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Utah Pest Control License: How to Become a Pesticide Applicator

December 18, 2023 11 min. read
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If you’re looking to enter the growing pest control services market, getting a Utah pesticide license is a smart move. In Utah, pest control workers earn an average of $41,590 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And with only 960 pest control workers in the state in 2022, there isn’t too much competition. The industry is also growing on a national scale, with a projected 3% increase in employment of pest control workers from 2022 to 2032, so there’s never been a better time to get started on this career path.

If you’re serious about getting your Utah 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 Utah?

Yes, anyone applying pesticides or substances to repel pests in the state of Utah is required to have a valid pesticide license. 

Pesticide businesses operate in an industry regulated by state and federal laws. The Utah pesticide program via the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is the authority that grants pesticide licenses in the state and ensures businesses meet all regulations. 

Types of pesticide licenses in Utah

Utah has three different classifications of licensed pesticide applicators:

ClassificationDescription
Commercial ApplicatorLicense holder is an individual who applies general- or restricted-use pesticides for payment or compensation. 

This license is intended for applicants who are affiliated with a commercial pesticide business.
Non-Commercial ApplicatorLicense holder is an individual or an employee of a company or government entity who applies restricted-use pesticides.

This license is intended for applicants who do not qualify for a Commercial Applicator or Private Applicator license.
Private ApplicatorLicense holder is an individual or a company that uses or supervises the use of restricted-use pesticides on property owned or rented for the purpose of agricultural production.

Additionally, each pesticide applicator must also be certified in one or more pest control categories:

Pest Control CategoryDescription
AgricultureFor individuals applying pesticides to agricultural crops and land, on animals inhabiting agricultural land, and to places the animals inhabit
ForestFor individuals applying pesticides in forests, forest nurseries, and forest seed-producing areas 
Ornamental and TurfFor individuals applying pesticides to care for ornamental plants, trees, and turf and to manage pests around sidewalks and driveways
Seed TreatmentFor individuals applying pesticides to seeds
AquaticFor individuals applying pesticides to standing or running water (excluding public health–related activities) and to sewers to control root growth
Right-of-WayFor individuals applying pesticides to manage public areas, such as roads, power lines, pipelines, and railway paths
Structural and Health-RelatedFor individuals applying pesticides to public and private structures, such as homes, restaurants, schools, hospitals, warehouses, and adjacent areas to control household pests, fabric pests, stored-product pests, and vertebrate pests
Public HealthFor state or federal government staff, or those working under their supervision, applying or overseeing the use of restricted-use pesticides in public health initiatives
RegulatoryFor state or federal government staff, or those working under their supervision, applying pesticides using devices like mechanical ejectors or protective collars to manage regulated pests
Demonstration, Consultation, and ResearchFor individuals demonstrating to the public how to apply restricted-use pesticides correctly and conducting field research with restricted-use pesticides
Aerial ApplicationFor individuals applying pesticides via aircraft (airplane, drone, helicopter, etc.)
Vertebrate AnimalFor individuals applying pesticides to manage vertebrate pests
Fumigation/Stored CommoditiesFor individuals applying fumigants to address pests in locations such as soil, train cars, grain storage, manufactured product storage, flour mills, and similar areas
Wood PreservationFor individuals applying wood-preservative pesticides to wood items, such as fence posts, power poles, and railroad ties
Wood-Destroying OrganismsFor individuals applying pesticides to control pests that damage or tunnel into wood, such as termites, bees, wasps, or wood-decaying fungi

Utah pesticide license requirements

In Utah, you must be 18 years of age or older to obtain a pesticide license. Here are the additional requirements for each classification type:

ClassificationRequirements
Commercial ApplicatorOwner or qualifying party of a commercial pesticide business must:
• Have passed the written Pesticide Applicator Core exam and at least one category exam, demonstrating understanding of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state standards, to obtain certification
• Have at least two years of certification within the 10 years prior to the application or hold an associate degree or higher in relevant fields (like horticulture or agricultural sciences)*
• Not be associated with another pesticide applicator business
• Have obtained a commercial pesticide business license
Non-Commercial ApplicatorApplicant must:
• Have passed the written Pesticide Applicator Core exam and at least one category exam, demonstrating understanding of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state standards, to obtain certification
Private ApplicatorApplicant must: 
• Have passed the written Private Pesticide Applicator Core exam and at least one category exam, demonstrating understanding of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state standards, to obtain certification

Note: Utah state law mandates that you carry your official license or permit with you at all times when using pesticides.

*Exemptions to the two-year certification requirement exist. Consult section R68-7-9(3f) of the Utah Pesticide Control Rule document for more information.

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

Getting your pesticide license in Utah, like most places in the U.S., is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined by the UDAF for the license type you wish to get: 

  1. Submit payment for your licensing fee to UDAF online or over the phone
  2. Using the pesticide testing portal, set up your profile, start your registration in the Student Portal, and select the license type and pest control category exams you want to register for
  3. Obtain and study the National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual, and/or the UDAF WPS Addendum, and any category manuals
  4. Make an exam appointment and submit payment to the approved testing center of your choice 
  5. Take the exams either remotely or by visiting the testing center you chose
  6. After passing your exams, notify UDAF using the “Courses Completed” button in the Student Portal—failure to notify UDAF means you might not receive your license, and operating without it can result in fines 

After notifying UDAF, your license should arrive within 30 days. All applicants who’ve successfully passed category exams will automatically be emailed a 30-day temporary permit until they get their official licenses from UDAF. Remember to carry your license and permit with you at all times when you are working.

