Obtaining and maintaining your Michigan pesticide applicator certification – Part 2 of 2

One way to be eligible for recertification as a pesticide applicator in Michigan is to earn a designated number and type of continuing education credits before your certification expires. How does that work?

Photo 1. For tips on filling out the recertification seminar record, or “the bubble sheet,
Photo 1. For tips on filling out the recertification seminar record, or “the bubble sheet," see bottom of article.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a restricted use pesticide (RUP) has “the potential to cause unreasonable adverse effects to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders without added restrictions....[the] classification restricts a product, or its uses, to use by a certified applicator or someone under the certified applicator's direct supervision.” In Michigan, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) oversees certification of pesticide applicators.

An applicator’s certification credential in Michigan is valid for three calendar years. There are two ways to recertify:

  1. Retake the exams and pass with a score of at least 70 and pay the renewal fee.
  2. Earn a sufficient number of recertification (continuing education) credits before the certificate expires and pay the renewal fee.

Details on the exam option were discussed in Part 1 of this article. Here we will look at earning recertification by collecting continuing education credits, or what are oftentimes affectionately referred to as seminar credits or “RUP credits.”

Recertification credits option

The number of credits required every three years for each applicator type is listed in the table, which is also available on MDARD’s website along with a handy one-page seminar attendance record sheet. For example, if you are a commercial applicator with Categories 1A and 1B, you will need to earn 24 credits (8 Core + 8 1A + 8 1B) before your credential expires. Although you will fill out the dreaded bubble sheet (Photo 1) at each continuing education meeting, you should keep your own record of your credits in the event that your sheet somehow gets lost and you need to show MDARD you did earn enough credits.

Applicator types and number of credits required every three years for recertification.

Applicator type

Credits required

Private Core


Commercial Core


Commercial Category (each)


Registered Core


Registered Category (each)


Standards (aerial/fumigation) (each)


So where and when are these continuing education meetings? There is a complete list of dates and locations for meetings for which RUP credits have been approved on MDARD’s website. Michigan State University Extension hosts numerous meetings throughout the year, mostly during the winter “meeting season” where topics applicable to pesticide applicators are discussed and recertification credits are available.

Generally speaking, one hour’s worth of relevant programming is equivalent to one RUP credit, but verify the details for each meeting. Be sure you acquire enough credits in each category for which you hold certification—again, verify details for each meeting about which types of credit are being offered. If you need to know how many credits you have earned to date, you can call MDARD at 1-800-292-3939 and they can look it up for you. (Note: They are working on updates to their website so that you will be able to check your credits yourself.)

Tips for filling out the recertification seminar record

  1. Accurately record the seminar code. This is the “golden ticket” to earning credit for the continuing education event, the one they usually won’t give you until you fill out the evaluation survey for the meeting. The last two digits (04 in the above example) indicate the number of credits offered.
  2. Bring your certification number with you to the meeting.
  3. The “Type of Certification” is found on the front of your applicator’s certification card (see Photo 2 from Part 1 of this article). The letter in front of the credential number indicates whether you are a Commercial, Private or Registered applicator.
  4. This is the type of credit you are applying for. Check with the meeting host to see which types of credit are being offered. If you are applying for Core credits, you do not fill in anything under “Category Credits” or “Standard Credits.” You may choose only one credit type for each given meeting. Make sure you acquire enough of each type of credit required for your certificate.

Other articles in series

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