Commercial – How to Get Certified and Licensed

Who needs to get certified in Wisconsin to apply pesticides?

  • Any applicator using a Restricted-Use Pesticide (RUP),
  • For-hire (you apply on other people’s property for money) applicators using any pesticide,
  • People directing others in the use of pesticides,
  • People applying any pesticide to K-12 public school property (inside or outside) in Wisconsin,
  • Any applicator applying any pesticide to the waters of the state. Becoming certified Is usually a requirement of the permit you need to apply pesticides to water.

We list the steps to getting certified in Wisconsin farther down this page.

Type of ApplicatorNeed to be Certified?Need to be Licensed?
Commercial Applicator For-HireYes. Using ANY pesticide.Yes
Commercial Applicator Not-For-Hire (you apply only on your employer’s property). ONLY if using RUP.Only if using RUP
Applying on K-12 Public School PropertyYes. Only if using RUP
Volunteer working for freeONLY if using RUP.Only if using RUP
Private Applicator: You produce an agricultural commodity AND you do it on property you or your employer owns or controls.Click “Private Pesticide Applicator” in the menu at the top of the page.

Steps to Getting Certified as a Commercial Applicator (for Private applicator click “Private Pesticide Applicator” above).

Step 1. Identify which category you need certification in.

  • Click here for a list of categories.
  • If you are producing an agricultural commodity AND you are doing it on land you or your employer own or rent, then please click Private Applicator in the menu above to get information relevant to you.
  • For commercial applicators, you need to identify which certification category you need to be certified in. Be aware that in some cases you might need more than one category. For example, you are certified in 3.0 Turf & Landscape only, but want to do treatments for mosquitoes. You will need to also get certified in category 5.0 Aquatic & Mosquito to make those applications.

Step 2. Purchase your training materials.

  • You have to purchase the training materials each time you get certified or recertified. Manuals are reviewed and revised every 5 years.
  • You can purchase training materials either online at the PAT Store or through mail order using a check. We cannot take orders over the phone. How to order on the Store.
  • We presently ship via USPS. If you order a printed manual, your training materials will usually arrive within 3-8 business days. You can pay extra at time of ordering for faster shipment. If you order a PDF manual or online course you will receive an email to get your manual download and/or “Get Stated” button to set up your access to the course usually within 2 business days.
  • OPTIONAL: You can register to take one of the trainings offered in some categories. Registration is done where you purchase your manual, at the PAT Store. The certification exam is given in these optional trainings.

Step 3. Study the information in the training materials.

There are guides to help you study in the introduction of your manual. The UW PAT program does offer training sessions in the larger categories in the first part of the calendar year (January to May). In these sessions, DATCP offers the test after the training/review.

Step 4. Schedule a test either with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) or the private testing company Pearson Vue.

Step 5. Pass your test by getting at least 70% correct and receive your certification card from DATCP.

  • Certification cards can take up to 3 weeks to receive when testing with DATCP (especially during the busy testing season of January – May). Your certification card will arrive in the mail if testing with DATCP. Results and cards are provided immediately after the test if testing at the Madison location. If testing with Pearson Vue, results are immediate and your certification card will arrive via email approx. 3 business days after testing.
  • If you do not receive your certification card in the mail by the 4th week, reach out to DATCP at or call 608-244-4548. The UW PAT Program cannot help or speed this process up.

Step 6. Apply for an applicator license.

1. Commercial License For-hireYou are a “For-Hire” commercial applicator if you apply any pesticides for contract/money on other peoples land. Go To Portal to apply for your license.
2. Commercial License Not-For-HireYou are a “Not-For-Hire” commercial applicator if you only make pesticide applications to your employer’s property. You do not need a license unless you are using a restricted use pesticide (RUP). In that case, Go To Portal to apply for your license.
3. Commercial License Not-For-Hire applying to K-12 public school grounds.If you are applying only non-RUP pesticides to public K-12 school property (inside or outside) you do not need a license. However, if you do use an RUP click here to get your license: Go To Portal.
4. Commercial License Not-For-Hire applying as a government employee.Applying as a government employee, AND you are using a restricted use pesticide. Go To Portal.
Certification and licensing are two different things. All commercial applicators for-hire have to be certified and licensed. However, 2, 3 and 4 only have to be certified and licensed IF they are applying restricted use pesticides.
  • Individual applicator licenses currently cost $40.00 per applicator and all expire on December 31st of the year. Educational and Government license applications do not have a cost.
  • Click here if you wish to get your license with a Paper Application.

Step 7. Have your license number added to your company’s application business license or apply for the business application license if you are the owner/manager of the company or location.

  • Business licenses currently cost $70.00 per location and all expire on December 31st of the year.
  • Applicator Business License Application Form. You will need your applicators’ names, license numbers and certification expiration dates.
  • To add certified and licensed applicators to your business license, please contact DATCP at

30-Day Temporary Commercial Applicator Trainee Registration

Licensed commercial application businesses can register new employees for a 30-day temporary training registrations. This allows employers to train their new employees in the field under direct on-site supervision before certification and licensing. See application form for details.

  • Employer can register an employee only once. They can apply only in the category they are registered in.
  • Must be on-site supervised by certified applicator.
  • May not use or purchase restricted use pesticides.
  • This temporary commercial applicator training registration can not be used for category 5.0, Aquatic and Mosquito. May not use any fumigant.
  • Submit filled out form to

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