The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection pesticide regulations requires training requirements for NEW commercial applicators [subchapter 6 (PDF)] and operators [subchapter 5 (PDF)]. Those persons never licensed, as well as those who have not maintained their certification, must complete the training requirements to take become licensed.
Training for either a new commercial applicator or operator is to include BOTH a DEP-approved basic pesticide training course, and 40 hours of on-the-job training to competently perform the functions associated with any applications in which they are expected to perform.
This webpage includes 3 major sections:
- Basic Pesticide Training Course requirement: prescribed course content and current schedule of available DEP-approved courses
- Category on-the-job training requirement: competence requirement; the minimum number of applications required to be completed by category; and options to fulfill the 40 hour on-the-job training requirement when it is unavailable to you (e.g., you are starting a new business).
- Training documentation required to be submitted with certification exam application(s)
The purpose of this training is to provide the candidate applicator or operator with a working knowledge, at a minimum, of the following information. The basic course for applicators and operators are the same.
See the 2021 schedule of NJDEP-approved basic pesticide training courses for applicators and operators.
The content of the basic pesticide training course is to include at a minimum:
- Proper use of application equipment;
- Hazards that may be involved in applying pesticides;
- Instructions for mixing pesticides used in particular circumstances;
- Protective clothing & safety equipment required during the handling & application of pesticides;
- General precautions to be followed in the disposal of containers, as well as the cleaning and decontamination of equipment;
- Applicable State/Federal pesticide laws & regulations;
- Understand /correctly interpret label and labeling information;
- Understand principles of Integrated Pest Management.
Commercial applicator or operator candidates are required to complete 40 hours of on-the-job training, if available.
The on-the-job training should be practical and sufficient to allow the operator or applicator in training ‘to competently perform the functions associated with any applications‘ that they are expected to be involved. For applicator trainees, the 40-hour training must also include instruction on recognition of pests, their biology, and signs of infestation to ensure that they have an understanding of the pests to be controlled.
Additionally, within the 40 hours of training, the candidate must perform or witness a minimum number of applications for each of the categories that they will be licensed. A responsible pesticide applicator must be present during any part of the on-the-job training that requires the trainee to apply pesticides.
Certification in Category 10 ‘Demonstration & Research’ and Category 13 ‘IPM in Schools’ are exempt from the category on-the-job training requirements. Certification in Category 11 ‘Aerial Application Pest Control’ requires training in aerial only.
The NJDEP requires specific documents to be submitted to them when applying to take certification exams. All pesticide examinations are now administered online by the Rutgers Office of Professional Continuing Education (OCPE) through its’ online portal Pesticide Applicator Certification Exam Registration (PACER). See this website’s Exam webpage for more specifics.
IMPORTANT: Please see the NJDEP licensing and registrations website for all required steps and forms to submit with your exam application.
For CORE certification: proof of meeting the CORE basic pesticide training class requirement must accompany the applicator candidate’s application to take the CORE exam.
For category certification: proof of meeting the required 40 hour on-the-job training must be submitted with the category exam application using the NJDEP ‘Category Training Verification Form’. Specifically, you check off ‘yes’ that the training has been completed and write in the categories included. Then, the trainer must sign off on this form that you completed the 40 hours of training with the minimum number of required applications.
You may submit an application to take exams for both CORE and categories at the same time. But, the proof of meeting the training requirements for all must be included with the application.
The NJDEP assumes that all ‘established’ applicator businesses will have the ability to provide on-the-job training to candidate applicators or operators. And the NJDEP realizes that applicators that do not work for an applicator business or those just starting a new applicator business may not have the ability to conduct the 40 hours of on-the-job training themselves. There are three alternatives when you cannot complete the 40 hour category on-the-job training:
- Category Training Course Substitution: You may complete a NJDEP-approved category training course in lieu of the 40 hours. This training is currently available for applicators only for categories 3A, 3B, 7A, 7B, and 8D. See list of category course training course coordinators. You must submit proof of course attendance with your application to take the exam(s).
- If you cannot complete the on-the-job training or there is no category course available, you still must submit a NJDEP ‘Category Training Verification Form’ when you send in your category exam application form. Specifically, you will use it to apply for an exemption. On the form, you check ‘no’ and state why you are unable to complete the 40 hour on-the-job training.
- Affidavit of Previous Experience: If you are unable to complete the 40 hour on-the-job training but have at least one year of experience for each category that you applying for, you may submit an affidavit verifying your experience. The NJDEP has published a template affidavit. This affidavit states that you will supply NJDEP (inspectors) with proof of your experience (such as application records) when requested.
In summary, all applicator candidates must submit proof of meeting the CORE class requirement with their application to take the CORE exam. Further, when an applicator candidate submits an application to take a category exam(s), they must include one of the following: Category Training Verification Form, training attendance record, or affidavit of experience.
Historical note: On-the-job training has been a requirement for new applicators & operators since July 1, 2002. The OCPE PACER portal became fully operational on January 11, 2021.
Visit the NJDEP website to inquire further about training requirements for pesticide control applicators or operators in the State of New Jersey.