Certification & Training Assessment Group -- National Partnership for Safe & Effective Pesticide Management through Education, Training, & Competency Assessment

Pesticide Laws & Regulations

The national pesticide applicator certification and training program (C&T) is part of a larger body of federal pesticide laws and regulations.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) assigns the US Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) authority to regulate the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of pesticides. It also requires anyone purchasing, using, or supervising the use of restricted-use pesticides (RUPs) to be a certified applicator.

U.S. EPA classifies a pesticide as restricted use if it poses unreasonable risks to the applicator, other people, or the environment and requires assurances that the applicator is certified by demonstrating competencies. Restricted use pesticides may only be used by or under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.

U.S. EPA established by regulation (40 CFR 171) minimum standards of competency for private and commercial applicators, categories of commercial applicators, and provisions for program delegation to states, tribes, territories, and federal agencies. U.S. EPA has delegated the program to 50 states, 2 territories, 4 tribes and the District of Columbia.

·     Private applicator – A private applicator uses or supervises the use of restricted use pesticides for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by him or his employer or, if applied without compensation, on the property of another person.

·   Commercial applicator – A commercial applicator uses or supervises the use of restricted use pesticides for any purpose or on any property other than as provided by the definitions of “private applicator.”

Most state certification standards exceed the federal standards. Many states require all professional pesticide applicators to be certified, whether they use RUPs or non-RUPs.


Last updated May 2, 2012