Skip to content
Jobber Academy

Arizona Pest Control License: How to get certified as a Pesticide applicator in AZ

December 15, 2023 8 min. read
Read More Start Trial

If you want to secure your financial future by working in a trade with a low barrier to entry and lots of upward mobility, getting your Arizona pest control license is a great decision. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 3,170 workers employed in pest control in AZ as of 2022. 

The average salary for a pest control applicator in Arizona is $45,059, but that can quickly jump to $53,215 for those with more experience in the industry. Plus, you stand to earn even more money if you start your own pest control business. 

In this guide, we’ll cover the key things you need to know about becoming a licensed pest control applicator in Arizona.

If you’re serious about getting your Arizona pest control license, make sure you bookmark this page. This way, you can return to this guide if you have any questions or are ready to start your own pest control business.

Do you need a pesticide license in Arizona?

Yes, you need a license to administer pesticides in Arizona. These licenses are issued by the Pest Management Division (PMD) of Arizona’s Department of Agriculture (AZDA). 

The PMD oversees all non-agricultural pest control activities in the state of Arizona, including the use of restricted-use pesticides (RUPs) to control pests in the following situations: 

  • Ornamental plants and turf
  • Running or standing water
  • Roadsides, powerlines, and other public utilities
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial structures
  • Wooded areas and structures

In Arizona, agricultural pest control is overseen by the Environmental Services Section (ESS) of the AZDA. 

Types of pesticide licenses in Arizona

The PMD offers two different types of pest control applicator licenses that allow you to use restricted and regulated products in specific situations. 

License TypeDescription
Certified Applicator (CA)License holder can provide pest management services, including the application of general or RUPs, while employed by a licensed business or a political subdivision.
Qualified Applicator (QA)License holder can perform all the pest management services of a Certified Applicator and can register as the Qualifying Party of a PMD Business Licensee.

The PMD also separates pest management licenses into nine main categories, depending on the type of pests involved and where the pesticides are administered. Some categories are based on federal guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency, while others are based on state regulations. 

Federal Codes (Code for Federal Regulation)

License CategoryDescription
Ornamental and turf pest controlInvolves the application of RUPs to control pests in the production and maintenance of ornamental plants and turf.
Aquatic pest controlInvolves the application of RUPs to standing or running water, except in situations related to public health.
Right-of-way pest controlInvolves the application of RUPs in the maintenance of roadsides, powerlines, pipelines, and other rights-of-way areas.
Industrial, institutional, and structural pest controlInvolves the application of RUPs in the following contexts: 
• Food handling establishments, packing houses, and food-processing facilities
• Houses and dwellings
• Schools, hospitals, prisons, and other institutions
• Manufacturing facilities, warehouses, grain elevators, and other industrial establishments  
• Any other structures used for the protection of stored, processed, or manufactured products.
Public health pest controlInvolves the application of RUPs in government-sponsored public health programs in order to manage and control pests that pose a medical and public health risk. Applicators and supervisors are typically State, Tribal, or Federal.  
Non-soil fumigationInvolves the application of an RUP to fumigate anything other than soil.

State-Only Categories (Wood-Destroying Organism Management)

License CategoryDescription
Wood-destroying organism treatmentInvolves inspecting for and treating wood-destroying organisms in residential or other structures using a means other than fumigation.
Wood-destroying insect inspectionInvolves inspecting for wood-destroying insects without preparing or applying treatments.
Wood preservationInvolves the application of pesticides labeled for use on wooden components of structures, including utility poles and railroad ties, to prevent or manage wood degradation by wood-destroying organisms.

Applicators can apply to broaden their certification by adding new pest control categories to their license.

Arizona pesticide license requirements

While both applicator license types require completing the applications and passing the necessary exams, the AZDA only has experience requirements for qualified applicators. To become a qualified applicator, you need to meet one of the following experience requirements: 

  • Have worked as a certified applicator for at least two of the past 10 years in the pest control category you are applying for
  • Have worked as a certified applicator for at least one of the past 10 years in the pest control category you are applying for and
    • Have completed at least 12 semester hours, or its equivalent, in a pest management course directly related to your category or
    • Have completed a Bachelor’s degree in either biological sciences, agricultural sciences, or pest management with at least 12 semester hours directly related to your category
  • Have at least two years of experience within the past 10 years in the pest management industry in a state where pest management licensure isn’t required

How do I get a pesticide license in Arizona? (steps)

Getting your pest control license in Arizona, like most places in the U.S. is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined by the PMD and AZDA for either the certified or qualified applicator licensing process:  