Utah pesticide license exam

All applicants must take one of the Core exams: 

  • the Pesticide Applicator Core exam for the Commercial and Non-Commercial Applicator licenses 

OR

  • the Private Pesticide Applicator Core exam for the Private Applicator license. 

Beyond that, exams for pest control categories can be taken based on the type of jobs you want to do.

While there is no formal time limit for the exams, it is recommended that you allow for at least three hours to write the exams—and possibly more if you are taking multiple category exams.

Here are some details about each exam type:

Exam TypeExam Details
Pesticide Applicator Core100 questions
70% to pass

Key Areas:
• Pesticide Labels, Labeling, and Functions
• Safety Protocols
• Environmental Impact and Considerations
• Pest Identification and Pesticide Selection
• Pesticide Features
• Equipment Use
• Application Methods
• Legal Knowledge and Regulations
• Professionalism
Private Pesticide Applicator Core50 questions
70% to pass

Key Areas:
• Pesticide Labels, Labeling, and Functions
• Safety Protocols
• Environmental Impact and Considerations
• Pest Identification and Pesticide Selection
• Pesticide Features
• Equipment Use
• Application Methods
• Legal Knowledge and Regulations
• Supervisor Responsibilities
• Stewardship
• Practical Application to Agricultural Commodities
Pest Control Category50 questions per exam (except Ornamental and Turf, which has 100 questions)
70% to pass

• Requires familiarity with the Conversion Chart and Calibration Formulas assignment in the Student Portal 
• Practice exams are available in the Student Portal

You may find that you want to take multiple category exams, but you don’t have to do it all at the same time. After you have completed your Core exam and any initial category exams and obtained your license, you can opt to add additional categories later. The UDAF makes this process easy:

  1. Reference the pesticide educational materials page for study guides.
  2. Call 801-982-2200 to arrange to pay a $15 category addition fee. Be sure to have your license number ready. You’ll receive a receipt via email.
    Note: The $15 fee lets you add as many categories as you’d like, and if you finish them in 30 days, you’ll avoid another charge.
  3. Once you’ve studied, book your exam at a testing center of your choice and bring your receipt.
  4. Fill out the completion form after the exam—failure to complete the form means that your license won’t be processed and updated.
  5. Wait for your updated license, typically arriving in a month. 

Does Utah reciprocate pesticide licenses?

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

Utah has reciprocity privileges for pesticide license holders from other states with licenses in good standing. 

  • For Commercial and Non-Commercial Applicator licenses, applicants must follow the application process, provide necessary documentation, and obtain a valid pesticide business license. 
  • For Private Pesticide Applicators, applicants must follow the application process detailed on the UDAF website and provide the necessary documentation.

How much does a pesticide license cost in Utah?

An initial pesticide license in Utah will likely cost between $50 and $250, including additional fees, such as printing exam study materials or purchasing them from the UDAF. 

ClassificationFees
Commercial Applicator• License: $65 (every three years)
• Exam: Remotely proctored: $28.50 OR In-person: Contact testing center
• Additional categories: $15
• Renewal: $65 (every three years)
• Late renewal: +$25 (within 60 days of license expiration if renewing by CEU)
• Business license: $110 (every three years)
Non-Commercial Applicator• License: $20 (every three years)
• Exam: Remotely proctored: $28.50 OR In-person: Contact testing center
• Additional categories: $15
• Renewal: $20 (every three years)
• Late renewal: +$25 (within 60 days of license expiration if renewing by CEU)
Private Applicator• License: $20 (every three years)
• Exam: Remotely proctored: $28.50 OR In-person: Contact testing center
• Additional categories: $15
• Renewal: $20 (every three years)
• Late renewal: +$25 (within 60 days of license expiration if renewing by CEU)

Utah pest control license renewal

All three types of pesticide licenses expire every three years on December 31st. 

  • If your license is issued between January 1st and October 30th, your renewal date will be December 31st, two years in the future.
  • If your license is issued between November 1st and December 31st, your renewal date will be December 31st, three years in the future.

To renew your license, you have two options: retest or acquire continuing education units (CEUs) during your license period. To retest, you can apply online or call to schedule a new exam date and pay fees. Here are the requirements should you choose to accrue CEUs:  

License TypeCEU Requirements
Commercial Pesticide Applicator
and
Non-Commercial Pesticide Applicator
• A total of 24 credits is required:
• 2 credits in Law
• 6 credits in Safety
• 10 credits in Pesticide Use
• Remaining 6 credits can be from any combination of Law, Safety, and Pesticide Use 
Private Pesticide Applicator• A total of 6 credits is required:
• 1 credit in Law
• 1 credit in Safety
• 1 credit in Pesticide Use 
• Remaining 3 credits can be from any combination of Law, Safety, and Pesticide Use 

What happens if my pesticide license expires?

If you think your pesticide 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 Utah. Use the UDAF online license lookup tool to search for your license number and verify its status.

If a UDAF inspector determines that you are operating without proper documentation, you can be issued a citation penalty of up to $500. More serious offenses can incur fees up to $5,000, probation, and the suspension of your license, so keeping your license current and following all regulations is important.

How to start a pest control business in Utah

After you’ve built up your experience as a pesticide 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 Utah, the resources provided at the Utah.gov/business site help guide you through the process, including:

  • Evaluating your business concept
  • Drafting a business plan
  • Choosing your business structure
  • Finding funding sources for your business

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 Utah increase your earning potential?

Yes, getting your pesticide applicator license in Utah increases your earning potential as it allows you to apply restricted-use chemicals that are necessary for pest management.

The average annual income for pesticide control workers in Utah is $41,590, but top earners in the state are bringing in as much as $57,580. With time and experience, your annual income can grow, too, and you can earn even more if you choose to start your own pest control business.

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