EDIS Document

Publication #PI-129

Licensing of Demonstration and Research Pesticide Applicators in Florida1

Frederick M. Fishel2

This document explains the licensing and regulation of persons who apply pesticides for the purpose of conducting demonstration and research activities in Florida, as regulated by the Florida Pesticide Law (Chapter 487) and administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Demonstration and Research Pest Control

No license is necessary for those who use or supervise the use of non-restricted-use pesticides. The Demonstration and Research Pest Control category is applicable to the following: 1) individuals who publicly demonstrate or supervise the demonstration of the proper use and application techniques of restricted-use pesticides or other pesticides requiring licensure. Such individuals may include but are not limited to Extension specialists, county agents, commercial industry representatives, and other individuals who demonstrate pesticide handling procedures used in public programs; and 2) individuals who conduct or supervise field research that utilizes restricted-use pesticides or other pesticides requiring licensure. Licensure in this category authorizes pesticide demonstration and research only in accordance with other categories in which licensure is held. For example, a UF/IFAS Extension Specialist who applies restricted-use pesticides to turfgrass plots as part of a research program at one of the Research and Education Centers would hold the Ornamental and Turf Pest Control Category license in addition to the Demonstration and Research Pest Control Category license. Although there are a few exceptions, according to internal policy, UF/IFAS employees who handle any pesticide must be certified and licensed.

Category Certification Standards

Applicators seeking a license in this category must demonstrate practical knowledge of:

  • Pesticide compatibility, pH, and solubility;

  • Proper pesticide use and handling;

  • Equipment types and calibration conversions for small plots;

  • Principles of integrated pest management;

  • Pesticide resistance;

  • Safety procedures for pesticide transport, storage, and disposal;

  • Interpretation of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for pesticide products;

  • Environmental effects of pesticide use;

  • Laws and regulations governing pesticide use and experimental use;

  • Biotechnology as it relates to pest control; and

  • Liability associated with pesticide use.

License Classification

Certified Demonstration and Research pest control applicators may be licensed as either public applicators or commercial applicators. These are the major differences:

  • A public applicator is a licensed applicator employed by a public or governmental agency. The license is only valid when performing work for the public or governmental agency. The public applicator fee for a four-year license is $100.

  • A commercial applicator is a licensed applicator who is licensed to apply restricted-use pesticides on any property provided they are certified in the category for which the applications are made. A commercial applicator is usually a contract applicator. The commercial applicator fee for a four-year license is $250.


Persons must successfully complete three examinations before they can apply to the department for a license. These examinations are a Core examination, the Demonstration and Research Pest Control category examination, and the appropriate category exam(s). The Core examination may be taken at any UF/IFAS Extension Office. The Demonstration and Research Pest Control examination may be taken at a UF/IFAS Extension Office that offers category examinations. No special qualifications must be met to take the examinations. There is no fee to take the examinations.

Study Materials

Manuals and study materials for Core and Demonstration and Research Pest Control applicators who will be taking exams may be obtained from the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore by calling 1-800-226-1764 or online at http://www.ifasbooks.ufl.edu/. The content of the Core exam is based upon the manual Applying Pesticides Correctly (Figure 1). The content of the Demonstration and Research Pest Control exam is based upon the manual Demonstration and Research Pest Control (Figure 2). Sample labels may be obtained from suppliers of pesticide products.

Figure 1. 

Applying Pesticides Correctly, SM-1.

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Figure 2. 

Demonstration and Research Pest Control, SM-359.

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Applicators must recertify every four years. To recertify, applicators may take the examinations again or attend training and obtain 4 continuing education units (CEUs) approved for the Demonstration and Research Pest Control category and the appropriate number of CEUs for the additional category or categories. Core CEUs cannot be used to meet the required category CEUs. No substitutions of other types of CEUs are allowed. Opportunities to earn CEUs may be found at http://www.flaes.org/.

Additional Information

Fishel, F.M. 2005. Experimental-use permits. PI-56. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PI/PI09300.pdf (accessed October 2018).

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Bureau of Licensing and Enforcement, 3125 Conner Drive, Bldg. 8, L-29, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650, Phone: 850-617-7997. https://www.freshfromflorida.com/Business-Services/Pesticide-Licensing/Pesticide-Applicator-Licenses/Pesticide-Applicator-Certification-and-Licensing (accessed October 2018).

Florida Statutes, Chapter 487. Florida Pesticide Law. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0487/0487ContentsIndex.html&StatuteYear=2016&Title=%2D%3E2016%2D%3EChapter%20487 (accessed October 2018).

University of Florida/IFAS Pesticide Information Office, P.O. Box 110710, Bldg. 164, Gainesville, FL 32611-0710, Phone: 352-392-4721, http://pested.ifas.ufl.edu/ (accessed October 2018).



This document is PI-129, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date July 2006. Revised September 2015 and October 2018. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.


Frederick M. Fishel, professor, Agronomy Department, and director, Pesticide Information Office; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.