Private Applicator Certification

A private applicator is an applicator who applies restricted-use pesticides by ground application for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by the applicator or the applicator’s employer. Most private applicators are farmers, greenhouse and/or nursery operators. All other applicators who use restricted use pesticides are considered commercial applicators.

Minimum age for all pesticide applicators is 18 years including those applying restricted-use pesticides. An exception is made for those of a minimum age of 16 years being supervised by a certified private applicator who is a member of their immediate family.


The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is extending some deadlines for pesticide applicators.

Private pesticide applicator certifications that were due to expire June 30 will be extended for 90 days, remaining valid until Oct. 2, 2023.

For commercial pesticide applicators certified in service categories C01-C14, and C16, the deadline for completing continuing education credits (CEUs) for the three year period that ran from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023, has also been extended for 90 days. Commercial applicator CEUs for this time period must now be completed by Oct. 2, 2023.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is transitioning to a new database that will make it easier for their customers to interact with the Division of Consumer and Industry Services. Migrating data is taking longer than expected and they don’t want that process to negatively affect customers. They have reached out to retailers and wholesalers to let them know of these extensions.

TDA appreciates you for working with them through this challenge. If you have any questions,  please contact the Pesticides Section at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (phone 615-837-5148).


Applicants for private applicator certification must successfully complete a specialized training course provided by University of Tennessee Extension on the proper use of restricted use pesticides.

To attend an in-person training session, please contact your county Extension office. See required fees below.

EPA’s new certification & training standards.


If you are needing a certificate for specific herbicides such as dicamba or paraquat. Visit one of the sites to find out more information. Dicamba or Paraquat

Spanish Language Materials (used by individuals to prepare them for the private applicator training exam) Note: In-person trainings are only offered in English.

North Carolina State University’s PSEP Chapters 1 and 2 pertain to NC’s regulations and the remainder contains information found in the National Core manual.

National Applicator Core Training Manual for Private Applicators select ES3007KITP/E3007SP for the Spanish language version. A direct link may be found here.

Bilingual App to help keep farm workers safe

Basic information concerning pesticides in Spanish

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Pesticide Exposure:
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Agricultural Worker Booklet
(English and Spanish versions)

Spanish Translation Guide

Gap Connections video “The Label is the Law

An online course is available for individuals as an optional method to obtain private applicator certification. Fees are required as mentioned below. 

To learn more about the online certification training, visit our K@TE (Knowledge and Training Excellence) site.

There is a $50 fee for initial certification training, both in-person and online. Upon completion of in-person training, applicants must submit to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) a copy of the three-part form signed by the Extension agent verifying completion of the training course and a payment of $25 for a certification card. Individuals who attend online-training should follow directions provided by the online system to obtain their certification card.

Pesticide certification runs in a three-year cycle. The current certification cycle began on July 1, 2023 and will end on June 30, 2026. 

Private applicator recertification began January 1, 2023 and ended June 30, 2023. The recertification process during this timeframe must be completed to roll certification into the new certification cycle, which begins on July 1, 2023, and ends June 30, 2026. If you miss the recertification period, you may attend an initial certification event held by your county Extension office or review the initial private applicator training and you would be required to pass a test which is available on the K@TE online learning website. Initial Private Applicator Certification and Recertification training is available at county Extension offices.

Private applicators are required to keep records of restricted-use pesticide applications and, if workers and/or handlers are employed, all application records must be maintained for two years. The following document may used to maintain Federal recordkeeping requirements: Pesticide Application Recordkeeping FormF 808 and SP 363-H. Employers of workers and/or pesticide handlers may want to refer to Worker Protection Standard checklist, found here: WPS Requirements for Employers of Workers. At one time, USDA had a printed version of a recordkeeping manual, but now is only available for download at USDA’s website. More information concerning EPA’s recordkeeping requirements may be found here. A new Private Applicator RecordKeeping Manual PB1917 may be found here.

Many of the new fumigation labels require users to have specialized training.  Please visit the fumigation webpage​ for more information. A Licensee must be present at the time of all fumigation applications.

Beginning July 1, 2023, private applicators will be required to attend 3-hours of training and attend a recertification event to maintain their certification into the 2026 certification cycle. If points/CEUs are not accrued, repeating the initial private applicator training and passing an exam would be required.