The Nevada Pesticide Applicator Training Program trains pesticide applicators to become certified or recertified applicators of restricted use pesticides (Table 1). In 1972, the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act (FEPCA) amended the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) of 1947 to require that all pesticides be registered with the EPA and that they be classified as either “general use” pesticides or “restricted use” pesticides (RUP). The FEPCA (commonly called FIFRA, because of FIFRA’s long-standing use) defines a restricted use pesticide as a pesticide which, when applied in accordance with widespread and commonly recognized practices, may cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment including injury to the applicator.

The application of restricted use pesticides is limited to applicators that have been certified through a regulatory process to buy, use or supervise the use of restricted use pesticides. These pesticide applicators are called certified applicators. A licensed or custom pesticide applicator is defined in the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) as one who applies pesticides for hire and/or has a state business license for pest control. This license must be renewed annually with the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Commercial applicators are those who apply restricted use pesticides as part of their job, such as park and landscape workers, golf course employees, government workers, and others. Commercial applicators are not licensed to apply pesticides for hire and cannot advertise custom pest control services. Private applicators use restricted use chemicals for purposes of producing any agricultural commodity on their own or rented land without direct compensation for the service. Both commercial and private applicators must be certified legally by the Nevada Department of Agriculture to apply restricted use materials. Certification is for a period of four years, after which an applicator must recertify in order to continue to legally use restricted use pesticides. The Nevada Department of Agriculture administers the certification examination and certifies or recertifies pesticide applicators. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is charged with the training of pesticide applicators. Self study programs and training courses are available to help a person prepare for the certification exam. Most applicators complete a self-study course or attend pesticide applicator training, and then take the written exam for certification or recertification. Training courses are held on an annual basis at selected locations around the state. Persons who need certification or recertification are encouraged to attend. Certification is available to applicators in many categories of pesticide use. Although additional certification categories can be added as needed, presently an applicator can become certified in Nevada in any or all of the following categories, with the exception of USDA Wildlife Services personnel who are the only persons certified in Category 15.

Table 1. Nevada Pesticide Certification and Licensing Requirements for Applicators
Items Private Commercial Licensed/Custom
License Required No No All Pesticides
License Period None None Yearly
Certification/Recertification Required RUP¹ Only RUP¹ Only All Pesticides
Certification Period 4 Years 4 Years Not Applicable
Certification/License Method Written Exams Written Exams Written Exams/CEU2
Certification by Categories Required Yes Yes Yes, RUPs Only
License by Category Required No No Yes, All Pesticides
Direct Supervision Provision Yes Yes No
Immediate On-Site Supervision No No Yes
Continuing Education Units Required No No Yes-6 per year2

1Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP)

2Licensed/custom pesticide applicators (for hire and profit) must complete six continuing education units annually (one of which must cover laws and one of which must cover safety) regarding pesticide applications to renew their business applicator license.

  1. Agricultural Plant Pest Control
  2. Agricultural Animal Pest Control
  3. Forest Pest Control
  4. Ornamental and Turf Pest Control
  5. Seed Treatment
  6. Aquatic Pest Control
  7. Right-of-Way Pest Control
  8. Industrial and Institutional Pest Control
  9. Structural Pest Control
  10. Public Health Pest Control
  11. Fumigation
  12. Mosquito Pest Control
  13. Greenhouse and Nursery Pest Control
  14. Wood Preservatives
  15. M44/Predator Pest Control
  16. Chemigation
  17. Metamsodium

Who Needs Continuing Education?

All licensed Nevada pesticides applicators need to obtain six (6) units of continuing education each year, with at least one (1) unit relating to laws and regulations governing the use of pesticides and at least one unit in the safe handling and dispensing of pesticides. By obtaining these continuing education units (CEUs) each year, the licensed applicator qualifies to renew his/her Nevada custom applicator license. CEUs are not given for recertification to apply restricted use pesticides, only relicensing.

CEU training activities that may be accredited include but are not limited to: seminars, classes, meetings, Internet training, computer correspondence courses, university and/or college courses, traditional correspondence courses, viewing approved videos, and in-house training.

Pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances used to kill, destroy, repel, or mitigate pests such as insects, rodents, weeds, unwanted plant growth, molds, fungi, and bacteria. They are chemicals that have biological activity against the pest to be controlled, and they can be toxic to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. Both federal and state laws make users of pesticides responsible for properly applying pesticides according to their label directions and for properly disposing of excess pesticides and their containers.

In Nevada, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nevada Department of Agriculture must register all pesticides that are sold or used. This requirement is found in the FIFRA and the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS).

The label directions have been examined and approved by these regulatory agencies. When pesticide label directions are followed, proper pest control should be achieved and hazards or risks reduced. When pesticide label directions are not followed, the results of use are less predictable, risks increase, the pest may not be controlled and time and money are wasted. Almost all poisonings and other pesticide accidents can be attributed to failure to adequately follow the label directions. Consequently, use inconsistent with the labeling is a violation of federal and state laws. Fines, license or certification revocation, and imprisonment are penalties for pesticide misuse.

Pesticide users should follow label directions to protect the continued availability of a pesticide. When a pesticide is misused, further restrictions may be placed on its use. Continued misuse can lead to the cancellation of the pesticide registration thus making the product unavailable for use. Continued availability of a pesticide is dependent upon its proper and judicious use as directed on the label.

When you choose to use a pesticide, you assume legal responsibilities for its use. The applicator protects both the environment and the continued availability of a pesticide by carefully following all the instructions on the label.

The University of Nevada, Reno, a land grant university, participates in several USDA programs of national interest that relate directly to pesticide use. These programs are administered through the University Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Three of these programs are:

  1. The Nevada Pesticide Applicator Training Program. This program provides educational training and information to assist pesticide applicators in becoming certified or recertified to buy and use restricted use pesticides.
  2. The Nevada Pesticide Impact Assessment Program. This program collects information on the use and benefits of pesticides and conducts research on pesticide exposures, environmental impacts and application technologies.
  3. The IR-4 Minor Use Pesticide and Animal Drug Registration Program. This Program assists in obtaining pesticide and animal drug registrations for minor uses by conducting efficacy and residue studies.

These pesticide programs assist the agricultural industry of Nevada to efficiently produce food and fiber. The green, service and housing industries are benefited by better, safer pest control. These programs also assist in protecting the health and safety of pesticide applicators, the public and domesticated animals as well as the environment.

For more information about pesticide applicator training and certification, contact your local University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office. You may also write or call the State's Environmental Scientist, Bret Allen at 405 South 21st Street, Sparks, NV 89431 or 775-353-3715.

If you have questions regarding certification testing or licensing, contact the Nevada Department of Agriculture:

Las Vegas Office
2300 McLeod Street
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Telephone: (702) 486-4690

Reno Office:
350 Capitol Hill Avenue
Reno, Nevada 89502
Telephone: (775) 688-1182

Winnemucca Office:
1200 East Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Telephone: (775) 623-6502

Approved CEU Course List (Licensees)


All pesticides have both benefits and risks. Benefits can be maximized and risks minimized by reading and following the labeling. Pay close attention to the directions for use and the precautionary statements. The information on pesticide labels contains both instructions and limitations. Pesticide labels are legal documents and it is a violation of both federal and state laws to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. The pesticide applicator is legally responsible for the proper use of a pesticide. Always read and follow the label.

Cichowlaz, S., Johnson, W., McKie, P., and Moses, C. 2002, The Nevada Pesticide Applicator Training Program, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-02-02

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