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Private applicators apply restricted use pesticides (RUPs) to lands or sites they own, rent or manage for the production of an agricultural commodity. Farmers and their families who apply RUPs to their land can apply for a private applicator certification.
Recertification workshops were held in January and February and have concluded for 2023. Choose one of the exam options to certify in 2023.
Take the online or mail-in exam if:
- You are a new private applicator,
- You are a current applicator who missed your workshop, or
- You are an applicator with an expired certification.
Find study manuals and exam information below. In-person workshops are offered in January and February.
Certification lasts for three years. To check your certification number, status and expiration date, go to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Private Pesticide Applicator Search page. Or call the MDA at 651-201-6633.
How to get certified
If you are a new applicator or if your certification has expired, you must take the exam to become certified.
- Complete the mail-in exam as a home study course. Private Pesticide Applicator study manuals (19th Edition; $10) and mail-in exams are available at most county Extension offices. Find your county Extension office.
- Or you can complete the exam online.
How to recertify
If your certification has not yet expired, choose one of the following recertification options:
- Complete a mail-in exam,
- Take an online exam, or
- Attend an in-person workshop offered in January or February.
Each option costs $75.
If your certification has expired, you must complete the mail-in or online exam.
The exam is required for initial certification or if your certification has expired. You may recertify by exam instead of attending a workshop. The exam has 50 questions.
- Online exam deadline: midnight, October 31. All online exam attempts must be completed before the system closes on this deadline.
- Mail-in exam deadline: October 31. All exams, including second and third attempts, must be mailed and postmarked by this date. No exceptions.
Online exam requirements
- Use your own email address to register
- DO NOT USE someone else's email address. If you use someone else's email address, the certification won't be issued in your name and you will need to register, pay and retake the exam to become certified.
- Registration information and exam access are sent to the email address you use when you register.
- You must use Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
- Download the Google Chrome web browser.
- Download the Firefox web browser.
- Safari, which comes with all Apple products, should work as well.
- The exam will not work with Internet Explorer.
$75, payable by credit or debit card
The fee includes three attempts to pass the exam in one calendar year. Once you pay for the online exam, you cannot switch to any other exam or course without paying again.
Register for the online exam
- Watch our Registration Help videos and reset your UMN guest account before starting your registration.
- Have your Private Pesticide Applicator Certification Number ready for registration. If you don't have your certification card, get your certification number from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website or call 651-201-6633.
- Review our cancelation, transfer and refund policies.
At the end of the registration process, your receipt will be displayed on the screen. Click on "Receipt Notes" and the link to your exam will be available. The link is also provided in your University of Minnesota Confirmation email for future exam access (do not delete the email). Please check your junk or spam email if you can’t find it.
- For all account or login-related issues, please contact the University’s helpdesk at 612-301-4357.
- For any other questions regarding registration, please contact us at 763-767-3840 or email@example.com. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Need more help? See the private pesticide applicator online exam guide for instructions on how to take the exam.
About the exam
You need an 80 percent score or better to pass the exam.
- If you scored at least 80 percent (40+ points), do not retake the exam. If you do, you will not receive your certification.
- You can take the exam three times in one calendar year. If you fail the exam three times, try again next year.
- Review the study manual and answer questions based on the manual.
- The exam will automatically save your answers to each question. There is no "Save" button in the exam.
- You will not see how you answered the questions in previous exam attempts.
If you have any questions about making a second or third attempt on the exam please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need to retake or work on your unfinished exam?
To access the online exam you registered for, visit canvas.umn.edu. Log in to Canvas using the email address (Internet ID) and password you used for registration.
Getting your temporary certificate
After you have successfully completed the exam, you will be able to view and print your temporary certificate in Canvas. The certificate can be used to purchase restricted-use pesticides before you receive your permanent private pesticide certification card from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Please allow up to 60 days to receive your new card.
Mail-in test packets are available from most local county Extension offices. Please call ahead to check supplies and office hours. Mail-in tests must be received before October 31.
19th Edition Private Pesticide Applicator Study Manual
The 19th edition is the study manual to use to prepare for the exam. Older versions of the manual do not include all topics and materials covered by the exam. You may download the manual for free or buy printed copies.
Download the manual by chapter
- Introduction and table of contents
- 1. Integrated pest management
- 2. Pesticide laws
- 3. The pesticide label
- 4. Pesticide formulations
- 5. Protecting the environment
- 6. Health and safety
- 7. Safe handling: the application process
- 8. Personal protective equipment
- 9. Pesticide application procedures and equipment
- Appendix A: Pesticide toxicities
- Appendix B: Glossary
- Appendix C: Conversions and calculations
Where to buy a printed manual
- University of Minnesota Bookstores
- To purchase in-store, please call ahead to the Coffman Memorial Union Bookstore or St. Paul Student Center Bookstore to be sure the study manual is in stock.
- Call 612-301-3989 to place your order with a credit card.
- Download an order form to mail your order.
- You also can buy the manual at your local county Extension office (call ahead to make sure they have them).
- For Private Soil Fumigation endorsement, buy the new Soil fumigation manual (Category O) from the U of M Bookstores.
- For the Private Stored Grain and Fumigation endorsement, buy the Stored grain and fumigation manual (Category N) from the U of M Bookstores.
Please read carefully. There are no exceptions to these policies.
- When you register, you must use the name and contact information, including email address, for the APPLICATOR RECEIVING credit.
- To transfer to a different workshop, you must request this change BEFORE the registration deadline.
- To cancel your registration, you must cancel before the registration deadline to receive a partial refund. There is a $30 cancellation fee, even if requested before the registration deadline.
- There is no refund if you cancel after the registration deadline.
Setting up and maintaining an existing guest account when registering can be confusing. Before registering for a course, we encourage you to use the references below to help you.
Password and Guest Account how-to video:
Registration step-by-step how-to video:
Or download the step-by-step registration guide.
For all login and guest account-related questions, please call the University of Minnesota Technology Help Desk at 612-301-4357.
Recertification workshops are held in January and February. Check back in mid-December for 2024 recertification options.
A receipt will be mailed to you approximately two weeks after the workshop you attend and can be used as temporary proof of workshop completion for recertification when purchasing restricted-use pesticides. Please allow up to 60 days to receive your new certification card from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Questions about private applicator workshops or exam content
Tana Haugen-Brown, Extension educator and co-coordinator
email@example.com or 763-260-4423
Questions about mail-in and online exams
firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-767-3840