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Updated Exams and Study Materials for Pesticide Applicator Certification in Vermont

April 3, 2023
Pesticide Safety

By  Anne Macmillan M.S. VAAFM Pesticide Certification and Training Coordinator

April 3, 2023 | Montpelier, VT - Pesticides are an important part of an IPM program to mitigate pests responsibly.  Pesticides can be valuable tools that, if used properly, offer many potential benefits. But pesticides can also pose risks if improperly used. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is responsible for licensing pesticide applicators to ensure pesticides are used properly and to protect the people and the environment of Vermont.  The revised Rule for the Control of Pesticides (Rule) has necessitated changes to some exams and training materials used to prepare for these exams.  Please see more below.

Applicator Certification in Vermont

VAAFM updated its Certification and Training plan to comply with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency’s 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicator’s final rule.

  • To be certified as a private applicator, you must take the Private CORE exam. Private Applicators are farmers of all kinds: dairy, vegetables, berries, apples, grapes, nursery stock, Christmas trees, and more. To be certified to use Class A pesticides in Vermont, private applicators only need to take and pass the Private CORE exam.
  • To be certified as a commercial, non-commercial, or government applicator, you must take the CORE exam and at least one other category exam. 
    • Commercial applicators are employees of companies that perform (but are not limited to) the following services:  pest control, mosquito control, landscape, lawn care, tree care, agricultural custom application, forest pest control including invasive plant control, vegetation control (right-of-way), aquatic weed control, wood preservation, aerial application. To use any pesticides on the property of others you must be a commercial applicator and be affiliated with a licensed pesticide applicator company.
    • Non-commercial applicators include golf course superintendents, groundskeepers, those that perform in-house cooling tower maintenance, and others that may use certain classes of pesticides only on their employer's property as part of their work.
    • Government applicators are employees of federal, state, or municipal departments or agencies that use (including the recommendation of) pesticides as part of their job.

The revised Rule went into effect on February 24, 2023.  This rule necessitates VAAFM to update pesticide applicator exams and study materials. In addition to denoting changes in the rule, there are new study materials to help test takers prepare for the Commercial CORE and Private CORE exams as well as certain Category exams.  Category exams study materials will be updated by May 1, so please look at the required inserts to those manuals on the Certification and Training Website.

Most importantly, all applicators planning to take the CORE exam on or after April 1, 2023, will need to study:

After April 1, 2023, Private applicators will also need to study the Worker Protection How-to-Comply Manual

If you are ready to take a certification exam, you can learn more about scheduling and locations here, Pesticide Exam Information | Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets (

For any questions, please contact Annie Macmillan, the Pesticide Certification and Training Coordinator at 802-828-1732 or