Frequently Asked Questions about Private Applicator Certification

How do I get a Private Pesticide Applicator license in South Carolina?
To become licensed as a Private Applicator in the state of South Carolina, you must complete an approved Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program, which includes a written Private Applicator Certification Exam.

A Private Applicator License in South Carolina is required for applicators who will be using Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) in the production of an agricultural commodity (products from farms, nurseries, greenhouses and forests) on land that they or their employers own, rent or lease."

What does an approved Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program consist of?

  1. Completion of core instruction on pesticides and pesticide applicator safety (17 videotaped units). This is usually accomplished in one day-long or two evening programs.
  2. Completion of both a Pretest and Post-test, given at the beginning and at the end of the training, which is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.
  3. Completion of the Private Applicator Exam.

What is a Pretest/Post-test?
A Pretest is given to each trainee at the beginning of each training session before any training begins. A Post-test is then given at the end of the training. These scores are not used to determine a trainee's passage or failure of the training and have no effect on whether the trainee receives a license. These scores are used by the Pesticide Information Program to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, to see if the training improves knowledge of the safe use of pesticides.

What is the Private Applicator Certification Exam?
The Private Applicator Certification Exam is a short, multiple-choice exam, consisting of 10 questions. The answers to these 10 questions can all be found in the sample label, which is part of the exam. In order to legally apply a pesticide, you must be able to read a pesticide label and follow the instructions on it.

This exam determines your ability to understand a Restricted Use Pesticide label. You will be required to read the exam yourself. No one may read any part of the exam to you. You must correctly answer at least eight of the ten questions in order to pass.

The private applicator exam is graded by the Department of Pesticide Regulation not the county Extension office. You will receive a license application from the Department of Pesticide Regulation if you pass the exam.

How do I sign up for Private Pesticide Applicator Certification Training?
Go to the Calendar of Private Pesticide Applicator Certification Trainings > >

Many, but not all, of these trainings are posted on this calendar. If you don't find one for you, call your local County Extension office and ask them for a time and location that will meet your needs. You will find a phone number for your local Extension Service Office by looking in the phone book under "Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service" or see the website.
Locate County offices > >

If I am already a licensed Pesticide Applicator, do I need any more training?
Yes, licensed applicators must be recertified periodically.
See Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training > >

How do I know if I need a Commercial Pesticide Applicators License?
If you will be applying pesticides for someone else and getting paid for it, then you are doing commercial pesticide application. If you are working for a government agency, you are considered a noncommercial applicator and will need to be licensed as such.
Go to Commercial/Noncommercial Pesticide Applicator information > >