Michigan: Pesticide Applicator Review Sessions, Recertification Credits, Testing Options

    Gloves are the most important part of personal protective equipment. Photo: Nebraska Farmer

    In Michigan, winter is a time when the commercial agricultural community starts to think about pesticide applicator certifications. For some, it may be because the new production season is approaching and they would like to make sure everything is in place before it begins. For others, it’s because applicator certification credentials must be obtained before purchasing restricted use pesticides.

    It would be an understatement to say that things have changed a little bit over the last 18 months. As we all know, there was a period of time in which everything was put on hold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Now that the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is allowing in-person testing to resume, we have been receiving inquiries from growers about the current state of the pesticide application recertification process.

    In service to Michigan agriculture, Michigan State University Extension has developed this short FAQ to help restricted use pesticide (RUP) applicators find the testing and recertification options that work best for them.

    Important note to those who are recertifying: Be sure to have your applicator license number handy when you are attending an education session or taking the exam.

    What testing options are available?

    There are three testing options available:

    1. Paper-based in-person exams (with core review sessions) are available through MSU Extension.
    2. Computer-based in-person exams are available through the Metro Institute.
    3. Computer-based remotely-proctored exams are available through the Metro Institute.

    Where can we purchase updated training manuals?

    Private Core, Commercial Core and Category manuals can be purchased online at the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC) website. Manuals can also be purchased at your county Extension office, although availability may be limited due to the pandemic. Calling ahead is recommended.

    What are core review sessions?

    These are 4-hour sessions that cover every chapter of the National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual. Review sessions take place in the morning and are followed by the MDARD Private and Commercial Core applicator exams in the afternoon. Many applicators have found this program to be convenient and helpful.

    Note: No Commercial Category exams will be offered at these sessions.

    Where and when are core review and testing sessions available?

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, availability is limited:

    • Feb. 18, 2022 – St. Clair County Administrative Office Building, Donald E. Dodge Auditorium, 200 Grand River Ave., Port Huron, MI 48060 ($25)
    • Feb. 21, 2022 – Dearth Community Center, 262 S Sprague St., Coldwater, MI 49036 ($25)
    • Feb. 24, 2022 – Amish Farmstead, 7510 Marshall Rd., Nashville, MI 49073 ($25)
    • March 15, 2022 – Peterson Research Center, 5185 N Oceana Dr., Hart, MI 49420 ($25)
    • March 18, 2022 – Huron County Expo Center, 170 W. Soper Rd., Bad Axe, MI 48413 ($25)
    • March 29, 2022 – Mid Michigan Community College, 1375 S Clare Ave, Harrison, MI 48625 ($25)
    • April 13, 2022 – State of Michigan Office Building, 305 Ludington St. Escanaba, MI 49829 ($25)
    • April 15, 2022 – City of Marquette DPW, 1100 Wright St., Marquette, MI 49855 ($25)

    Registration and more information can be found at the MDARD In-Person Core Testing and Core Review web page.

    Are there other online review options available through MSU Extension?


    MSU Extension offers a more formal Pesticide Applicator Training Course. Those that complete the course will receive 12 education credits that can be applied to their private or commercial core license as well as all commercial categories.

    What is the Metro Institute?

    A private company that has been authorized by MDARD to administer pesticide applicator certification tests. You can access their site through this link: Metro Institute – Michigan Testing Site.

    Where can I go to take an in-person computer-based test?

    The Metro Institute has 18 locations throughout Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula.

    How does the computer-based remotely-proctored exam work?

    This exam is designed to be taken from your home or office. It requires applicants to have:

    • Reliable internet service
    • A moveable camera
    • A microphone

    MDARD recommends logging into the system and accessing the exam at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. View a training video that walks you through the exam process.

    How do I sign up for a computer-based exam?

    Registration for a computer-based exam with the Metro Institute is available on their website.

    How much do these options cost?

    MDARD certification fee schedule:

    • Private applicator fee is $50
    • Commercial applicator fee is $75

    Testing costs:

    • MSU Extension paper-based in-person exam and core review session: $25
    • Metro Institute computer-based in-person exam: $55
    • Metro Institute remote-proctored exam: $65

    Note that the testing costs are in addition to the certification fees. MDARD emphasizes that the certification process is not complete until applicators have submitted a completed license application and the application fee.

    All of this information and more can be found at the MDARD Pesticide Applicator Certification webpage.

    Are there any other opportunities to earn education credits?

    All seminars that offer RUP credits are listed on the MDARD Pesticide Applicator Renewal Seminar Meeting Dates and Locations webpage.

    • Select the month and click “Find Training” to view the list of in-person and online options, along with a contact phone number.
    • Note: There is another link on that page to view a list of ONLY online seminars, many of which can be accessed at any time in a self-paced manner.

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