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Pesticide Training, Education, & Licensing in Arkansas

Applying pesticides requires appropriate education and training - also known as certification or recertification - to assure safe and effective use. 

There are two steps to the process: Certification followed by licensing.  (Certification is typically good for 5 years.)

  • After obtaining your certification, you can get a 1-year or 5-year private applicator license from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Plant Industries Division, Pesticide Section.
  • Pesticide Education and Certification is the responsibility of the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. 
  • Pesticide licensing, rules, regulation, and enforcement are the responsibility of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Plant Industries Division, Pesticide Section.
  • An individual is not eligible to purchase or apply restricted use pesticides until a license is issued.
  • Contact the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Plant Industries Division for information regarding certification and recertification exams and the requirements for pesticide applicators.

Extension Licensing Specialist:
Ples Spradley, Extension Pesticide Safety Education specialist, 501-671-2234.

Three types of pesticide applicators:

  • Private applicators are individuals who use restricted use pesticides to produce agricultural commodities on property owned or rented by them or their employer. Example: farmers/growers. Restricted use pesticides are not labeled for home gardens. Therefore, a pesticide license is not required, nor available, for home gardeners.
  • Commercial applicators are individuals who use restricted use pesticides (normally for hire) for any purpose or on property other than that specified for defining private applicators. Examples: aerial applicators, custom applicators, etc.
  • Non-Commercial applicators are individuals who use restricted use pesticides but do not qualify as a private applicator nor require a commercial applicators license. Examples: researchers, Extension agents, chemical company representatives, etc.

Private Applicator Training for Farmers, Ranchers, and Growers

You must be involved in the commercial production of agriculture commodities on your own farm or the farm of your employer to qualify as a private applicator.  Home gardeners do not qualify for a private applicator license. 

All of the extension service training for certification or recertification of private applicators costs $20 per person.  The license fee is a separate fee that must be paid to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Plant Industries Division, Pesticide Section. The Extension Service does NOT issue licenses.

Commercial/Non-Commercial Pesticide Applicator License for Applying Restricted Use Pesticides

The following information applies to the Commercial and Non-Commercial agricultural pesticide applicator categories of:

  • Agricultural Plants
  • Agricultural Animals
  • Demonstration and Research
  • Forestry
  • Wood Treatment
  • Right of Way
  • Public Health
  • Aquatic
  • Seed Treatment
  • Regulatory

For licensing information regarding other categories,  Contact the Plant Board.

Man wearing protective gear is mixing and loading pesticide for spraying.

The MP Series contains the recommendations for fungicides, herbicides and insecticides

The "Ask the Pest Crew" page lists numerous publications primarily concerned with pests and pesticides used in and around homes and yards. You can also submit a photo with plant damage for assistance or identification of herbicide injury.

Two men calibrating boom sprayer.

Be certain to wear protective gear when handling, mixing or applying pesticide and all application equipment is properly calibrated.  Calibrating spray equipment not only helps ensure efficacy in controlling target pests, but help save money by applying the proper amounts of a pesticide.  Keep complete records of all pesticides purchased and applied.  Remember to follow the label when using any pesticide.  The label is the law -- not just a recommendation.

Pesticide Application Licensing

The Extension Service does not issue licenses. 

You may obtain a current Application for a License form from your county Extension office or download the form from the Plant Board's website: (form DP-25 form).

You can get either a 1-year ($10) or 5-year ($45).

It is the applicant's responsibility to fill out form DP-25 and mail it to the Plant Board with the licensing fee. The Plant Board will then process your application and send you a license by mail.

Note: Applications must be filled out completely. Failure to include the required information will result in license issuance delays. The license will list the expiration date for the license and the recertification required by date.

It is very important that you attend the training sessions at least once every three years to maintain your recertification.


Ples Spradley
Extension Pesticide Safety Education specialist