Pesticide Applicators Employed by Political Subdivisions
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Pesticide Applicators Employed by Political Subdivisions

Unless otherwise noted, this information refers to pesticide applicator licenses regulated by Texas agricultural law and regulations.

A person may not purchase or use a restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide or regulated herbicides unless the person is:

  • licensed as a commercial, noncommercial or noncommercial political subdivision applicator in the use categories covering the proposed pesticide use; or
  • an individual acting under the direct supervision of a licensed applicator.

License Descriptions

  • A commercial applicator operates a business or is an employee of a business that applies restricted-use and state-limited-use pesticides or regulated herbicides to the land of another for hire or compensation.
  • A noncommercial applicator is a person required to license who does not qualify as a commercial applicator.
  • A noncommercial political subdivision applicator (NCPS) is employed by a political subdivision of the state of Texas or of a federal agency operating in Texas.


The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has contracted with PSI Services (PSI) to administer exams for agricultural pesticide applicator licensing. This is the same vendor that administers exams for structural pest control licensing. PSI has been providing credentialing and testing services to state and federal agencies, private sector businesses and professional associations for over 65 years. 

PSI will provide both excellent quality exam opportunities and a convenient schedule for pesticide applicators to test in 22 locations across the state. The schedule will provide more testing opportunities than previously offered. By outsourcing testing to a third-party vendor, the Department’s resources may be used in a more consistent and efficient manner.

Complete step-by-step procedures to obtain a commercial, noncommercial or noncommercial political subdivision pesticide applicator license.

(For more information on commercial or noncommercial licenses)

Exam Preparation

Study materials for license exams may be purchased from Texas AgriLife Extension Service. You may obtain order form D-1405 from a county Extension office or:

Extension Agricultural and Environmental Safety Program
P.O. Drawer FS,
College Station, Texas 77841
Phone: (979)845-1099
Fax: (979)845-625

Noncommercial Political Subdivision License

  • Fee $75 annually.
  • Expires annually on the anniversary date on which it was issued or renewed.
  • Requires five continuing education units annually.

    Structural or TDA Ag License?

In 1997, the Legislature amended the Structural Pest Control Act to give some applicators the option of licensing with Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB) or Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). As of Sept. 1, 2007, the SPCB became the Structural Pest Control Service, a part of TDA. A person who performs pest control work on growing plants, trees, shrubs, turf, other horticultural plants or rights-of-way can license with TDA in the ag or structural categories.

Additional requirements for an ag 3A license:

  • Employed by a political subdivision, cemetery or government-owned golf course;
  • Hold a TDA commercial, noncommercial or NCPS license;
  • Comply with annual continuing education required by TDA.
  • Applicators who work for public or municipal golf course and apply pesticides on turf, trees or shrubs can license with either agency. 

    Test Transfer
  • An applicator with a SPCS license must take the ag general standards test.    
  • An applicator who has both category certification in SPCS lawn and ornamental and weed can transfer to TDA's ag lawn and ornamental and right-of-way categories.
  • A person certified in SPCS's weed category can transfer to TDA's right-of-way category.

    Record Keeping

Commercial, noncommercial and NCPS applicators shall maintain records of all pesticide applications for a period of two years.

Information Required:

  1. Date and time of application
  2. Person for whom application was made
  3. Location of land
  4. Product name
  5. EPA registration number
  6. Rate of product per unit
  7. Total volume applied per unit
  8. Pest treated
  9. Site treated
  10. Total acres or volume of acre treated (e.g. acre, square feet, number of head)
  11. Wind direction and velocity and air temperature
  12. FAA "N" number of aerial equipment; ID number of other application equipment
  13. Applicator name and license number and/or person making the application

Spray permit number for regulated herbicides applied in a regulated county

General Supervision Requirements

  • A licensed applicator may supervise the application of restricted-use and state-limited-use pesticides and regulated herbicides if the label does not prohibit such action.
  • The licensed commercial, noncommercial or NCPS applicator and the person under the direct supervision of the licensed commercial or noncommercial applicator must both work at the same local office unless the licensee is physically present during the application.
  • If there is a discrepancy in supervision requirements, the greatest degree of supervision shall apply.
  • A licensed applicator may not supervise an applicator whose license is under suspension or revocation.
  • The licensed applicator does not need to be physically present during the application.
  • The licensed applicator is responsible for the actions of the applicators under his/her supervision.

Training Requirements for Employees of Political Subdivisions

Annually and prior to making the first application, a unlicensed employee must be trained in the specific use of the pesticide applied. The training requirements may be satisfied by either:

  1. the unlicensed employee obtaining 5 CEUs in accordance with the continuing education required for commercial, noncommercial and NCPS applicators, or
  2. the unlicensed employee is trained on the appropriate laws and regulations pertaining to pesticide use, the label information for the use of all pesticides that are applied and pesticide safety training.

A record of training received or CEUs obtained by the unlicensed employee must be maintained for two years and made available to the department for inspection upon request. The record may be either a certificate of completion of training or CEUs obtained or on a form prescribed by the department.

For More Information

Texas Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711
1-800-TELL-TDA or (512) 463-7622
For the hearing impaired: Relay Texas 1-800-735-2988 (voice) or 1-800-735-2989 (TDD)

TDA's website has more information on licensing requirements and continuing education courses.

Structural Pest Control Service
Phone 512-305-8250 or 866-918-4481