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Publication #PI-154

Licensing of Regulatory Pest Control Applicators in Florida1

Frederick M. Fishel2

This document explains the licensing and regulation of persons who apply restricted use pesticide applications to control regulated pests in Florida as specified by the Florida Pesticide Law (Chapter 487) and administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Regulatory Pest Control (Chapter 487)

Employees of public or governmental agencies who use or supervise the use of restricted use pesticides, or other pesticides requiring licensure, in the control of regulated pests must have a pesticide applicator license issued by the Bureau of Licensing and Enforcement/Pesticide Certification Section. This category is regulated by the Florida Pesticide Law (Florida Statutes, Chapter 487).

Category Certification Standards

Applicators seeking a license in this category must demonstrate practical knowledge of:

  • regulated pests;

  • applicable laws relating to quarantine and other regulatory measures;

  • environmental impact of pesticides used in suppression and eradication programs; and

  • factors that may influence the introduction, spread, or population dynamics of regulated pests.

Because regulatory pest control applicators are periodically called upon to assist with pests outside of Florida, they must demonstrate knowledge that is applicable throughout the United States.

Applicators shall also demonstrate practical knowledge of soil-inhabiting pests and pests of agricultural crops grown inside structures such as greenhouses, the fumigant pesticides that may be used to control such pests, and the equipment or methodologies required to safely implement fumigation measures to control such pests. This knowledge shall include:

  • basics of fumigant pesticide technology;

  • application methodologies for applying soil and space fumigants;

  • techniques and procedures for monitoring the concentration of a fumigant pesticide in soil, air, or water;

  • use and maintenance of personal protective equipment and clothing; and

  • specific safety procedures for handling pressurized chemicals and for avoiding non-target exposure to a fumigant pesticide.

Applicants seeking licensure in this category shall also demonstrate practical knowledge of pests of stored raw agricultural commodities, including:

  • the fumigant pesticides that may be used to control such pests;

  • the equipment or methodologies required to safely implement fumigation measures to control such pests;

  • the basics of fumigant pesticide toxicology; and

  • application methodology for fumigating stored agricultural commodities.

License Classification

Certified regulatory pest control applicators are licensed as public applicators.

  • A public applicator is a licensed applicator employed by a public or governmental agency. The license is only valid when performing work for the public or governmental agency. The public applicator fee for a four-year license is $100.


Persons must successfully complete two examinations before they can apply to the Department for a license. These examinations are a Core examination and a Regulatory Pest Control category examination. The Core examination may be taken at any UF/IFAS Extension office. The Regulatory Pest Control examination is administered as needed by the FDACS Division of Plant Industry (DPI) for employees in that Division and at select UF/IFAS Extension offices. There is no fee to take the examinations.

Study Materials

The manual for the Core exam may be obtained from the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore by calling 1-800-226-1764 or online at

The content of the Core exam is based upon the manual Applying Pesticides Correctly (Figure 1). The study materials for the Regulatory Pest Control exam may be obtained by contacting FDACS DPI at (352) 372-3505 ext 445.

Figure 1. 

Applying Pesticides Correctly: A Guide for Pesticide Applicators (CORE)

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Applicators must recertify every four years. To recertify, applicators may take the examinations again or attend training and obtain 12 continuing education units (CEUs) approved for the Regulatory Pest Control category and 4 CEUs approved for the Core category. Core CEUs cannot be used to meet the required Regulatory Pest Control CEUs. No substitutions of other types of CEUs are allowed. Opportunities to earn CEUs may be found at

Additional Information

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Bureau of Licensing and Enforcement, Pesticide Licensing Section, 3125 Conner Drive, Bldg. 8, L-29, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650, Phone: 850-617-7876, (accessed March 2016).



This document is PI-154, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 2007. Revised July 2010, August 2013, and March 2016. Reviewed March 2019. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.


Frederick M. Fishel, professor, Agronomy Department, and director, Pesticide Information Office; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication does not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.