All About Pest Control License And Certification For Individuals And Businesses In United States (U.S)

Once you have decided to start your pest control service or become a pest control applicator, one big thing that stands between you and your dream or job is Licensing. With multiple questions in mind, you seek for one genuine resource where you get all the information you want.

All About  Pest Control License  And Certification For Individuals And Businesses In US

If you find yourself asking these, you are on the right page.

  • What should I apply for licensing or certification? Or do I need both?
  • What licenses or certifications I must have?
  • Where to get the license or certification?
  • Do I need to give exams?
  • What is validity? And more.

Here is a compilation of the basic requirements for licensing and certifications in one place to help you.

Let’s begin with the simple understanding of licensing and certification to know if you will need either or both. 

Licensing or certification

Licensing is the legal approval by government authorities that confirms, a person or business has met certain requirements for pesticide application. 

A certificate confirms your expertise in a sector. Sometimes, based on the certificate you have, you can apply for a license.

Therefore, both are important depending on the purpose you are looking for.

To get a license, you have to qualify for an exam and then fill a form and apply for the license. Pay the license fee. Next, submit both to the authority.

Certification is the first step to learn about pesticides and it’s applications. For license, you must appear for the EPA main exam. Also, there are state, city and territory-based exams which you have to crack to get certified. 

There is a license for both, pesticide businesses and pest control applicators. Here we shall take a look into the two separately.

Let’s first talk about business licenses

Business license

When you choose to work with business licenses, you need to have a basic understanding of the legal obligations associated with it. This sounds both intimidating and inevitable.

From researching to contacting government agencies and doing the necessary paperwork, we understand that obtaining a pesticide license demands more time and work. So, we have articulated this to help you negotiate the sturdy processes and help you find resources and knowledge that you will need.

Who needs a license?

Any individual or a company that would offer pest control service must have a business license for pest control which includes both primary and that for various cities.

What licenses or certifications you must-have?

Understand the basic categories of business licensee available and decide what you need for yourself.

The business licenses fall in these categories:

Ground Owner Operator License – For companies with the business of applying pesticides on the ground.

Aerial Owner Operator – Phenoxy License – For companies in the business of applying phenoxy pesticides by aircraft.

Aerial Owner Operator – Non-Phenoxy License – For companies who apply non-phenoxy pesticides by aircraft.

RUP Dealer License – For companies who deal with selling restricted pesticides or state restricted pesticides.

Agricultural Consultant License – For companies who offers consultation service for pesticides for a fee.

For better understanding and more information, here we share the link to the Department of Agriculture & Forestry for the state of Louisiana (Source-

Every state has respective websites or offline offices. More or less, the general regulations are similar, with some specificities that vary. It is suggested to get in touch with your city/ state’s offices to learn more in details.

How to apply for a pest control business license?

To apply for a  business license for the pest control sector, you have to submit the following documents in city offices or every business location:

  • Application for pest control business license
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Employee ID card applications for each employee and the certified operator(s)

License Fees

The business license fee is $300

The employee identification card fee is $10.

This may vary from state to state or based on your locality.

For individuals involving in pesticide application, you have to take pest control courses offered through a state’s department of agriculture or a similar governing body. You have to give the U.S. EPA’s National Pesticide Operator Core Exam. Besides that, your city or state may require other certifications. The EPA exam certifies to become a private or commercial pesticide applicator. Each state has its re-certification or renewal requirements.

Also, to add that people and businesses who carry out structural pest control service are licensed by the California Structural Pest Control Board and not DPR (Department of Pesticide Regulation ).

To know more, you can find here:

The state-specific pest control licenses are valid in other states as well that have similar licensing standards. You must find out from the respective governing body and if yes, you have to submit a reciprocity application to get permission for using your license in other states. For instance, Georgia pest control licenses retain validity in other states which meet the same standards in rules and legal matters.

EPA also has a list of patented technologies that are innovations made by EPA research. Businesses and individuals may  likely avail this licensing for own benefits and extra advantages. If you are interested, then you must apply for a license through the procedure of applying for and submitting it to the Federal Technology Transfer Act (FTTA) staff.

