A Guide for Meeting Updated Competency Standards for Certified Pesticide Applicators

Training Materials

This guide is intended to aid states, tribes, territories, and any certifying authority seeking to comply with new competency standards (40 CFR 171.103) for certified pesticide applicators, both private and commercial. When revised in 2017, there was a multi-year timeline for state and federal agencies to enact improvements to meet the new standard(s) in 40 CFR Part 171: Certification of Pesticide Applicators.

Certain states/tribes/territories rely on a National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual, 2nd. Edition (2014) and an accompanying exam (housed with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Pesticide Programs) to train commercial pesticide applicators. Many states have created their own manuals, courses, and exams that meet national core training requirements in a locally-relevant way, incorporating native pest biology information and local regulations.

This guide is intended to help educators and regulators evaluate any potential gaps in existing training programs/content for private and/or commercial pesticide applicators seeking initial certification. If any gaps are identified, the guide includes a set of suggested text that would meet new requirements.

  • Use the content in this guide to develop a one-time refresher course for certified applicators in your state/tribe/territory. It would only include the items currently missing.
  • Use the content in this guide to revise training manuals, modules, course content, and regulatory addenda, as applicable.

The National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual 2nd Ed. (2014) will be revised by the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC) during the project period 2021-2026. It will include all of the new competencies described in 40 CFR 171.103. The competency standards are more aligned between private and commercial pesticide applicators, after the revision of the rule. One may consider adopting the new, revised manual/exam for both private and commercial pesticide applicators in your state/tribe/territory when it is released.

For more information, please visit https://pesticideresources.org or email PERCsupport@ucdavis.edu.

Regulatory Guidance

Browse brief guides about protections for workers and handlers, the AEZ, posting, PPE, exemptions, training, respirators, and more, in English and Spanish.

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