What are my options when renewing my pesticide certification?

Pesticide applicators can now take their certification exam remotely.

Sprayer spraying crops in field.

According to a recent news release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), pesticide applicators can now take their certification exams remotely through the Metro Institute. An emergency rule extended pesticide applicator credential whose license expired Dec. 31, 2019, or Dec. 31, 2020, to June 30, 2021. In addition to extending the expiration date, the rule gives applicators six additional months to renew their credential via continuing education courses.

Brian Verhougstraete, MDARD's pesticide section manager, said "Between online and in-person exams at Metro Institute's testing centers, there is currently a lot of availability. However, as the June 30 deadline approaches, we expect exam availability to tighten up. We are strongly encouraging applicators to schedule their exams now."

With the recent addition of remote testing, pesticide applicators now have three ways they can renew their licenses.

1. NEW: Remote exam through the Metro Institute

To take a remote online exam, applicants will need a computer with a microphone and video camera, and a reliable high-speed internet connection. After an applicator passes an exam, they immediately get their results and are certified. The fee for online exams is $65 per test.

2. Recertification credits at training seminars

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.

In addition to the course, the Field Crops Virtual Breakfast series offers one credit every Thursday from now until Sep. 23, 2021. Visit the MDARD website for a list of seminars offering credits.

3. Proctored exam at a Metro Institute site

If you are testing via computer-based exams at an exam site hosted by Metro Institute, the completed paper application must be printed and mailed with the appropriate application fee via check or money order to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, P.O. Box 30776, Lansing, Michigan 48909. Cash and credit cards are not accepted.

With the cropping season nearing, do not forget to update your pesticide license. The deadline for those that need to renew their license by credits or by taking the exam is quickly approaching, so do not delay in scheduling an exam or finding classes that offer credits.

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