Introduction
Before ordering your study materials and completing an exam registration application, you must decide what type of Pesticide License Credential you need and what exam registration application you are eligible to submit. The following are the four different types of pesticide licenses or certifications issued by the Department of Agricultural Resources for the use or sale of pesticides in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

No Reciprocal Pesticide Licensing Offered in Massachusetts
Please Note:  Massachusetts is no longer granting reciprocal pesticide licenses.  Regardless of your licensure experience in other states, you must take and pass the appropriate Massachusetts pesticide exam and obtain the appropriate Massachusetts pesticide credential in order to legally work in the Commonwealth as a pesticide applicator.  The requirement also applies to pesticide dealers selling Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP).

Commercial Applicator (Core) License
This is the credential you need if you have never had a Commercial Applicator License before and plan to use general use pesticides on the property of another for hire or as part of your current job duties on the property of your employer or property leased by your employer. This is the type of credential required for an individual to apply general use pesticides, or any restricted use pesticide under the direct supervision of a certified applicator, for hire or compensation for any purpose on any property other than as provided by the below definition of "private applicator certification".

Commercial Certification
This is the credential you need if you have have maintained a Commercial Applicator License, a.k.a. core license, for two (2) or more years in Massachusetts or in another state during the past five (5) years, and you plan to use restricted use pesticides (RUP's) on the property of another for hire. Commercial certification is the credential for pesticide applicators who use or supervise the use of any pesticide which is classified as restricted use for hire or compensation for any purpose or on any property other than as provided by the below definition of "private applicator certification".

Individuals whom do NOT already have Pesticide Licensure in Massachusetts but do Have 2 or More Years of Pesticide Application Experience in Other States:
Those with two or more years of equivalent experience in another state are NO LONGER permitted to by-pass the Massachusetts Applicator License Exam (Core Exam), but must follow the process outlined below before seeking a Commercial Certification Credential.  Although, such individuals with two or more years of experience as a pesticide applicator in another state are required to take and pass the Commercial Applicator License Exam (core exam), they are  NOT; however, required to wait an additional two-years to upgrade their credential to one with certification category(ies).  Such individuals should follow the below guidance: 

  1. Register for the Massachusetts commercial applicator license exam (a.k.a. core exam). 
  2. Take and pass the Massachusetts commercial applicator license exam (a.k.a. core exam).
  3. Submit completed core license application form with proof of insurance and applicable fee.
  4. Receive the core applicator license . 
  5. Submit an exam registration application for the desired Massachusetts commercial certification category along with documentation; such as, MDAR resume form, outlining the two or more years of experience in other state(s).
  6. Take and Pass the Massachusetts commercial certification exam in the applicable category.
  7. Submit completed commercial certification application form with proof of insurance and applicable fee.
  8. Receive the commercial certification credential in the applicable category.

Private Certification
This is the credential you need if you are a grower or farmer and plan to use  restricted use pesticides (RUP's) on your own property, the property of your employer, or property rented by your employer for the purpose of raising agricultural commodities. Agricultural commodities can include, but are not limited to, products like cranberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, greenhouse plants, sod, nursery stock, blueberries, apples, etc. Private certification applicator credentials are for private applicators who use or supervise the use of restricted use or state limited use pesticides for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by him or his employer or without compensation other than trading of personal services between producers of agricultural commodities.

Dealer License
This is the credential you need if you intend to sell either federal restricted use pesticides or pesticides classified as state restricted use or state limited use pesticides to individuals maintaining a valid commercial or private pesticide applicator certification credential. A dealer license is not required for individuals that are only selling  general use pesticides.

Registering for the Exam and Obtaining Study Materials
Now that you know what type of Pesticide License Credential you need, it's time to obtain your study materials and register for the exam. You may even want to attend an exam preparation workshop administered by the University of Massachusetts Pesticide Education Program. All the information you need to navigate this process, including--study material order forms, exam registration applications, exam schedules, etc. is found in the Pesticide Examination and License Information Bulletin.