Tennessee has modified state laws and regulations concerning the use of pesticides, and applicators need to be aware of how those changes might affect their certifications. To apply restricted-use pesticides, an applicator must be certified or working in the direct supervision of a certified applicator. There are two types of certified pesticide applicators: the private applicator and the commercial applicator.
A private applicator is an individual who uses, supervises the use of, or buys any restricted-use pesticide for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by him or his employer or, if applied without compensation other than trading of personal services between producers of agricultural commodities, on the property of another person.
Private applicators must successfully complete a specialized training session provided by University of Tennessee Extension. Training reviews the proper use of restricted-use pesticides. Private applicator certification expires on October 21, of the third year of the certification period. October 21, 2014, will mark the end of the current certification cycle.
If a private applicator wishes to maintain certification, the applicator should attend a recertification training session offered by the UT Extension. Recertification training sessions are commonly held at various county extension offices, so please contact your local county extension office to obtain more information concerning training sessions.
Online training options are also available. Please visit http://extol.tennessee.edu/ to find out more concerning initial certification for private applicators or recertification.
A commercial applicator is defined as an individual who uses, supervises the use of, sells or buys restricted-use pesticides for any purpose other than outlined for private applicators. Commercial applicators must successfully pass a certification exam in the category of work they conduct. Currently, Tennessee has 14 different certification categories. To maintain certification, all commercial pesticide applicators must obtain the required continuing education credits (CEUs) in the category of their certification or retest in the same category. Each certification category has different CEU/point requirements.
For additional information you may wish to contact the Rutherford County Extension Office for details concerning pesticide certification. You can also visit the Pesticide Safety Education Program website: http://psep.utk.edu
Due to recent regulation changes, the commercial applicator certification period has been extended. Previously, October 21, was designated as the end of the certification period. However, the new regulations have changed this date to December 31 of each year.
If commercial applicators would like to maintain their certification, they should attend enough recertification training sessions to obtain credit in the required time frame as directed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture regulations. Commercial applicators need to remember that CEUs differ for each certification category and have to be accrued throughout the certification cycle.