Pesticide course offered for private and commercial pesticide applicators

New online course for restricted use pesticide applicators offering 12 credits.

Pesticide sprayer
Pesticide sprayer. Photo by Hannah Stevens.

Safely applying pesticides is a responsibility that all agriculture shares. Private and commercial pesticide applicators must adhere to high safety standards when they are handling pesticides. To ensure that pesticides are used appropriately and all measures are made to protect humans and the environment, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) was enacted in 1947. FIFRA is the cornerstone of pesticide rules and regulations. Some of the key points of this act are:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority of stop the sale or use of a product at any time.
  • Sets the standards for consistent labeling and packaging throughout the U.S.
  • Allows EPA to determine pesticide classifications: general use pesticide or restricted use pesticide (RUP).
  • Divided pesticide users that use RUP into two groups: private and commercial applicators.
  • Authorized states to license private and commercial pesticide applicators.

In Michigan, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is the agency that enforces the mandates set up in FIFRA. Those that want to use restricted use pesticides must initially take an exam demonstrating their competency in the understanding of pesticide laws, labeling, how to safely handle pesticides, and how to safely apply pesticides so that there is minimal impact to human health and the environment. Once an applicator passes the exam, they will be certified to purchase or use RUP pesticides for three years. Certified users can elect to take the exam after the time has expired or they can attend classes to obtain credits prior to their certification expiration. Private applicators need 16 credits; commercial applicators need eight core credits and eight credits for every category they are licensed in.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan State University have developed an online course for private and commercial pesticide applicators. This course is designed for new certification and those in need of further education or credits. Those that complete the course will obtain 12 RUP credits, private core and commercial core. Course information and registration can be found at the MSU Extension Pesticide Training website.

Regular price for the course is $75 per person. Veterans and those that have an annual income of $20,000-$40,000 will get a reduced price of $35, and for those with an annual income of less than $20,000 can access the course for free. Companies can purchase five to 10 spots for $50 each and 10 or more spots for $35 each.

For more information on the MSU Extension Pesticide Recertification Course, please contact Christina Curell at If you have general pesticide applicator questions, contact John Stone at 517-353-5134 or

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