Licensing will involve:

  • Some amount of payment towards EPA as royalty.
  • Submission of annual sales reports.
  • Up-front payment

EPA will retain the incoming royalties associated with licenses and are shared among laboratory or office run by EPA where the invention originated.

When do you need a pest control business license?

According to pest control rules and regulations, you will require a pest control business license under the following situations:

1) When you have to apply any method, substance or device to get rid of, avoid, repel, curb, mitigate, or control pest in homes, offices or any premises and miscellaneous applications.

2) The need to identify or inspect for infections or infestations in any premise, be of personal use, official or other.

3) If there is any need to use an economic poison, pesticide, mechanical device to prevent, remove,  control, identify, inspect, mitigate, reduce or curb vermin, pest birds, insects, rodents, bats, or any other kind of pests in the premise.

4) All kinds of fumigation, that includes:

a)  Product treatment by vault fumigation

b) Fumigation of trucks, boxcars, ships, planes, warehouses, docks, and common carriers

5) Any type of advertisement, solicitation of, or acceptance of remuneration for any work mentioned above.

Who is exempted from the license?

According to the Food and Agricultural Code section 11531, you don’t need a pest control business license if your business deals with the following:

• If your business activity comes under structural pest control and must be licensed under Chapter 14; Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code.

• Treatment for the preservation of structural or fabrics items.

• Household or industrial sanitation services

• Seed treatment is required for someone’s regular business

• Live capture, exclusion or removal of bees, wasps, a vertebrate that are pests, without any use of pesticides.

Another scenario when you will be exempted from obtaining a business license is if your business is to offer services to new construction like pave driveways and parking lots, make new landscapes or develop new buildings or architectural structures. 

To mention, if you are tasked to use or monitor restricted pesticides, then you must have a Qualified Applicator License or Certificate (QAL/QAC) along with the pest control category you deal with.

What is required for getting a business license? 

To obtain a license for pest control business, you have to submit an application for the same, with some supporting documents like paperwork with business information and the required fee. For the fee, you must need to contact the local authorities in the state or city offices.

To obtain a business license for the pest control industry, you just need to meet the following criteria:

1) Your firm/company must have at least one licensed person as a supervisor who has a qualified pesticide applicator at every main and branch office.

2) Financial Responsibility Requirement:

  • Certificate of Insurance, PR-PML-052
  • Certificate of Insurance Requirement, PR-PML-0173
  • Acord Certificate of Liability Insurance form from an insurance company.

3) Documents verification for name and the business category:

  • Fictitious Business Name Statement for a business that runs under a made up name. This can be obtained from the County Recorder’s Office or the County Clerk’s office.
  • Certificate of Good Standing for any domestic or foreign corporation that functions in California. The corporation must have registration done with California Secretary of State’s Office.

4) Worker’s Compensation Insurance with every worker’s name, their license number, and when their policy expiry date.

After getting your license, what next?

By now you know how to obtain a license or what you will need to get them. Next, you must have to get the required forms from a city or state office or get them online. And let’s assume you have followed all the steps, submitted every document required to support your claims and you have got a license issued. What to do next?

You need to keep these following in mind:

  • Keep hold of the notification records for application of pest control license records for 2 years.
  • Keep hold of records of how much or how many pesticides used for 2 years.
  • Submission of a report for pesticide usage to the country office or authority where you applied for.
  • Have permits for every restricted material you used
  • Keep hold of recommendation by the agricultural pest control adviser, for a year.

County registration

You must need to register your license before you start with any work. The registration formalities are carried out in the county agricultural commissioner’s office.

This must be renewed annually and for a duration of a year from January to December.

If you have the Qualified Applicator License and applying for business registration, then you have to submit the following:

  • Qualified Applicator License  card with the applicable category(ies) of pest control.
  • License for pest control business.
  • List of equipment with count and types, that needed for pest control.

What are the fees for license and its renewal?

The fee for pest control business license is $160.00 per the calendar year and $80.00 for each branch office location.

