Initial Certification Training for Private Pesticide Applicators

How do I get a Private Pesticide Applicator license in South Carolina?

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.

To become licensed as a Private Applicator in the state of South Carolina, you must:

  1. Complete an approved Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program;
  2. Pass a written Private Applicator Certification Exam.
  3. Fill out and return an Application for South Carolina Private Pesticide Applicator's License with the appropriate licensing fee to the Department of Pesticide Regulation.
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What is a Private Pesticide Applicator Certification Training Program like?

An approved Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program consists of:

  • 17 videotaped units of Core instruction on pesticides and pesticide applicator safety, requiring approximately eight (8) hours to complete, this is usually accomplished by a day-long program or a program covering two evenings;
  • A Pretest and Post-test, which are given at the beginning and at the end of the training and used to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.

Units 1-12 coincide with the twelve chapters of the Core Manual, Applying Pesticides Correctly: A Guide for Private and Commercial Applicators (1992). In addition, there are 5 units on specific laws and regulations pertaining to pesticide use in South Carolina (Units 12a-12e): South Carolina Chemigation Act, Endangered Species Act, Pesticide Residue Removal for Container Reuse/ Recycle, USDA Recordkeeping and the EPA Worker Protection Standard.

There are 17 individual workbooks that go along with each of the 17 units presented on the video tapes. The 17 individual workbooks are not formal tests and are not graded. These workbooks are teaching aids to help the trainees master the subject matter presented in each unit. The workbooks must be completed and discussed one at a time immediately following the viewing of the corresponding unit on the video tape. Trainees may keep their copies of these workbooks.

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 will only be used by the Pesticide Information Program to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, to see if the trainees improved their knowledge of the safe use of pesticides. Trainees are not required to put their names on these "tests", rather they should be given a unique number so that the Pretests and Post-tests can be matched and scored in pairs and sent to the Pesticide Safety Education Program Coordinator in the Department of Entomology, Soils, & Plant Sciences at Clemson University.

A Training Evaluation will also be completed by each trainee at the end of each training session. A copy will be mailed back to the Pesticide Information Program along with the Pretests and Post-tests. The feedback received from these evaluations will help to plan future trainings.

Every person who completes an approved Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program will be offered the opportunity to receive a certificate stating that they attended the training, whether or not they go on to take the Private Applicator Certification Exam.

Following every approved Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program, a Private Applicator Certification Exam will be given as part of the Private Pesticide Applicator Training. Any trainee who wishes to take the Private Applicator Certification Exam may do so. Anyone wishing to become licensed as a Private Applicator in the state of South Carolina must take and pass this exam. These exams are graded by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, not the county Extension office. Private Applicator license applications and licenses are issued by the Department of Pesticide Regulation.

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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 the pesticide label and follow the instructions on it.

This exam determines your ability to read and understand a Restricted Use Pesticide label. Therefore, 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.

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How do I sign up for Private Pesticide Applicator Certification Training?

To sign up for an approved Extension Pesticide Applicator Training Program, you can look on the Calendar of Statewide Private Applicator Initial Certification Trainings found on this web site. Many, but not all, of these trainings are posted on this site.

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 the "The Name of Your County", County of--, Clemson University Extension Service. You can also view a list of County Extension Pesticide Training Coordinators and their phone numbers on this web site.

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