Certified Commercial Applicator Overview
A commercial applicator is defined as a person using any pesticide for any purpose on the job other than as described for a Private Applicator (production of an agricultural commodity on private property). Most are required to be certified. There are two certification options: Commercial Applicator or Registered Technician.
Certified Commercial Applicator - a person who has fulfilled the competency requirements set for Commercial Applicators in Virginia to use or supervise the use of any pesticide for any purpose or on any property other than as described for a Private Applicator.
Certified Registered Technician - an individual who renders services similar to those of a certified Commercial Applicator. Such a person has completed training and demonstration of those competency standards required for registered technicians, but not the requirements for commercial certification. (Registered Technician trainees receive general pesticide safety training in the context of their specific job duties.) Registered Technicians may apply general use pesticides without supervision, and may apply restricted use pesticides under the direct supervision of a certified Commercial Applicator. Registered Technicians must work with a certified Commercial Applicator or for a licensed Pesticide Business.
Anyone using restricted-use pesticides (RUPs) for agricultural production on private property (owned, rented, or leased by the producer) must be a certified private applicator or work under the direct supervision of a certified private applicator. See the document Private Applicator Overview for more information regarding private applicator certification.
I. Commercial Applicator Classes
For commercial pesticide users, certification requirements depend on the applicator class and on the nature of the on-the-job pesticide use. The four commercial applicator classes and certification requirements for each are described below.
For Hire - any commercial applicator who, in exchange for compensation, uses or supervises the use of any pesticide for any purpose or on any property other than as provided in the definition of private applicator. All pesticide handlers working for hire must be certified. Commercial applicators for hire in the Commonwealth must have a Pesticide Business License, or work for a properly-licensed firm.
Government Employee - This classification includes governmental employees who use or supervise the use of pesticides, regardless of the site, in the performance of their official duties. All pesticide handlers working for local, state or federal government must be certified, as either a Commercial Applicator or Registered Technician, to use any pesticide for any purpose.
Not-For Hire - any commercial applicator who uses or supervises the use of any pesticide as part of his or her job duties only on property owned or leased by the applicator or his/her employer. Certification requirements depend on the nature of the pesticides used and the type of work performed. Applicators working not -or-hire must be certified if:
- using restricted-use pesticide products, or
- using pesticides on any of the sites listed below:
- any area open to the general public at educational institutions, health care facilities, day-care facilities, or convalescent facilities;
- where open food is stored, processed or sold;
- any recreational land over five acres.
Inactive - any commercial applicator who is not currently employed in a pesticide-related job and is thus not covered by the required insurance. Holders of this type of certificate must adhere to renewal and recertification requirements to keep their certificate in force. However, they may not use pesticides as part of their job duties.
III. Commercial Applicator Categories
Twelve categories of Commercial Applicator are recognized; several are divided into subcategories. A Commercial Applicator must be certified in the category or categories fitting the type of pesticide use practiced or supervised. In the category descriptions below, the word use means actual use or supervision of use. Commercial Applicators engaged in several sorts of pesticide-related activities may need to be certified in several categories.
- 1A Agricultural Plant Pest Control: for use of pesticides in the production of agricultural crops, on grasslands, and non-crop agricultural land.
- 1B Agricultural Animal Pest Control: for use of pesticides on agricultural animals, and to places on or in which such animals are confined, for control of pests directly affecting such animals.
- 1C Fumigation of Soil and Agricultural Products: for use of pesticides for soil fumigation in the production of an agricultural commodity and/or for fumigation of agricultural products.
- 1D Chemigation: application of pesticides through an irrigation system.
- 2 Forest Pest Control: for use of pesticides in forest, forest nurseries and seed orchards.
- 3A Ornamental Pest Control: for use of pesticides to maintain ornamental plants -- trees, shrubs, and herbaceous foliage or flowering plants (other than ornamental turf) in plantscapes (interiorscapes or landscapes).
- 3B Turf: for use of pesticides to maintain ornamental turf in sites such as on golf courses, residential lawns, parks and cemeteries.
- 4 Seed Treatment: for application of pesticides to seeds.
- 5A Aquatic Pest Control - General: for use of pesticides in or on standing or running waters for the express purpose of controlling pests, excluding those applicators engaged in activities relating to public health.
- 5B Marine Anti-Foulant Paints (TBT): for use of marine antifoulant paints containing tributyltin or other restricted use pesticides. Persons wishing to become certified in this sub-category are exempt from the core examination for commercial applicators.
- 6 Right-of Way Pest Control: for use of pesticides in the maintenance of public rights-of-way such as roads, electric power lines, telephone lines, pipelines and railways; and in the maintenance of fence lines, structural perimeters and other similar areas.
- 7A General Pest Control: for use of pesticides to control household pests, including pests that infest structures, stored products, and residential food preparation areas, and pests that infest or contaminate food at any stage of processing in food processing facilities. This includes treatment of food processing areas and control of vertebrate structural invaders. This category does not include control of wood-destroying pests, or the use of fumigants.
- 7B Wood-Destroying Pest Control: for use of pesticides other than fumigants to control organisms that destroy structures made of or containing wood.
- 7C Fumigation (Non-Agricultural): for use of fumigant pesticides to control pests in structures and items other than soils and raw agricultural commodities.
- 7D Vertebrate Pest Control (Excluding Structural Invaders): for use of pesticides to control vertebrate pest animals outside of human dwellings or other structures.
- 7E Sewer Root Pest Control: for use of pesticides, including those containing metam-sodium (a restricted-use pesticide) to control roots in sewer lines.
- 8 Public Health Pest Control: for use of pesticides to manage or control pests of medical significance that pose a risk to public health. Federal, state and local employees involved in public health pest control are included in this category.
- 9 Regulatory Pest Control: for use of pesticides by federal, state and local governmental employees to control regulated pests.
- 10 Demonstration and Research Pest Control: for persons, including federal, state and local government employees, who teach proper pesticide use, application techniques, and/or make pesticide recommendations; for research application of pesticides in greenhouses or field plots.
- 11 Aerial Pesticide Application: for application of pesticides by fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft.
- 12 Wood Preservation and Wood Products Treatment: for use of pesticides at wood treatment plants and sawmills for preservation of wood and wood products.
60 Registered Technician
The designation "Registered Technician" is a generic one and is not tied to any particular commercial category. Registered technicians in Virginia provide services similar to those provided by commercial applicators, but may apply restricted-use pesticides only when under the direct supervision of a commercial applicator. Registered technicians must be trained by a commercial applicator and registered technicians who work for hire must work for a properly-licensed pesticide business.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), Office of Pesticide Services (OPS), is responsible for the certification of applicators, and all enforcement aspects of the Virginia Pesticide Control Act and regulations promulgated by the Virginia Pesticide Control Board (VPCB).