Know that, to get your business license issued, you must need a qualified person in this field who can meet the requirements for business and the financial responsibilities as mentioned above in the Financial Responsibility Requirement.

Another information about the expiry date for a business license is that the duration is categorized alphabetically as the name, a business holds. For instance, the companies that start with names from A to L has an expiry on 31st December  of the even-numbered years (i.e., 2002, 2004, 2006, etc.) and the business licenses that bear names from M to Z expires on 31st December  of the odd-numbered years (i.e., 2003, 2005, 2007, etc.)

Fees for license renewal and other changes, if any

Congratulations, you got your license. It was a strenuous procedure with lots of paperwork and time spent. Now you can start running your dream, but wait for your license comes with an expiry and before the date, you must get it renewed.

Now, it becomes essential to know everything about the license renewal and the processes associated with it. 

Well, to start with, the license renewal fee is $160 for every year. This must be paid biennially, therefore, making the amount at $320. For the offices in branch locations, the fee is $80.00 for a year, and also must be paid biennially and the total cost is about $160.00.

If there is a late renewal of the license, then a charge of 50% of the total renewal fee will be obtained for each license after the expiration period.

If there is any need for a change of name of your business or address, then it can be done with a minimal payment of $20.

The same amount of $20 will be charged if you need to replace your license or require a duplicate one.

License duration

A business license may be issued for two years. The license duration depends on when the license was issued and the time of the renewal cycle.

A renewed license has validity for years if not renewed late. 

The duration of the license and the fees may vary from one state to another. It is suggested to learn from the local governing bodies of respective cities or states.

  • For instance, Florida pest control licenses have a duration of 4 years with $100 – $300 as renewal fees.
  • The pest control license for  Georgia has a validity of 5 years and $90 as a renewal fee.

Licenses and certifications for applicators

If you are a person and you want to get the permit and certificate of expertise, you may find your answers here.

Every state has its processes for licensing, certification and their renewal or requirements.

According to federal law, any person who applies or supervises restricted use pesticides or RUPs must get certified under EPA regulations and state, territorial and tribal laws.

To get certified, you must apply with the respective authorities. Also, take a look if there are any requirements for stricter federal requirements. For instance, several states offer licenses and certifications for every kind of pesticide applicator, not just those who use RUPs.

If you want to apply for RUPs, take a look.

For any state or territory, contact

Most states have a specific education program for every kind of certification. 

For Indian country, get information about certifications here. (

EPA keeps a look over territory, tribal and federal agencies certification programs to ensure that they meet standards.

Federal certification for pesticide applicators

According to Federal law, any person responsible for the application or supervision of RUPs must be certified as a private or a commercial applicator.

A private applicator applies pesticides on agricultural commodities on land that is owned by you or your employer rented out for. 

The rest who do does not meet the description of a private applicator, comes under commercial applicators.

Private applicators are certified by a state, territory, or tribe by:

  • Qualification of oral or written test.
  • Attend a training course.
  • An approval by EPA.

Commercial applicators are certified by a state, territory, or tribe by:

  • Qualification of oral or written test
  • Qualification of a performance-based test.
  • An approval by EPA.

To know more about numerous licensing and certification programs, follow the link :

Who doesn’t need to get certified for Federal Certification under the EPA Plan?

The following types of pest control applicators, don’t need to apply under EPA plan.

  • Applicators who use general pesticides.
  • Applicators who are not applying RUPs in Indian country
  • Applicators who works directly under the supervision of a federally certified applicator.
  • Fertilizer applicators

Some common mistakes to avoid

By now, you must have realized that obtaining a business license for pest control is a long task and how frustrating it could be when you do any manual error. So, here we jot down some application errors that may happen and when you are cautious, you can avoid a disappointment.

Take a look at the common errors to avoid them completely.

1) Incorrect fees submission

2) You omit the insurance documents

3) You may submit insurance documents but they don’t the application requirements

4) You forgot to mention the business category you are applying the license for. 

5) You do not mention a qualified person with a pest control license or certification in your company.

These are easy to do errors and you can avoid them with a mindful and thorough reading of the instructions and guidelines in the application and then properly mail your application to the correct email ID mentioned. 

