Pesticide Safety Education Program

The goal of the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) is to provide educational information throughout Iowa on the safe and effective use of pesticides. PSEP is responsible for Pesticide Applicator Continuing Instruction Courses (CIC’s) in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).Other programs that PSEP is involved in include integrated pest management, worker protection, environmental quality, and agricultural health.

Helpful Links for Applicators

Due to many changes brought on by COVID-19, things can sometimes become a little confusing. Here are some helpful tips for Certification and Testing through the IDALS Pesticide Bureau.

Are you a First-Time Commercial Applicator looking for certification?

Individuals seeking a commercial pesticide applicator certification in categories 1A – Agricultural Weed Control, 1B – Agricultural Insect Control, 1C – Agricultural Crop Disease Control, 1D – Fruit and Vegetable Pest Control, and 1E – Animal Pest Control may take the private applicator certification exam online and operate under the instructions and control of a certified commercial applicator. This temporary relief is limited to agricultural land applications and excludes aerial, lawn, turf, pest control, and other commercial category applicators.

For initial certification, applicators must pass the private applicator exam and submit a $15.00 fee to IDALS. The private applicator exam can be taken online. Examinees must register on IDALS’ website at:

Do you need to take a Commercial Pesticide Applicator Exam?

Starting May 12, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will offer drive-up commercial pesticide applicator exams in Iowa. Individuals will take the tests in their automobiles to maintain social distancing guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Drive up Testing Information for the Week of June 29, 2020:

Limited Number of spots at each Date, Location, and Time (sign-up at:  Spots may fill up quickly.

  • Testing Dates: 
    • All available slots have been filled. Instead of calling the office for updates, please monitor the IDALS site for more exam opportunities.
  • Testing Locations
    • None at this time
  • Testing Times
    • None at this time

Alternate Test Site Testing Information 

To help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, pesticide applicator testing sites may temporarily change hours and test procedures. Appointment required at all sites; No walk-in testing.  

Alternate Pesticide Test Site Information

All commercial certifications require one of the following (80% passing):

  1. Passing the Handler exam.
  2. Passing the Full Aerial exam – 11(full).
  3. Passing the Core plus at least one passing Category 1 - 10.
  4. The 11(reciprocal) requires also passing the Core/1A/1B/1C.

Prepare for the Exam:

  1. Registration is limited to one time slot at this time.
  2. Bring a basic calculator and a pencil.
  3. A mask is required.
  4. Bring a government-issued photo ID.
  5. Study the exam manual.

Testers will be provided with exam results via email. Expect results in 10 business days after the test date. Do not call or email the office requesting exam results. Upon receiving your results for the exam, go to the IDALS Pesticide Self-Service Portal to pay online for your pesticide certification.

The Self-Service Portal can be found at:

Additional testing dates and locations will be added. Watch for more information at

I need to submit my application and pay for my certification, where do I go?

Upon completion of your certification examination and receiving a passing grade, you will need to apply and pay for your certification. To do this you need to visit and use the IDALS Pesticide Self-Service Portal. Only use the Self-Service Portal once you have completed your exams.

The Self-Service Portal can be found at:

More IDALS COVID-19 Resources can be found at

Changes to Pesticide Applicator Testing and Certification Due to COVID-19

Please see the news releases below to learn about temporary changes to initial pesticide applicator testing and recertification deadlines.

Additional Options Available for New Pesticide Applicators (April 10, 2020)

Deadline Waived for Iowa Pesticide Applicators to Renew Certification (March 31, 2020)

Upcoming Commercial Pesticide Applicator Continuing Instruction Courses

(Program Registration Forms will be available late summer)

Continuing Instruction Course Date Start Program Resources
Roadside, Forest, and Aquatic Pest Management
2, 5, 6, 10
10/21/20 9:00 am Resource Handout
Mosquito and Public Health Pest Management
7D, 8, 10
10/28/20 9:00 am Resource Handout
Ornamental and Turf Applicators
3O, 3T, 3OT, 10
11/04/20 9:00 am Resource Handout
7C, 10
11/17/20 9:00 am Resource Handout
Commercial Ag Weed, Insect, and Plant Disease Management 
1A, 1B, 1C, 10
11/18/20 9:00 am Resource Handout
Pest Control Operators
7A, 7B, 8, 10​​​​​​​
12/02/20 9:00 am Resource Handout

Greenhouse Video
3G, 3O, 10


Counties can schedule to fit their Office

Resource Handout

Aerial Applicators
11, 10

Currently Postponed Resource Handout

Additional Program Resource Handouts

Seed Treatment

Certified Handlers