Prepare for the Certification Exam

Each certification exam is based on the appropriate category-specific training manual (for example, Turf & Landscape, Field & Vegetable Crops, etc.). Within each category, the exam questions address the learning objectives that are listed at the beginning of each chapter in the manual. Obviously, then, reading and studying your manual will best prepare you for the exam.

Exams consists of approximately 70 multiple-choice questions.

How to Schedule Your Exam

If you are Attending a Training / Review Session:
If you register for a training session, you will be automatically scheduled to take the exam at the end of the session. (Note: you are NOT required to take the exam at that time; it’s OK to attend a training session but take the exam at a later date if you feel you need more time to learn the material.)

Self-Study (not attending a training / review session):
Commercial applicators who do not attend a training session will need to schedule an exam online. Exams are offered year-round in Madison, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Waukesha, Spooner, and Wausau [ To see DATCP testing locations ]. During the busy season (first months of the year) DATCP sometimes offers testing locations besides those just noted. You will find them on the online testing website noted above. The UW Madison does NOT have a testing center.

Private applicators can contact their county Extension office to register for training programs or book an appointment for taking the exam.

Things to Bring to the Exam

  • Photo ID: The exam proctor will not issue you an exam without positive ID (such as a driver’s license).
  • Social Security Number: Federal and State law require this number from anyone who is seeking a state certification or license. You don’t need your SS card, just your number.
  • Your Training Registration Form: Complete the Training Registration Form that immediately follows the front cover of the manual or is sent to you using UPS (for PDF manuals and online courses) and turn it in to the exam proctor. DATCP cannot grade your exam, nor grant you certification, until the form is collected.
  • Calculator: You may use a calculator for the exam. However, cell phone calculators, programmable calculators, or those with alphabet keypads are not permitted. Do not bring a calculator that must be connected to AC power. DATCP test proctors will usually have a few calculators for people to borrow.

Exam Score

Commercial Applicators
DATCP will send your exam score by mail. This can take up to 30 days depending on the time of year when you take the exam. DATCP’s certification and licensing program staff CANNOT give out your exam score over the phone. If testing at the Madison DATCP testing center your score is given at time of completing the test.  If you have not received your results within 30 days, you can inquire with DATCP [ datcppesticideinfo@wi.gov ].

If you pass the exam:

  • If you take and pass the exam at DATCP headquarters, you will be given a certification card on the spot.
  • An individual applicator license application form will accompany your exam score and certification card (your license is different than your certification card). You must be licensed to use or direct the use of restricted-use pesticides or pesticides containing metam sodium or to use or direct the use of any pesticide as a commercial applicator for-hire.

If you failed the exam, instructions for scheduling to retake the exam will accompany your exam score. You must observe the following waiting periods before retaking the exam:

  • 1st failure: 24 hours
  • 2nd and 3rd failure: 30 days
  • 4th failure in a 6-month period: 6 months

Private Applicators
After you take the exam at your county Extension office, the exam proctor will mail your answer sheet to DATCP.  Please allow up to 30 days for results to be mailed to you. If you have not received your results within 30 days please contact datcppesticideinfo@wi.gov.

If you passed the exam, your new certification card will be included in the mailing with your exam score. Be sure to sign the card and carry it with you whenever you perform any activity for which certification is required (e.g. purchasing, mixing and loading, applying). This means you MUST receive your card BEFORE you can perform any applicator duties.

If you failed the exam, contact your county Extension office to retake the exam.