Do you need to become a licensed private applicator? Yes, if you are:

  • Applying restricted-use pesticides to your own land or rented land to produce an agricultural commodity.
  • Applying restricted-use pesticides to other areas on your farm such as grain bins, ponds, livestock, etc.

Ohio Private Pesticide Applicator License Requirements

To become a licensed private pesticide applicator, you will need to pass exams to purchase and apply restricted-use pesticides. Here's how to get started:

Prepare for Exams
  • You are required to hold "Core" and the category (or categories) that pertain to the crop(s) you are raising on your farm.
  • Core covers the basics of pesticide application, from reading the label to safety procedures and environmental stewardship. Each category is specific to the crops you are raising.
  • Study guides for Core and each category are available from your OSU Extension county office.

Here is a listing of the crop categories:

  • Core - All applicators are required to take the Core exam.
  • 1 - Grain and Cereal Crop
  • 2 - Forage Crops and Livestock
  • 3 - Fruit and Vegetable Crops
  • 4 - Nursery and Forest Crops
  • 5 - Greenhouse Crops
  • 6 - Fumingation
  • 7 - Speciality Uses
Register and take the exams
  • Register with ODA for an exam date and location by registering online at pested.osu.edu or by calling 614-728-6987. Exams locations are offered around Ohio every month.
  • After taking the exam, ODA will send a license application and invoice with your exam results letter.
  • Once you pass your exams, send in the completed application and $30 license fee to ODA.
  • If you need to retake an exam, you must wait at least one week from the last time you took the exam. Exams can be taken as many times as needed in order to pass.
  • Once the exams are passed and the $30 license fee is paid, you will receive the license in the mail.
License Renewal and Recertification

Your private pesticide applicator license will expire every three years on March 31. Before the license expires, you will need to:

  • Pay $30 to the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture.
  • Re-test in Core and each category on your license OR attend 3 hours of recertification training.


Ohio Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification

Do I need agricultural fertilizer certification?

Anyone who applies fertilizer for agricultural production must be certified. "Agricultural production" is defined as the cultivation, primarily for sale, of plants or any parts of plants on more than 50 acres. Anhydrous ammonia applications are included in this requirement; startup fertilizer applied through a planter is exempt. Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) and Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) who need certification are exempt from the training requirement, but should contact ODA's Fertilizer Program to obtain the certificate. 

To become certified for agricultural fertilizer applications: Attend a 3-hour class.

  • Attend a fertilizer certification training class offered by Ohio State University Extension. A schedule of classes can be found at www.pested.osu.edu or by contacting you the Extension Office. Most classes are held January through March.
  • Complete and sign the fertilizer certification form at the end of the training class. OR Pass a fertilizer exam offered by ODA. Call 614-728-6987 or visit www.agri.ohio.gov to schedule your exam.
  • If you have a pesticide license, you are done. If not, you will pay $30 for the fertilizer applicator certification. The invoice for the certification fee will be sent to you by the ODA after you complete the fertilizer certification training class or pass the exam. You will need to recertify in fertilizer application every three years.
To recertify in agricultural fertilizer applications: Attend a 1-hour recertification class every three years
  • Attend a 1-hour recertification training offered by the Extension office before your certification expires. Otherwise, you will need to re-test. You will receive a mailing with your fertilizer recertification renewal that has a schedule of classes available.
  • Complete and sign the recertification form at the end of the training class.
  • If you have a pesticide license, you are done. If not, you will pay $30 renewal fee every three years to maintain your certificate.