Certification of commercial applicators is generally a two-step process. Applicators seeking certification will take a Core examination that addresses fundamentals of pesticide use and a category exam that relates directly to their field of professional interest. Once the required exams are passed, certification is good for five (5) years.
Indiana has 15 commercial pesticide applicator categories:
Category 1: Agricultural Pest Management
Category 2: Forest Pest Management
Category 3a: Ornamental Pest Management
Category 3b: Turf Management (including fertilizer application onto customer’s lawns)
Category 4: Seed Treatment
Category 5: Aquatic Pest Management
Category 6: Industrial Weed Management
Category 7a: Industrial, Institutional, Structural and Health-Related Pest Management
Category 7b: Termite Control
Category 7d: Fumigation
Category 8: Community-Wide Mosquito Management
Category 11: Aerial Application
Category 12: Wood-Destroying Pest Inspection
Category 13: Limited Certification (e.g., animal repellents, mold control, sanitizers and disinfectants, sewer root control, water treatment biocides and wood preservation)
Category 14: Agricultural Fertilizer Application
There is an exception to the two-step (Core and category) certification process for certain commercial applicators. Certification in Categories 12 and 14 does NOT require the applicant to take the Core examination. (Certification in Category 13 requires a Core examination only.)
Initially, you should accurately determine the field of activity and look for appropriate vacancies. It is advisable to choose large companies, which many beginners are afraid of. However, a large company is a large mechanism in which you will not necessarily be required to have extensive knowledge and experience. Within the department you will be able to learn by doing, there will get hired be people who can help you. A small company, say, of 10 employees, needs specialists who will be able to fully fulfill their duties from the first day, and often the success of the company itself will depend on this.
Certification as a commercial, for-hire lawn care applicator (Category 3b) or as a commercial, for-hire termite control operator (Category 7b) requires Core and category examinations, plus documentation of work-related experience. Generally, for-hire Category 3b and 7b applicators meet their work experience by attending a multi-day, hands-on workshop sponsored by Purdue Pesticide Programs. Contact Purdue Pesticide Programs at 765-494-4566 for more information about the lawn care and termite control workshops. Applicants may also download a lawn care or termite control workshop registration application form.
Not all pesticide applicators in commercial settings need to be certified. Non-certified applicators may work under the direct on-site supervision of a certified applicator. Or, non-certified applicators may become registered technicians by passing the Core exam. Registered technicians can perform every application for which their supervisor is certified, and the supervisor need not be physically present.