The Environmental Protection Agency classifies pesticides as either "general-use" or "restricted-use".  General-use pesticides are less likely to harm the user or the environment when used according to label instruction.  Anyone can buy and apply general-use pesticides.  On the other hand, restricted-use pesticides can harm the environment or the applicator when not used as directed.  Licensing and certification are required for the purchase and application of restricted-use pesticides.   

To become certified for the first time you will need to purchase a Pesticide Applicator Certification Handbook from the County Extension Office for $15.00.  After reading through the handbook, schedule to take an open book exam at the County Extension Office administered by an authorized representative of the MSU Pesticide Education Program.

After passing the exam, the authorized representative will issue a temporary permit to the applicator.  The temporary permit will remain valid until the applicator receives their license in the mail from Montana Department of Agriculture. 


Lewis and Clark County is in Region 2 and currently on the first year of the five-year cycle.  The private applicator license fee is $50.00 and the license will expire December 31, 2019.

To renew the private applicator certification, a private applicator must acquire six (6) private applicator re-certification credits before the end of their region's five-year re-certification cycle.  These credits are available by attending programs accredited by the Montana Pesticide Education Program.  An applicator can also choose to take a closed book exam during the last year of the cycle to maintain their certification.  

An in-depth explanation of the private pesticide training program in Montana is located at MSU Pesticides Education Program.