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What is Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education or PACE?
Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education (PACE) is the process by which you expand your professional knowledge, making you a better applicator that is more valuable to your employer, the public, and the environment. The Division of Crop and Pest Management in the Department of Agricultural Resources require that you complete a minimum number of continuing education contact hours or credits within a three-year certification period.
Why do you need continuing education?
There are several reasons that the Division of Crop and Pest Management considers so important that it requires continuing education in order for you to maintain and retain your pesticide certification and/or license:
The public has confidence in pest management applicators as professionals, because they know that besides being tested and certified by the state, you are also required to obtain continuing education credits/contact hours. Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education (PACE) is based upon fundamental principles such as review of current knowledge and learning new technology. The justification for Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education (PACE) is that applicators of pesticides must continuously demonstrate a competency for handling potentially hazardous materials. Because of emerging pest development, emerging application technologies, and new pesticide products, such a Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education (PACE) allows for the applicator to be take advantage of educational opportunities approved by the Division of Crop and Pest Management in the Department of Agricultural Resources.
Do Pesticide Inspectors audit approved programs?
Yes, Division of Crop and Pest Management staff especially enforcement staff do monitor a number of programs and reserves the right to attend any approved training free of charge.
How many credits or contact hours do I need to maintain a pesticide certification or license?
As a user of pesticides, you can never get too much continuing education. The more sessions you attend, the more professional knowledge of the subject matter you gain, helping you do your job better, safer, and more efficiently. There are, however, minimum numbers of contact hours each type of applicator needs to accumulate within a three-year recertification period.
What is a contact hour?
One Contact Hour is equal to 50 consecutive minutes of training.
What qualifies as “acceptable continuing education?
The purpose of continuing education is to insure that PACE builds upon the existing base of knowledge that each pesticide applicator gains through the current licensure process. Ultimately, continuing education must ensure the responsible and informed practice of pesticide use in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts . To this end, certain components [333 CMR 10.08(3) (f)] must be met by all continuing education providers as follows:
Training should have the following core elements:
What is not “acceptable continuing education?
Training should not be the following:
What do the pesticide regulations require for continuing education?
All licensed and certified individuals, including applicators and dealers must accumulate contact hours. The number of contact hours required for each license or certification in each 3-year cycle is as follows:
How Do I Obtain Contact Hours?
Contact hours or pesticide credits can be obtained by attending approved training programs. A list of approve training programs is listed on this webpage.
What about web based or on-line training? What is the policy?
Individuals who hold a Massachusetts pesticide credential either core licensed (L) or a private or commercial certified are eligible to obtain contact hour/credits as a result of taking pre-approved online or distance learning CD training. However, the total number of contact hours/credit hours obtained for any online or distance learning CD course or module is not to exceed 1/3 of the total Massachusetts continuing education contact hour requirement to maintain or revalidate a pesticide certification and/or license NOTE: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires you to spend a minimum of 50 minutes on each course or module in order to receive one (1) contact hour or (1) credit. You must pass a post-test or exam with at least 80 % correct.
How far in advance do I need to send the PACE application for review and approval?
Current regulations require that training programs be receive no later than seven (7) days prior to any training, however, it behooves those who request approval of training to send us the completed application with as much lead time as practical such as 14-21 days in advance. Many sponsors have been accommodated on more than one occasion over the years. This will not continue as it creates conflicts to the entire process. Programs received less than 7 days will automatically be denied and credit cannot be approved after the fact.
What should I do with the approval certificate or form I receive at the approved PACE program?
Retain your certificates in a file that you’ve compile with the documents pertaining to your pesticide certification and license. Keep this file in a safe place, but one that is easily accessible by you. You might even consider keeping extra copies in another location too. It is very important to save the certificate you receive since this is your proof that you attended an approved PACE program. Note
Do not send this form to MDAR, only when you receive a formal audit notice
Do I need to fill out the approval certificate or form I receive at the approved PACE program?
Yes, the certificate of attendance will be having an authorized individual printed and signed name. Also, you who attended the approved program must print their name and sign the Certificate of attendance to be valid and satisfy pesticide credit audit. Finally, you need to be sure you obtain the certificate of attendance no matter what type of attendance system is being used by the provider or sponsor of the approved PACE program.
I saw a course offered in another state that looked interesting. Can this course be credited toward the contact hours I need?
Yes, but only if the program has been pre-approved by the Division of Crop and Pest Management in the Department of Agricultural Resources AND/OR the program is an approved program of the pesticide regulatory authority in the states of CT, ME, NH, RI, and VT.Note
Your approval certificate verifying your attendance must be on the official letterhead of the states listed above to be valid.
If I’m audited, is there an expiration date on the validity of the contact hours I’ve earned?
Yes. The contact hours you submit as part of the audit process must have been earned during the current certification or license period, i.e., within the last three years of the anniversary of the issue of your original pesticide license
I’m unable to locate any training opportunities and I’ve been recently audited. I don’t want to lose my pesticide certification or license? I don’t want to retake the state examination. What can I do?
First of all, don’t panic. You have a couple of options:
Is their a list of the certification categories or code designation in Massachusetts?
+Note: Category 41 includes rats and mice
*Note: Category 44 excludes rats and mice. This category is primarily for bird control.