How Do I Get a Pesticide License?

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To get a pesticide license there are a few steps to take, but it’s all pretty straightforward. Below is what you need to do, with links to pages where you can purchase manuals, check price lists, and view schedules.

1) Understand what type of pesticide license you need. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) issues pesticide licenses in the state and they have a list of subcategories in which you can become certified and licensed. Look at the list of categories found on the Department of Agriculture’s website to determine the one(s) you need.

2) Order manuals from the NC State University Pesticide Safety Education Program.  All questions on the Pesticide Exams come from manuals produced by us here at N.C. State University. Each manual corresponds to a particular licensing category. You can order manuals online by going to or you can print the manual order form and mail it to us with a check or money order.

3) Sign up for a Pesticide School or an exam-only option.  We offer Pesticide Schools which you can sign up for at or by printing the mail-in form. At these schools, we review the Core Manual, which is a book most people must take a test on, and we review certain subcategories at each school. Also, at each school, the NCDA&CS will allow you to register for and take the pesticide exams.

You can take the exams without the school. If you opt to do this, you can look at the test dates and exam prices, as well as register for the exam-only option on the NCDA&CS’s website.

4) Take your pesticide exams. You have only three opportunities to take and pass an exam in one calendar year, so make sure you are comfortable with the material before testing. Again, you can attend a Pesticide School before taking an exam, can study on your own and take the test at any exam-only site, or you can take the exam on the second day of a Pesticide School.

Our site has a fact sheet that describes the certification and licensing procedure in detail. Contact the North Carolina State University Pesticide Safety Education Program ( or 919-515-3113) if you have more questions.

*For reciprocity information, please visit the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ webpage.