Pesticide Safety Education Program

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), provides training and certification programs for commercial and private pesticide applicators in Iowa.

Pesticide use in Iowa is regulated under the "Pesticide Act of Iowa," Chpt. 206 of the Code of Iowa. The rules governing pesticide use, application, registration, and certification are contained in Section 45 of the Iowa Administrative Code.

Types of Pesticide Applicator Certification

Private Applicator

A person who applies any restricted-use pesticide for the production of an agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by the applicator or the applicator’s employer, or on the property of other agricultural producers with whom the applicator trades services.

Commercial Applicator

A person who applies pesticides or uses pest-control devices for hire on property other than his or her own.

Noncommercial Applicator

A person who applies restricted-use pesticides on lands or property owned, rented, leased, or controlled by the applicator or applicator’s employer. Meets the same certification requirements as commercial and public applicators. This definition does not include private pesticide applicators.

Public Applicator

A person who applies pesticides as an employee of a state agency, county, municipality, or any other governmental agency.

Certified Handler

A person who handles opened containers, repackages bulk pesticides, or disposes of pesticide related waste while under the supervision of a certified commercial applicator, noncommercial applicator, public applicator, or pesticide dealer. A handler does not apply pesticides to target sites; rather, the handler might only mix, transport, or dispose of pesticide materials used by a certified applicator. To become a certified handler you must pass the Handler's exam. The Handler's exam contains questions on material in the Iowa Certified Handler's Manual IC 500

General Certification Procedures

Certification procedures for pesticide applicators differ depending on the type of certification the applicator wishes to obtain. All applicators are initially certified by passing an exam.

Under Direct Supervision

In Iowa, a commercial, public, or private applicator is not required to be certified to apply pesticides for a period of 21 days from the date of initial employment if the applicator is under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. “Under the direct supervision of…” means that the application of a pesticide is made by a competent person acting under the instructions and control of a certified applicator who is within sight or hearing distance of the supervised person.

Page last updated: November 21, 2014