Iowa Pesticide Applicator Licenses and Certifications

Iowa Pesticide Applicator Licenses and Certifications 

Certified Applicators 

Each individual who applies pesticides for a state or county agency, municipal corporation or other government entity is required to be certified. Certified public applicators may obtain a one-year certification for $10 or a three-year certification for $15. Certifications are valid only when associated with a valid licensed agency. Written examinations are required for first-time applicators. Written exams are also required for individuals adding on certification categories and those persons choosing not to maintain continuing instruction credit hours.

The core examination and appropriate category test(s) must be successfully passed before application for certification can be made. Additional categories may be added anytime with no extra charge. Any category will carry the same expiration date as the card on which it is added. Each certified individual must be listed as an applicator under a current Iowa pesticide applicator license for that certification to be valid. 

Renewal of Applicator Certifications 

Each applicator is placed on a three-year “qualification cycle.” During those three years, an applicator may maintain a single-year certification by submitting a one-year fee and renewal form (certification renewal forms are provided by the Pesticide Bureau). A 30-day grace period from the date of expiration will be allowed for the renewal of the certification. At the end of the qualification cycle each applicator must indicate a method of renewal by: 

  1. Declaring that at least two hours of continuing instruction for each certified application category has been received for each of the previous three years and verification of having received training is on file with the applicator’s employer; or, 
  2. Completing written tests at the end of the third year of the “qualification cycle;” or, 
  3. Maintaining a combination of training and testing. 

Note: An applicator who misses two hours of training for any one category for any one year is required to complete written tests for that particular category. There are no provisions for “making up” missed continuing instruction hours to avoid the written test. 

Written applicator tests are offered daily, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wallace Building at East Ninth and Grand in Des Moines. If a group of ten or more is involved, please call (515) 281-4339 or (515) 286-5601 and make an appointment. Otherwise, no appointment is necessary. Photo identification is required. Tests are also offered on a limited basis at some cooperative extension service area offices. Please contact either the area office or the Pesticide Bureau for a current testing schedule.

Contact Information 

Licensing & Certification

Certification Testing Information

Pesticide General Information




Restricted-use Pesticide Recordkeeping 

These rules apply to both certified private and commercial applicators. The Iowa Pesticide Act requires applicators to keep records of all pesticide applications for 3 years. The federal regulations require pesticide applicators to record the following information within 14 days of the restricted use pesticide application: 

  • The brand or product name and the EPA registration number of the restricted use pesticide that was applied. 
  • The total amount of the restricted-use pesticide applied. 
  • The location of the application. 
  • The size of the area treated. 
  • The crop, commodity, stored product or site to which the pesticide was applied. 
  • The month, day and year on which the restricted-use pesticide application occurred. 
  • The name and certification number of the certified applicator who applied the restricted-use pesticide.

More information can found in this IDALS document.