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Home > Licensing, Inspections, Certifications & Testing > Licensing > Pesticide Applicator Licensing > Pesticide Certification Exam Steps

Steps to Successfully Completing a Pesticide Certification Exam


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is the authority regulating pesticide use in Minnesota. Persons applying pesticides in Minnesota may need to obtain a license from MDA to do so. One step in obtaining any license is successfully completing certification exams. By taking and passing a certification exam a person demonstrates they are qualified to hold a license.

The MDA issues different license types with specific categories depending on the intended application site. Persons must determine what type of license they need and the categories in which they need to certify. Visitor information is posted on the MDA website. Additional fact sheets can be found on the Pesticide Applicator Licensing webpage.


Preparing for the Exam

  1. Every person must pass the Core Exam (Category A) and at least one additional category exam. Study Materials for the exams may be ordered from U of MN Bookstores Extension Publications online or call 612-627-0108.
  2. Complete the application form including the name, address (physical and mailing address, if different) and phone number of your employer. Provide your social security number. Certify that the financial requirements are met. Applications can be obtained from our website either as a printable form or electronic submission.
  3. Call to schedule an appointment at 651-201-6633 (St. Paul office). Testing locations in greater Minnesota are listed on our Pesticide Applicator Licensing webpage.
  4. Pay application fees in advance, or at the time of exam.
  5. The application form and exam are written in English. No accommodations are made for persons unable to read or understand English. 


At the Testing Location

  1. Present your completed license application or provide confirmation of your online application and present payment to the test administrator. The St. Paul office does not charge an additional fee to take the exam, although some county offices charge an administrative fee for proctoring the exam.
  2. Provide your drivers license or other proof of identity.
  3. Exams are given during normal business hours but are not otherwise timed.


Taking the Exam

  1. Exams are closed book and require 70% correct answers or better to pass.
  2. Exam questions are primarily multiple choice.
  3. Questions and answers will not be explained.
  4. A calculator is provided for use during the exam.
  5. No talking is allowed during the exam.
  6. A person may not use reference materials during examination.
  7. No cell phone use is allowed during the exam.
  8. Testers are monitored and the testing session will be ended if tester fails to follow directions.


After the Test

  1. Answer sheets from tests given at the St. Paul office are scored immediately and results provided. Outstate answer sheets are sent to the St. Paul office to be scored and testers will be notified of results by mail. No test scores will be given via the telephone or e-mail.
  2. MDA mails a license ID card to successful applicants. A Fail Letter with test scores will be sent to unsuccessful applicants.
  3. If necessary, a facsimile of the license ID card can be printed from MDA’s web site once a license is approved.


After a Failed Exam

  1. A person may take the exam three (3) times for a license in a calendar year.
  2. A person must wait 15 days to retake the exam or sign a waiver forgoing the waiting period.