For any queries and doubts, you can take help:        

Phone: (916) 445-4038

You may also visit their office i the below mentioned address and learn about the various licenses in person. You can clear all your doubts and better understanding about all the paperwork to be carried out and a successful  application for license.

“Department of Pesticide Regulation

Pest Management and Licensing Branch

Licensing and Certification Program

1001 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814-2828″

If you have time constraint of the office location is far from your place, no worries. You can simply mail them in the following address:

Department of Pesticide Regulation

Pest Management and Licensing Branch

Licensing and Certification Program

P.O. Box 4015

Sacramento, CA 95812-4015

How long after expiration will I be able to renew?

If you meet all the requirements, then you will have a year (12 months) post expiration of certificate/ license to renew and pay the late fee. If the date of expiry exceeds the time frame of 12 months, then you will require to give a re-exam as a new applicant in “Laws and Regulations” and all categories.

Till now, we have discussed licenses and certifications, how to get them and the associated requirements. We hope this could help you with many of your queries and doubts. Before we conclude, let’s take a look at the IPM certification that would be an advantage to your purpose.

A look into the IPM Certification Programs

IPM or integrated pest management is a scientific way to handle pest issues.  And many people now have become environmentally conscious and want an eco-friendly approach to deal with pest issues. More and more consumers, now hire companies with an IPM certification or them who follow certain IPM practices.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and the Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB) strongly backs IPM principles and practices. Therefore, many organizations are now offering  IPM-certified programs to their customers, leading to a reason for competition on the same.

An IPM certification program verifies that pest management professionals use effective products that are safe for people and locality where they are applied.

Every IPM program needs field audits to ensure that standards are met and the right kind of precautions are taken.

How can your company get IPM certification?

An IPM certification can help grow your business and earn more customers.

Currently, there are 3 certification programs available by:

  1. GreenPro
  2. Green Shield
  3. EcoWise

Each varies with the kind of criteria and requirements. There is no IPM certification for landscape pest management, though programs like Bay Friendly Landscaping includes integrated pest management in their guides and principles.

When you are IPM certified, you can add this to your advantage to stand out among the competitors and also educate your customers about the benefits and requirements of  IPM for safe pest removal.

GreenPro certification

GreenPro is the largest IPM certifier in the US.

Under this certification program, a pest service company must have at least an employee who is IPM certified.

With certification by GreenPro, it is mandatory to carry out inspections and properly monitor and companies must initiate preventive practices like removal of water, food, habitat, or access to buildings before using any pesticide.

During monitoring, if it is found that pesticides are needed,  the most environmentally safe pesticide will be applied after consulting g with the customer. 

Green Shield Certification

This is regulated by the IPM Institute of North America. They have similar standards as GreenPro but the program only provides some approved pesticides to the service providers. Therefore Green Shield certification has extra assurance about safety and eco-friendly approaches.

The Green Shield certified companies look after the wellbeing of healthcare units, schools, and public buildings. The duration to acquire certification maybe six weeks to six months and is carried out under strict inspection by integrated pest management institutes. 

EcoWise Certified certification

This started as a project by the ABAG or Association of Bay Area Governments and currently a project of the Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC). Recertification is needed every 3 years.


With this blog, we have brought together the basic information required for you to start your business in the pest control sector or as a person who starts as a pesticide applicator. 

Besides the general rules and regulations, there are many other requirements and fees as per state, territory or city. We hope our assistance will help you start your business in your state.

When you are just wondering how, to begin with,  this piece of information can help you in many ways.

This long we were discussing the paperwork, certificates, and license that you need to start a pest control business. Let us assume that many of you will start your own business very soon. So, here we also share a success tip to stay ahead in the race you are going to become a part of.

True that, it is a huge task to navigate your ways through the unknown. Also, it is difficult and challenging to establish yourself an stand out among the rest.

The pest control industry is booming in the US and you have a long way to go.

You don’t need to bother much, with technological advances, now you can negotiate many of your worries. A pest control software can be handy in doing away unnecessary concerns and save your time, as you invest more into business planning and strategies to grow and expand.


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