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Page updated/verified: Jun 09, 2015

Pesticide/SPI Licensing

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Getting licensed

Many people who use, sell or consult on the use of pesticides are required to be licensed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). This requirement does not generally apply to homeowners who use home and garden pesticides on their own property. To learn more about licensing for mosquito control, go to the fact sheet Pesticide Licensing for Professional Mosquito Control.

To learn more about pesticide licensing or to determine if you need a license, go to our Pesticide/Pest Inspector Licensing Fact Sheet. There is additional licensing information for those considering the Limited or Rancher Private Applicator licenses. 

There are additional licensing requirements for Commercial Applicators, Structural Pest Inspectors, and businesses.


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Preparing for exams

There are two ways to prepare for WSDA pesticide exams although a combination of the two methods is highly recommended. You may obtain and study the corresponding Washington State University (WSU) exam study manual or you may attend a pre-license training course.

Pesticide exam study manuals - WSU maintains study manuals for most of the WSDA exams. Study material for the Aquatic Antifouling and Sewer Root Control (file size 5.3 MB) exams are available from WSDA. To obtain manuals for the other WSDA exams, contact the WSU Bulletins Office at 1-800-723-1763 or visit their website.

Pre-license training courses - WSU conducts statewide pre-license shortcourses in English each winter. Some of this training is available online.  Go to their website to determine availability of courses.  County extension agents and noxious weed boards sometimes provide training as well. WSDA conducts statewide Private Applicator pre-license shortcourses in Spanish each winter and periodically throughout the year.


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Taking exams

There are many steps to successfully preparing for a WSDA exam session [English/Spanish].  Please review them carefully.

Testing is conducted by WSDA every Tuesday at our Olympia and Yakima offices at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. sharp and at other WSDA locations from 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling WSDA toll-free at (877) 301-4555.  WSDA reserves the right to deny entry to late arrivals.

CITY DAY/TIME LOCATION DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Olympia Every Tuesday, 8:30 and 12:30 p.m. Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St SE DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Moses Lake Third Tuesday of each month,
12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Grant County Fire District No. 5
Training Center
DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Everett Variable schedule, 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. WSU Coop. Ext., McCollum Park, 600 128th Street SE DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Spokane First Wednesday of each month, 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. WSDA Office, 222 N. Havana DRIVING DIRECTIONS
East Wenatchee Fourth Tuesday of each month,
12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
WSDA Office, Ice Age Conference Room, 270 9th Street NE DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Yakima Every Tuesday, 8:30 and 12:30 p.m. WSDA Building, 21 North 1st Avenue, Suite 236 DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Longview Variable schedule, call for dates and times Lower Columbia College, 1600 Maple St, Building 8, Room 154 DRIVING DIRECTIONS
* WSDA RESERVES THE RIGHT TO ALTER THIS SCHEDULE WHEN NECESSARY

Please note: Several WSU Cooperative Extension offices administer the Private Applicator exam upon request. Contact WSDA or your local extension office for further information. NOTE: The Idaho and Oregon Departments of Agriculture will not accept Washington exams for individuals living in their state.

You must be prepared to present picture identification and to pay all license fees at the time of testing. Please make checks payable to WSDA. If paying in cash, you must have the exact amount. Test scores are not released until all fees are paid.

  • After a second, third, or fourth failure in a calendar year, there is a mandatory 14-day waiting period between exam retakes. After the fifth failure, you must wait 60 days before retesting. 
  • If an exam is revised or developed, all affected licensees may be required to pass the new exam.

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Information for New Licensees


Renewals

All pesticide licenses, except the Limited and Rancher Private Applicator licenses must be renewed annually in order to remain valid. Renewal is not necessary in those years when you will not be performing activities that require a license. All licenses expire on December 31st. Individuals who are eligible to renew their licenses and who have held a license in one of the previous two years will automatically be sent a renewal application during the fall of each year.


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Reciprocal licenses

If Washington law requires you to have a pesticide license to operate in the state, you must hold a Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) license. A valid license from another state, federal or provincial agency may help you obtain a Washington license but it does NOT substitute for one.

To obtain a Washington pesticide license based on a license from another state, federal or provincial agency, the issuing entity must have comparable licensing and recertification standards to Washington and you must declare that you tested and passed this entity's exams. If you tested in a state that does not meet Washington's standards and then obtained a reciprocal license in another state that Washington does recognize, you DO NOT qualify for a Washington license. Please be aware that providing false or misleading information during the application of a license is considered a violation of Washington pesticide law and may result in revocation of a license issued.

To be considered for a WSDA pesticide license based on a reciprocal license, follow these steps:

  • Determine whether or not the entity issuing your license has been recognized by WSDA as having comparable license and recertification standards. A detail of the entities already reviewed by WSDA is available on the Pesticide License Reciprocal Status chart.
  • If the license you hold is from an entity already recognized by WSDA as having comparable license and recertification standards and it is current, submit the following:  (1) the Reciprocal Pesticide License Request form, (2) a WSDA pesticide application, (3) a copy of your current pesticide license, and (4) the applicable license fee.
  • If the license you hold is from an entity not yet recognized by WSDA, complete and submit the Reciprocal Pesticide License Request form along with a copy of your current pesticide license to Margaret Tucker by fax (360.902.2093), email or mail (WSDA, PO Box 42589, Olympia, WA 98504). DO NOT submit a license application form and fee until WSDA determines if it will reciprocate with this entity. If your request is granted, WSDA will forward you an application form.

Questions can be directed to license@agr.wa.gov, 1-877-301-4555.


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Reporting changes to a pesticide license

  • Commercial Applicators - Pesticide law requires Commercial Applicators to report any changes to their previously provided license information within 30 days. All changes except change of applicator may be provided on WSDA's Supplemental Commercial Applicator Pesticide License Application. To complete a change of applicator, you must re-submit the Commercial Applicator License Application. Please contact Pesticide Licensing toll-free at (877) 301-4555 or by e-mail at license@agr.wa.gov to request the application information. To change or update insurance information, your agent must complete and return the Commercial Pesticide Applicators Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate.

  • Pesticide dealer outlets - To report changes to a Pesticide Dealer addendum to a Master Business License, please contact Department of Revenue's Business Licensing Service at (800) 451-7985 or go to their website.

  • All other licensees - To report a name and/or address change, please contact Pesticide Licensing toll-free at (877) 301-4555 or by e-mail at license@agr.wa.gov with the following information:

  1. License number
  2. Old license information (name, address and phone)
  3. New license information (name, address and phone)


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Requesting a duplicate plastic card

WSDA does not issue a paper license card with current license details.  Instead, licensees are issued a permanent plastic card identifying them as a pesticide or Structural Pest Inspector licensee.  Current license details are available online.  Please keep this card in your wallet for quick access.

If you lose your plastic card, you may request a duplicate by emailing Pesticide Licensing staff with your request. Include your name, license number, phone number, and the address where you would like the license sent. Allow 2-4 weeks for the card to arrive.

Please be aware that there may be a cost to replace your plastic card in the future.


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