Certified Applicator Licensing Steps

  • Submit a completed CA application and include the necessary fees
  • Include your statement and evidence of lawful presence with your application
  • Complete a background investigation by providing the AZ Department of Public Safety with your fingerprints or a Fingerprint Clearance Card 
  • Write and pass the core exam and at least one category-specific examination with a minimum score of 75% to become certified in that specific category

Qualified Applicator Licensing Steps

  • Build up the necessary two years of experience through a combination of pest control work or education
  • Submit a completed QA application and include the necessary fees
  • Include your statement and evidence of lawful presence with your application
  • Complete a background investigation by providing the AZ Department of Public Safety with your fingerprints or a Fingerprint Clearance Card 
  • Write and pass the core exam and at least one category-specific examination with a minimum score of 75% to become certified in that specific category

You can apply for your license online or send physical forms to the PMD at:

1802 W Jackson Street, No. 78 
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Arizona pesticide license exam

To get either a certified or qualified applicator license in your desired pest control category, you need to pass two exams: one for the core applicator skills and another that covers your specific category. 

In Arizona, these tests are carried out by the state’s online testing vendor, Metro Institute. Tests are typically 100 questions long, have a two-hour time limit, and require a 75% score to pass. 

Metro Institute has demo tests available online to help you prepare for your exams. Plus, the AZDA gives you access to study materials as well, including an online version of the National Pesticide Applicator Manual

Does Arizona reciprocate pesticide licenses?

Reciprocity agreements let license holders from out of state apply directly, or more quickly, for an equivalent license in another state. 

Arizona does have a reciprocity avenue for licensing, but it doesn’t actually have any formal agreements with other states. Instead, you will need to complete the reciprocity form and submit it to your state or local authority to complete. From there, the PMD will assess your qualifications and determine whether you meet the criteria to waive the exam process. 

How much does a pesticide license cost in Arizona?

Depending on which type of applicator you want to work as and which categories you want to specialize in, a pest control license in Arizona can run between $227 and $247 for initial licensing. The fees essentially double if you are applying to start your own business. 

Certified Applicator

Licensing StageFees
Licensing$55
Handling+$10 handling fee for physical forms, no additional fee for filing online
Examination$75 per exam
Fingerprinting$22
Broaden ClassificationFree
Annual Renewal$55
Biennial Renewal$99
Renewal Late Fees$5.50

Qualified Applicator

Licensing StageFees
Licensing$75
Handling+$10 handling fee for physical forms, no additional fee for filing online
Examination$75 per exam
Fingerprinting$22
Broaden Classification$25
Annual Renewal$75
Biennial Renewal$135
Renewal Late Fees$7.50

Business License

Licensing StageFees
Application$185
Annuual Renewal$185
Biennal Renewal$333

The AZDA provides an overview of all relevant pest management fees on its website.

Depending on the type and number of classifications you want, there may be other costs associated with optional study materials for the exams.

Arizona pest control license renewal

After your first year, you can renew your pest control applicator certification on either an annual or biennial basis, depending on what suits you. The biennial renewal fee is more expensive up front but works out to be less than the annual fee. 

To renew your license, you can use the AZDA’s online licensing and payments platform or the same form as the original application. 

The AZDA does have continuing education units for those who are interested in improving their industry knowledge. 

What happens if my pesticide license expires?

If you think your pest control applicator license may have expired, you need to stop all work immediately. It’s illegal to apply pesticides and other restricted-use chemicals without the proper certification in Arizona, and doing so can result in civil fines of up to $1,000 or loss of licensure, depending on the type of pest control work you perform.

How to start a pest control business in Arizona

After you’ve built up your experience as a qualified pest control applicator, you’re ready to take the next step in securing your financial future: starting your own business. To start a pest control business in Arizona, you need to get a business license from the PMD by filling out the application form and providing the following information:

  • Contact information
  • Qualifying party registration 
  • Proof of financial responsibility and insurance coverage
  • Business name registration

There are also some practical considerations for starting your own pest control business, including naming your business, marketing and selling your services, choosing the right apps, and getting business software

Does a pesticide license in Arizona increase your earning potential?

Getting your certified or qualified pest control applicator license in Arizona does increase your earning potential as it allows you to apply restricted-use chemicals that are necessary for pest management. 

The average pest control applicator earns around $45,000 a year in Arizona, but that can quickly increase alongside your experience. You also stand to earn even more money if you get a business license to start your own pest control operation. 

Join over 200k service professionals that trust Jobber

Get Started