Private Pesticide Applicator Information

Certified private applicator means a certified applicator who uses or supervises the use of any pesticide which is classified for restricted use on property owned or rented by the applicator or the applicator’s employer or, if applied without compensation other than trading of personal services between producers of agricultural commodities, on the property of another person.

2023-2024 Program Resource List


Getting Certified

What do I study for the exam?

To become certified, all private applicators must pass a 50 question, closed-book certification exam over the Private Pesticide Applicator Study Guide (available from the Extension Distribution Center ). If the exam is failed (<70%), it may be taken again. However, the exam may be taken only once each day. Only producers applying restricted-use pesticides need to be certified.

Where can I take the exam?

Pesticide applicator certification exams are available at many community colleges throughout Iowa. More information on dates and locations can be found on Applicator Licensing & Certification page of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website.

Fees for Certification

Fees ($15) are payable to IDALS and cover your 3 year certification. For any questions about examinations or fees, please contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Pesticide Bureau, at 515-281-8591.


How do I Renew my Certification?

To renew your certification you must pass an exam every three years or attend an approved Private Continuing Instruction Course (P-CIC) between December 1 and April 15 each training period your certification card covers, including the year you passed the exam (if your certification is issued prior to October 1).

Renewal by Exam

Exams for renewal are administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Pesticide Bureau at various locations throughout the year.  Information on testing is available at  Passing the exam and the submission of the appropriate fee to Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Pesticide Bureau completes the renewal-by-exam process.  The submission of fees can be done through the mail or online through the Pesticide Bureau Self-Service Portal for License and Certification.

Renewal by Continuing Instruction Course (CIC)

Private Applicator Continuing Instruction Courses (P-CIC) are offered through ISU Extension and Outreach county offices from December 1st to April 15th of each year. Applicators who miss a P-CIC in one or more training periods during their 3-year renewal cycle are required to renew their certification by exam. P-CICs cannot be “made-up” if applicators forget to attend a P-CIC during each training period of their renewal cycle, nor can excess attendance carry forward from one year to the next.

For Private Pesticide Applicator CIC dates, please contact your county office.

In order to qualify for renewal by training, private applicators must attend a private continuing instruction course (P-CIC) for each training period beginning the first fall/winter following initial certification. One exception to this is for applicators certifying initially in October, November or December -- those applicators would begin training the fall/winter of the next calendar year after certification.  Refer to the training dates printed to the left on the private pesticide applicator certification card for training periods required for renewal by CIC or contact the Pesticide Bureau at 515-281-8591 or by emailMissed training periods cannot be made up and the individual will need to retest in order to renew their certification.

Fees for Attending a Private Pesticide Applicator Continuing Instructional Course (P-CIC)

There is a $30 fee for attending a P-CIC at the county office.

There is a $35 fee for attending a Live-Stream P-CIC.

During the year the certification expires, private applicators will need to send in paperwork as well as a renewal fee to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Pesticide Bureau by mail or using the Self-service Portal to complete renewal by training.

Private Applicator Fumigation

Because restricted use pesticides used in fumigation pose special concerns for human safety, there is an additional CIC requirement for private applicators who want to purchase and use restricted use fumigants. A private fumigator must be certified as a private applicator, but also must add a fumigation status to his or her certification to purchase and legally use fumigants. The applicator must pass an exam based on the commercial fumigation manual (category 7C) to gain the initial fumigation certification. Then, the applicator must either retest or attend the annual category 7C training that is provided for commercial applicators in each of the three years of certification. The additional 7C training can be obtained by attending a Live-Stream Fumigation C-CIC  or viewing the prerecorded video at a county office on the pre-set statewide date or at the county office's convenience.

Private Applicator Certification Based on Commercial Applicator Certification

A certified commercial applicator may also receive a private applicator certification upon written request to Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Pesticide Bureau together with the $15 private applicator certification fee. A person who is certified as both a commercial applicator and a private applicator will need either to retest every three years or attend an approved commercial CIC (Continuing Instruction Course) each year for the three years of certification to fulfill their commercial applicator certification requirements. If the commercial applicator certification renewal requirements are met, then they may request renewal of their private applicator certification based on their commercial certification. They will not have to attend a CIC for private applicators. Below is a link to the form that the applicator will need to fill out and submit to Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Pesticide Bureau.

Application for Private Pesticide Applicator Certification based on Current Commercial Applicator Certification

Reduce Pesticide Runoff

Pesticide Runoff

Upcoming In-Person Private Pesticide Applicator Continuing Instruction Courses

(This is list will not be updated throughout the season.Contact the county you are interested in attending for details of the program)

2023-2024 In-Person Private Pesticide Applicator Continuing Instruction Courses

Upcoming Live-Streamed Private Pesticide Applicator Continuing Instruction Courses

(Links will be made available when program Dates/Times are set.  Registration closes at 9am the day before the program)

Continuing Instruction Course Date Start Program Resources
Private Pesticide Applicators 02/20/24 1:00 pm

Resource Handout

IDALS Self-Service Portal Help Sheet

03/12/24 1:00 pm
04/02/24 6:00 pm

Upcoming Last Chance Private Pesticide Applicator Continuing Instruction Courses

(Contact the county you are interested in attending for details of the program)

2023-2024 P-CIC Last Chance P-CIC Trainings by County