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Pesticide Safety Education Program

Ohio State University Extension



Commercial Pesticide Applicator Licensing

A commercial applicator:

  • Applies pesticides for a business, on land owned by someone else, and usually for hire.
  • Also includes applicators who work for a government agency like a township, city, school district, park district, etc.,
  • and applicators who apply to publicly-accessible sites (apartment complexes with four or more units, restaurants and food service establishments, day care centers with preschools, hospitals and medical centers, and golf courses).


A list of commercial categories can be found here.


Commercial Applicator License Business License Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection  Trained Serviceperson

 Commercial Applicator License

  1. Send application form to ODA with $35 fee. Click here for application form.
  2. Click here for a frequently asked questions page about filling out the application.
  3. Study material can be purchased at: 
  4. Study the material! New applicator training opportunities are optional to help prepare for the test.  Click here to see if any classes are scheduled.
  5. Select an exam date and site. The exam is offered around the state of Ohio each year. Click here for the exam dates and sites.
  6. ODA will notify the applicator by mail with their exam results
    1. If the applicator did not pass an exam, they are able to retake the test. Only the exams not passed need to be retaken.
    2. If the applicator did pass the exams, they are a licensed applicator
  7. Upon passing appropriate examinations, the applicator will be licensed. The $35 fee will be paid annually. The applicator is required to be recertified every three years. Click here for information on the recertification requirements


Business License

A business license is required for a business that applies to the property of another for hire, or solicits and takes orders to apply pesticides. It is also required for a business that conducts wood-destroying insect diagnostic inspections in a contemplated real estate transaction.

  1. Send application form to ODA with $35 fee. Click here for a business application form.
  2. A business license requires proof of liability insurance. See the business application form for the amounts. No testing is required for a business license.
  3. A business must have at least one person in the company with a Commercial Applicator License.

There are four different types of business licenses:

Business license - ($35) License application for a business that applies pesticides to the property of another for hire, or solicits and takes orders to apply pesticides, or conducts diagnostic inspections for wood-destroying insects (WDI) in a contemplated real estate transaction.

Solicitation business license - ($35) License application for a company that solicits only to obtain business. This license type is prohibited from making pesticide applications. A solicitation company contracts with a licensed pesticide business in Ohio to perform applications.

Pesticide registered location - ($35) License application for any additional location or branch of a business operating in Ohio with the same name of a Pesticide Business that already has a pesticide business license in the state of Ohio.

Pesticide dealer - ($35) License application for a person or facility who distributes or sells restricted-use products to licensed commercial or private applicators.

Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection

The Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection category is required if you are doing termite and other wood-destroying insect inspections for a property that is in a real estate transaction. While you may not be making pesticide applications, you are required to apply for a commercial pesticide applicator license. You are also required to take a mandatory class. You need to complete the following items:

I do not currently hold a commercial applicator license:

I currently hold a commercial applicator license:

  • Complete mandatory training for Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection (click here for next class).
  • The business license must also have errors and omissions for Wood-Destroying Insect Inspections with the liability insurance.
  • Take the Category 12 exam for the commerical applicator license. Click here to see test schedule and register.You can also register by calling (614) 728-6987 to schedule an exam.
    • Exams are available at the conclusion of the mandatory training class. You may take the exams prior to the class, if you would like.

Click here for information on the next training class for Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection

Recertification Requirements for Wood-Destroying Insect Inspectors

To keep a Wood-Destroying Insect Inspector (WDI) license current, applicators must take 5 hours of recertification credit every 3 years. The specific requirements are:

1 hour of Core required

+ 4 hours additional time in any category (Note: Category 12/WDI does not require training in a specific category)

= 5 hours of time for recertification


Trained Serviceperson

 A trained serviceperson is an applicator who works under the direct supervision of a commercial applicator who is employed by the same company or agency. The trained service person has been instructed in the proper use of equipment and pesticides that will be used on the job.

Training required for trained servicepeople

New employees must be trained before their first occupational exposure to pesticides.

You may also attend the morning portion of our New Commercial Applicator Training to become a trained serviceperson. Click here for dates and information. 

Verification of Training

Documentation needs to be kept of the employee's training in their personnel file while they are employed with the company and for three years after leaving. If using the Trained Serviceperson Manual for the training, a documentation form is available on page six.

Direct Supervision Requirements

  • Licensed applicator must demonstrate instruction and control over trained serviceperson.
  • Licensed applicator must be within 25 miles or available within 2 hours when a pesticide application is being made by the trained serviceperson.
  • Licensed applicators providing supervision must be employed by the same company or agency as the trained serviceperson.