensed employee no longer works for your company. . .

Employers should notify the Board of Pesticides Control about termination of licensed personnel so they can be removed from the company/agency applicator list.

Commercial applicator licenses are company affiliated. That means a commercial applicator's license is voided when that person leaves the company or agency where he/she has been licensed. Companies or agencies could be liable for applications done by terminated individuals until the Board is notified of their termination.

Terminated employees should check with the BPC about license reinstatement. No pesticide applications should be performed elsewhere without the license reinstated.