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Cancellations FAQ

Pesticide Applicator Training and Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 23, 2020

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Pesticide Applicator Training and Testing Clinics jointly administered by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and University of Illinois Extension are cancelled for the remainder of the clinic season. These cancellations include the Peoria, Champaign, Moline, Matteson, Collinsville, Springfield, Alsip, Carterville, Skokie, Des Plaines, St. Charles and Springfield and DeKalb on-site testing locations. The University of Illinois Extension has initiated the process of contacting each individual registered for clinics. The Illinois Department of Agriculture will extend applicator, operator and dealer licenses that expired December 31, 2019. These licenses will now be valid through December 31, 2020. Training and testing opportunities will be available for individuals not currently licensed as applicators.


Q: Am I an Applicator or and Operator?

An applicator is the person(s) in an organization who has the responsibility for all pesticide purchasing, storage, handling, and use. Applicators must pass the General Standards exam and one or more category exams. An applicator may use pesticides or supervise the use of pesticides by licensed operators.

An operator is a person who uses pesticides at the job site. The operator is tied directly to the supervising applicator's license The operator can apply pesticides only under the direct supervision of the applicator and can apply pesticides only to areas (categories) covered by the applicator's license.


Q: What if my applicator license expired on December 31, 2019, but I have not retested for general standards and at least one category exam to date?

Licensees in this situation will have their license extended through December 31, 2020. This extension will be applied automatically and there is no application or fee for this license extension. If verification is needed, please contact the IDOA at (217) 785-2427.


Q: What if my operator license expired on December 31, 2019, but I have not retested for general standards exam to date?

Licensees in this situation will have their license extended through December 31, 2020. This extension will be applied automatically and there is no application or fee for this license extension. If verification is needed, please contact the IDOA at (217) 785-2427.


Q: Will training and testing opportunities be available for individuals not currently licensed as applicators?

We are currently working on a plan for providing training and/or testing opportunities for those who are not currently licensed applicators but will be newly licensed applicators this year.

NOTE: No training or testing opportunities have been scheduled at this time. We will continue to provide updates on the IDOA website.


Q: What if I am unlicensed and would like to become an operator for 2020?

Due to the special circumstance, non-certified applicators (operators) will not have a testing requirement for the remainder of 2020. Operators must continue to work under the direction of a certified applicator and receive general pesticide training. The supervising applicator must be certified in each category applicable to the pesticide use.


Q: What if I had a commercial or commercial not for hire applicator license several years ago but it was not current as of December 31, 2019?

Individuals in this situation would need to pass the general standards exam and at least one category exam to become a licensed applicator. We are currently working on a plan for providing training and/or testing opportunities. The most up to date details will be available on the IDOA website.


Q: What if I had a private applicator license several years ago, but it was not current as of December 31, 2019?

Individuals in this situation would need to pass the private applicator exam to become a licensed applicator in order to purchase or apply restricted use pesticides (RUPs). A private applicator license is not required for application of general use pesticides which are not classified as restricted use. We are currently working on a plan for providing training and/or testing opportunities. The most up to date details will be available on the IDOA website.


Q: Will I receive a revised license card?

No. If verification of licensure is needed, please contact the IDOA at (217) 785-2427.


Q: Can I purchase restricted use pesticides if my license is expired?

Yes, if the applicator license expired on December 31, 2019. All such licenses will have their license expiration dates extended through December 31, 2020 and will be valid for the purchase of restricted use pesticides. This extension will be applied automatically and there is no application or fee for this license extension. The Department will work to notify dealers of this license extension. If verification of licensure is needed, please contact the IDOA at (217) 785-2427.


Q: My dealer license expired December 31, 2019. Can I sell pesticides (including restricted use pesticides) for this upcoming season?

Yes. Effective immediately, dealer and applicator/dealer licenses will be extended through December 31, 2020. This extension will be applied automatically and there is no application or fee for this license extension. Pesticides can be sold so long as a valid license is used showing a December 31, 2019 expiration date. If verification of licensure is needed, please contact the IDOA at (217) 785-2427.


Q: If I have a valid pesticide applicator license in another state, am I currently able to apply for a reciprocal license in Illinois?

The State of Illinois is currently working with other states to formalize reciprocity. We encourage all out of state applicators to email agr.pesticide@illinois.gov and a response will be provided by the Department.


Q: Do I still need to be a “certified applicator” to apply one of the 4 dicamba products labeled for application to dicamba tolerant soybeans and cotton in 2020?

Yes. The labels for Engenia, Xtendimax, Fexapan and Tavium all require the application to be performed by a “certified applicator”. In order to become a certified applicator, individuals must pass the general standards exam and the field crop category. Certified applicators, whose license expired on December 31, 2019 and have not had the opportunity to successfully recertify will have their license extended through December 31, 2020. We are currently working on a plan for providing training and/or testing opportunities for those individuals who are not certified applicators. In addition, anyone applying one of the four aforementioned dicamba containing products must have completed the required annual dicamba specific training as per label requirements.


Q: Do I need to be a “certified applicator” to apply paraquat in 2020?

Yes. If applying paraquat under the new label which specifically requires the application be made by a “certified applicator.” In order to become a certified applicator, individuals must pass the general standards exam and at least one applicable category exam (ie. Field Crop). Certified applicators whose license expired on December 31, 2019 and have not had the opportunity to successfully recertify will have their license extended through December 31, 2020. We are currently working on a plan for providing training and/or testing opportunities for those individuals who are not certified applicators. In addition, anyone applying paraquat under the new label must have completed the required paraquat specific training as per label requirements. https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/paraquat-dichloride-training-certified-applicator