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Pesticide Applicator Training

Pesticide applicator certification is a legal requirement for persons using restricted-use pesticides in any situation, as well as for those individuals who apply general-use products in a commercial situation and are required to be licensed by both state and federal regulations.

In 2014, Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Pesticide Safety Education Program conducted 275 meetings providing 927 hours of specific training to pesticide applicators. More than 2,900 pesticide applicators (2,001 private applicators and 906 commercial applicators) were trained in the safe and proper use of pesticides. The Pesticide Safety Education Program does not advocate the use of pesticides over other means of pest management. Rather, it focuses on the safe and proper use of pesticides by individuals who have already determined that pesticides are necessary in a given situation.

Private Applicators:

The Mississippi State University Extension Service conducts courses of training for private pesticide applicators wishing to obtain certification.  A private applicator is defined as an individual who is 18 years of age and who is producing an agricultural commodity on his/her land or on rented land. The county extension agent has the leadership role in providing training for private pesticide applicators and assures the completion of the application process for the certification of private applicators. The training and certification sessions are conducted within the counties of the state.  The sessions are scheduled by the county extension agents and are scheduled according to the policies handed down by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Mississippi State University Extension Service.  An individual seeking Private Certification should check with his/her local county office for dates of scheduled sessions.  

Commercial Applicators:

A commercial applicator is defined as anyone who does not meet the description of a private applicator and who wishes to apply a restricted-use pesticide. The Mississippi State University Extension Service publishes self-study materials (see Study Materials Order Form) for those individuals who are seeking first time commercial certification. To prepare for taking the commercial certification exam, an applicant should purchase the general standards core manual along with the particular category manual(s) pertaining to the type of pesticide application you will be doing. The commercial applicator program has 14 categories for which an applicant can seek certification. The applicant should study the manuals and plan to take the exams at either the office of the Bureau of Plant Industry (on any week day so long as the applicant notifies the Bureau 24 hours in advance at 662-325-3390) or at any of the five locations within the state where recertification sessions are conducted through the year (see Commercial Recertification Meetings Schedule for dates, times, and locations).  First time testing is offered at the same location(s) and at the same time(s) as the recertification sessions in a separate room. The Bureau of Plant Industry, which is the regulatory agency in the State of Mississippi, conducts and administers all certification exams.

Please Note: The recertification sessions are not a review for those individuals seeking first time recertification. The recertification sessions are only for those individuals who are already certified and must participate in continuing education training every three years in order to be recertified.

Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicators can preregister for recertification sessions by filling out the registration form and mailing a check for the $40.00 registration fee (See Recertification Registration Form), which guarantees your seat in the session and reserves your recertification manual. Payment must be received five (5) business days prior to the recertification meeting date. If you register at the door, you will pay a $50.00 fee and you might not have a recertification manual to use during the session.

For additional information including Study Materials Order Form questions, and Registration Form questions, please contact:

M. Eugene Merkl, Jr.
Program Coordinator, Pesticide and Herbicide Applicator
Recertification and Training

Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology
Mississippi State University
Box 9775
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775

Phone: (662) 325 5829
Fax: (662) 325 8837


The Bureau of Plant Industry administers all aspects of the licensing process in the state of Mississippi.  A Licensee is defined as anyone who applies a pesticide, either restricted use or general use, and advertises or collects a fee for the application.  If you wish to become licensed in Mississippi, you must submit an application form to the Bureau of Plant Industry, P.O. Box 5207, Mississippi State, MS  39762. The form can be obtained from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce web site at:

Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Professional Services Licenses Infosheet

Follow all instructions, print the form and submit to the Bureau of Plant Industry.  Incomplete applications will be denied.  Your application will be reviewed and you will be notified by letter if your application has been approved or denied. 

If you are approved, you will receive information on the location and time for the exam(s).  A reference sheet will be included listing reference material that may be helpful in your preparation for the exam(s).  The Bureau of Plant Industry does not provide copies of the reference material.  Please note that exams are given the second Tuesday of January, April, July and October at Mississippi State University’s Main Campus in Starkville.  The testing location will be stated in your approval letter.  The starting time for the exam(s) is 9:00 a.m.  You will have until 4:00 p.m. to complete all exam(s).  

For more information on licensing, please contact the Bureau of Plant Industry at 662-325-3390.