Common Questions

Below are some common questions we get about pesticide certification and licensing.  If your question isn’t answered here, contact us! Use the contacts listed on the Home Page.

The PAT Number is a 6-digit number that you get when you receive your training materials. You receive a different PAT number for every category you buy the training fee with materials.  If you purchase a printed manual, the PAT number is on the Training Registration Certificate (example to the left) folded and stuck to the first page of the book.  If you purchase a PDF manual or online course, you will receive an E-Ticket. This E-Ticket will have your PAT number on it.  When taking the test with The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) you will have to give them a certificate with your name and PAT Number on it.  This E-Ticket will have to be presented either on your phone or printed out to the test proctor to get certified. Just like going to the movies.

The PAT number, does three things:

  1. It assures that the required fee is paid (this fee has to be paid every time you are certified in any category).
  2. It tells DATCP that you have received the same training information as everybody who is seeking certification in the State of Wisconsin.
  3. It connects your certification to a training record that has to be kept for the State.

We explain the difference between commercial and private applicators on the bottom half of the “Certification” page.

We have a list of categories that help guide you to the right one.  If you are still unsure, please feel free to contact us at or give us a call at 608-262-7588.

You are a commercial applicator for-hire if you apply or direct the use of pesticides for others on a contract basis and make those applications on property not owned by yourself or your employer.
You are a commercial applicator not-for-hire If you apply or direct the use of pesticides only to sites that your employer controls, and do not contract out your pesticide application services.

Not-for-hire applicators legally only need to be certified and licensed IF they are using restricted use pesticides (RUP). Exception: if you are applying on public school grounds K-12 all kinds of pesticides you will need certification.

Find out what “certification” means and who needs to be certified to apply pesticides on the “Certification” page.

Follow the steps below to get certified:

  1. Purchase the Certification Training Fee with either printed manual ($50), PDF e-manual ($40) or online course ($60 also includes the PDF manual). Check out this podcast for an introduction to these choices:  What Should I Order?. Go to the PAT Store to make that purchase with a credit card. We cannot take credit card orders over the phone.
  2. After you’ve studied the training material and feel you’re ready for the exam, schedule your exam through DATCP or Pearson Vue. If you are signed up for a training/review session, the exam is given at that site at the end of the day. Training/review session occur in the winter months. You MUST provide you Training Registration Certificate or show your E-Ticket to DATCP at time of testing to have your exam scored.
  3. Pass the exam (70% to pass). Certification lasts for 5 years. After 5 years, you must recertify (purchase updated training material and take the exam).
  4. Some applicators will ALSO need to get a license. We explain that in the question below.

Quick Certification Flow Chart

[Commercial Applicators Only]

Once you are certified (good for 5 years), then you have to apply for a Pesticide Applicator License.  This is an annual charge of $40.00. Each individual applicator needs a license, and each application business needs a business license. Pesticide applicator licenses all expire December 31st.  This link will take you to a help video for renewing online process.  DATCP has made a great fact sheet about all the licenses you need.

Yes. As explained in a previous question, certification involves passing an exam to show competency in using pesticides safely and legally (certification lasts for 5 years). A license is what actually authorizes you to use pesticides. Licenses expire annually. Not every applicator needs a license.

  • Private applicators do NOT need a license (but they do need to be certified to use RUPs). Some commercial applicators DO need a license (see below).

A certified commercial pesticide applicator must have a license to use or direct the use of:

  • Any pesticide if they are a for-hire applicator.
  • A restricted-use pesticide.

Individual licenses expire every year on December 31 and are not transferable. Applicators have to carry their license when involved in commercial pesticide work. You can apply and pay for an individual license either online or by mail:

  • Electronic application and payment at
  • You can download and print a license application form here. Then mail that completed paper application form with a check.

Important: each individual commercial applicator needs a license, and each business location needs a business license also.

A “not-for-hire” applicator is an applicator who only applies pesticides on property owned or controlled by their employer.  An example of this is a person spraying on their company’s landscaping.  In some cases, “not-for-hire” applicators will need to get certified if:

  • They are using Restricted-Use Pesticides (RUPs), or
  • They are applying on public school (K-12) property [ State statute 94.715 ], or
  • Their employer requires it (not a legal requirement, but if the boss says so…)

“Not-for-hire” applicators need to be licensed if:

For these issues contact DATCP. If you have not received your certification card or license, please email  DATCP is given 30 days to provide results and cards, but it often takes between two to three weeks. Exams taken at the Dane County (commercial only) testing center are scored immediately and provide results and cards after the test. The PAT Program does not provide certification cards, applicator licenses or have access to your test results.

You are required to give DATCP the training registration certificate or show your E-Ticket at time of testing. DATCP will NOT process your exam without this certificate. The UW-PAT Program charges $10 for reissuing a lost certificate.  Retesting (if you fail an exam) does not require a new certificate. Certificates will ONLY be issued to people associated with the original order. If we have no record of that purchase, then you must pay a new training fee.  The reissued certificate will go to the address in the original order unless you provide a new one. It is then the responsibility of the applicator / company to send that replacement certificate to DATCP so that your exam will be processed and scored.

Yes, you can. Please contact DATCP at and ask to have another one reissued.  Provide your name, certification / license number and shipping address to have another sent.  Forgot your certification number or license number? No worries, look it up using the links provided.

Yes. It is a common courtesy to open up your seat to another applicator if you can’t make it to your exam.  You can cancel at DATCP’s test scheduling website or, or contact them by email or phone at 608-224-4545.

Yes, but you may have to wait to take the exam.  On the first failure you can re-take the exam on the next available date AT LEAST 24 hours after your first one.  If you fail the second time or the third time you will have to wait 30 days from your last exam.  After that you have to wait 6 months.

You order your certification training fees with training materials at the PAT Store.  Fees are charged per category selected. Private applicators can purchase their fee and receive training at participating county extension offices.  There is a Commercial and a Private applicator section in the menu on the left at the PAT Store page.

Yes. You are supposed to add new employees to your business licenses as they are hired. Please email with a) your business license number; b) business name; c) new employee’s name and applicator license number.  They will be added to your license.

Unfortunately, yes. Certification is a five-year period.  Once it starts, anything that you do in that 5-year period is considered an “amendment” (a change or addition to a legal or statutory document) to that existing five-year certification.  Adding categories to your five-year certification period does not have an effect on that period, meaning that the period ends at the same time no matter when you add to it. We recommend, if possible, achieving all the categories you need in the first year of starting your certification period.


Private certificationNo minimum.
Commercial certificationNo minimum.
Individual Commercial License16 years of age
Worker Protection Standard (Ag.)18 years of age

The EPA changed their rules about who can use Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), stating a minimum age of 18 years old to use RUPs.  Wisconsin is in the process of updating their rules to comply. Because this process started a couple of years ago, our manuals reflect this new rule, even though it has not been put into action in Wisconsin as of yet. This process may take a further 2 to 3 years. Those certified before the rule change takes effect in Wisconsin are most likely to be grandfathered in.

This process is not fast.

If your question is not here, feel free to contact us at or 608-262-7588.