Ministry of Agriculture

Certification & News

Pesticide Applicator Certification & Recertification

People applying certain pesticides on farms and ranches in BC must have a valid pesticide applicator certificate. The BC Ministry Environment issues pesticide applicator certificates, dispenser certificates and licenses for pest control companies and pesticide sales outlets. Worker’s Compensation Board may also require pesticide applicators on farms/ranches to have a pesticide applicator certificate from Environment. Occasionally pesticide labels state that a product can only be used by a certified pesticide applicator.


Who needs to be certified?

  • People applying restricted pesticides must be certified according to the BC Ministry Environment. Restricted pesticides will have the word “Restricted” on the front of the pesticide label.
  • Workers’ Compensation Board says anyone applying pesticides that are moderately or very toxic must have an applicator certificate issued by the Ministry of Environment.
  • The Crop Production Guides' toxicity tables indicate when certification is needed.
  • When certification is required, it is the person applying the pesticides who needs to be certified. This includes the person driving a tractor that is pulling a sprayer.

Is a certificate needed to purchase or to use pesticides?

  • An applicator certificate is needed to purchase and use “Restricted” pesticides.
  • Workers Compensation Board only requires an applicator certificate to use certain pesticides. WCB does not regulate buying pesticides.

Do my employees need to be certified?

  • Any employee that applies a “Restricted” pesticide must be certified. If your farm/ranch is covered by WCB, then any employee who applies a very or moderately toxic pesticide must also be certified.

How do I get certified?

What category of pesticide applicator certificate do I need?

  • Most farmers/ranchers will need an “Agricultural General” certificate. This certificate is for managing pests associated with agricultural production of field, orchard, nursery and greenhouse crops, livestock, poultry, forest seedling nurseries, and seed cone orchards. This category is for custom applicators, private growers or farm workers. There are other categories including: “Agricultural Gopher Control”, “Landscape General”, “Industrial Vegetation/Noxious Weeds”. For more details on these other categories see:
  • Note: Landscapers who grow their own ornamentals only need to be certified in the Landscape General category. They do not need to have an Agricultural General certificate in addition to Landscape General.

How much does it cost to become certified?

It costs $90.00 to write the pesticide applicator certification examination. The fee does not include the cost of buying study materials or taking a course.

Do I have to take a course to become certified?

No, you can study at home or with friends and then write the exam.

Can I use my old study materials?

Some of the old study books can still be used. The list of the acceptable study materials is at:

Where can I sign up for a pesticide applicator course?

Sometimes colleges and farm agencies/associations teach pesticide applicator courses. Contact nearby colleges, Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA), or your grower association to see if they are offering any courses. You may also refer to the Ministry of Environment Website for a list of private trainers in B.C.


Colleges and agencies that have taught pesticide applicator courses in the past include:

Colleges and Agencies Location Web address or
phone number
Camosun College Victoria
Capilano University North Vancouver
College of New Caledonia Prince George
College of the Rockies Kootenays
Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association Throughout BC
Phone toll free at
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey
Vancouver Island University Nanaimo
Okanagan College Okanagan Valley
Pacific Horticultural College Victoria
Selkirk College Kootenays
Thompson Rivers University Kamloops
University of the Fraser Valley Chilliwack



How often must an applicator be recertified?

Since a certificate is valid for one or five years, applicators must be recertified every one or five years. The number of years a certificate is valid depends on the mark on the exam. A one year certificate is issued when the exam mark is between 60% and 74%. A five year certificate is issued when the exam mark is 75% or greater. A certificate will not be issued if the exam mark is less than 60%.

Can I become recertified without writing and exam?

Yes, in some areas in BC applicators can become recertified by collecting continuing education credits. This is only allowed after an applicator has received a 5 year certificate by writing the exam.

How do I become recertified by collecting continuing education credits?

An applicator must obtain 20 continuing education credits over five years to become recertified. The applicator must first contact one of the following organizations and sign up for their credit recertification program.

Organization Contact Phone or E-mail
BC Fruit Growers Association Glen Lucas 250 762-5226
Integrated and Environmental Plant Management Association Dudley Gordon 250 493-2767
Integrated Vegetation Management Association of British Columbia Laura 604 732-7117
Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association Sandy Gordon 604 857-0318
BC Structural Pest Management Association Melanie Johnston
BC Landscape and Nursery Trades Association and Western Canada Turfgrass Association Jerry Rousseau

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Pesticide Vendors

Do people selling pesticides need to be certified?

Yes, businesses selling agricultural pesticides must have a Vendor License and their staff must have Pesticide dispenser certificates.

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Custom Applicators

If a farmer hires a company to apply pesticides to their crops, are there any requirements for the company?

All custom applicators must have a valid Pest Control Service License issued by the BC Ministry of Environment. The people applying the pesticides for pest control companies must have a valid pesticide applicator certificate.

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