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.

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.


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 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)

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 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, 2020 and will end on June 20, 2023. 

Private applicator recertification began January 1, 2020 and ended on September 30, 2020. The recertification process during this timeframe must have been completed to roll your certification into the new certification cycle, which began on July 1, 2020, and ends June 30, 2023. Since the recertification period has passed, you may attend an initial certification event held by your county Extension office or review the initial private applicator training on K@TE, online.

Private applicators are required to keep records of restricted-use pesticide applications and, if workers and/or handlers are employed, these 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.

Many of the new fumigation labels require users to have specialized training.  Please visit the fumigation webpage​ for more information.