Pest Control FAQ

These FAQs cover areas of interest to pesticide applicators and pesticide contractors.  For more information on our pest control program, including regulations and links to licensing, please see our main Agricultural Pest Control page.


You must obtain the appropriate type of pesticide applicator license in order to purchase, use, or supervise the use of

  • a restricted use pesticide, or
  • any general use or restricted use pesticide when providing pesticide applications for a fee

It depends on the type of pesticide you need to use and the manner in which you use it.

In order to purchase, use, or supervise the use of any restricted use pesticide on your property or the property of your employer, while engaged in the production of an agricultural commodity, a Private Applicator License is the appropriate license to obtain.

When not engaged in the production of an agricultural commodity, a Commercial Applicator License in the appropriate category is required to purchase, use, or supervise the use of restricted use pesticides on your property or the property of your employer.

In order to provide pesticide applications of any type of pesticide, whether general use or restricted use, to the property of another person, and collect a fee for these services, both a Commercial Applicator License and a Pesticide Contractor License are required.

Commercial Applicators must be in one ore more license categories.  Please see our detailed list of applicator license categories to determine which category you should choose.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service provides the training exercise necessary to obtain a private applicator license. You may arrange for this training to be provided to you by contacting the County Extension Agent in your County.

After you participate in the training session, your Extension Agent will send the necessary documentation to our Pesticide Program for processing, and your license will be printed and mailed to you.

This process may take three to four weeks to complete, but if you need to purchase or use a restricted use pesticide immediately, a temporary license number can be assigned to you. Just ask the County Agent to call us using the contact information below to obtain a temporary license number immediately upon your completion of the training exercise. This will allow you to purchase and use restricted use pesticides on your property or the property of your employer until your official private applicator license arrives in the mail.

In order to obtain a commercial applicator license, you must pass the commercial applicator examination provided by the Georgia Technical Colleges. This computerized exam is administered at several locations around the state numerous times during the course of a given year. Please visit to learn more about our commercial examination. You can select a location and date that is convenient for you. Simply follow the instructions at the site to register for the exam.

Please note that you will need to obtain study materials form the University of Georgia (material pricing varies). Ordering information is also located on the web site. A $45 exam fee will be charged by the Technical Colleges. Most colleges accept checks, credit cards or money orders. Once you pass the exam, you will need to mail in a check or money order in the amount of $90 made payable to the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Individuals who wish to obtain a commercial applicator license must pass the general standards examination, as well as least one major category examination with a score of 70%. The general standards exam is designed to test for general knowledge on the use of pesticides, while the category examinations are more specific to particular types of pesticide application.

We take the integrity of our course results very seriously. There are strong consequences for anyone found to be cheating on an exam.  Please see our Cheating Policy for full details.

Please review the Agriculture Rule 40-21-2 (Categories for Certified Applicators) to determine the appropriate category for the type of pesticide applications you will be making.  After you take and pass the commercial examination, test scores must sent into our office. Your license will be mailed to you within 2 weeks as long as all required documents and fees are submitted.

If you do not pass the computer exam the first time, you must wait until the following month to retest. You may not take any particular exam more than twice in any six (6) month period. Please note that the $45 exam fee will be charged each time you take the exam.

Records of examination scores for the general standards and category exams will be maintained by our Pesticide Program for one year from date of the first examination. Example:

  • If an individual passes the general standards exam but fails the category exam, the passing score on the general standards exam will be maintained for one year from the date of the first exam.
  • The individual could retest in the category only, for a period of one year and within the guidelines presented above, until the category exam is passed as well. After the category exam is passed, a commercial license will be issued to the individual based on the initial passing grade on the general standards exam, and the subsequent passing grade on the category exam.
  • The same would also pertain if the category exam was passed initially, but the general standards exam was failed.

However, both the general standards and category exams must be passed within one year from the date of the initial exam, or all test scores will be discarded and the applicant must again pass both the general standards exam and a category exam in order to become certified.

Both the private and commercial pesticide applicator's license are valid for a five-year period. The fee for the commercial pesticide applicator's license is $90, and there is no fee to obtain a private pesticide applicator's license.

You must be re-certified to renew your pesticide applicator's license. There are two options you may choose to accomplish this.

  1. You may take the commercial applicator's exam again to renew your commercial applicator's license, or participate in the private applicator training again to renew your private applicator's license.
  2. You can accumulate the required re-certification credit hours during your five-year license period. Please note that all re-certification credit hours must be received by our Pesticide Program office at least 90 days before your license expires.

Private applicators must obtain three (3) re-certification credit hours in order to renew the private applicator's license, and commercial applicators must obtain either six (6) or ten (10) re-certification credit hours per licensed category to renew the commercial applicator's license. To search for upcoming approved re-certification courses in your licensed category, please review the list of Pesticide Applicator Re-certification Courses. All licensees who obtain the required re-certification credit hours will be mailed a renewal notice approximately 90 days prior to license expiration.

The term "pesticide" is defined as any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, or repelling any pest or pests. This definition includes herbicides, insecticides, antimicrobials, plant growth regulators, defoliants, etc. Any individual, company, corporation or other business entity desiring to engage in the business of applying pesticides to the lands of another within the State of Georgia in exchange for money, shall secure a Pesticide Contractor's License. Furthermore, if you perform applications as part of a maintenance contract, you are subject to this requirement as well.

Each business office/location must have a Contractor's license and at least one certified commercial pesticide applicator employed at the location.

If your pesticide license is lost or damaged you may request a new one by calling or e-mailing our office. Also, if you have a change of address you should notify our office so important license renewal information can be sent to you. To request a new license contact our office using the contact information below.