Commercial Registered Applicator Programs

Posted on June 11th, 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing disruptions in pesticide applicator certification exams and the conversion of exam administration primarily to Metro Institute, many pesticide application firms are seeking alternatives for pesticide applicator certification. One option is the establishment of commercial registered applicator programs.

Commercial registered applicator programs allow firms to train applicators in specific categories and require the applicator to take only the commercial core exam in a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) approved venue (online or at a Metro Institute testing center). Registered applicators receive a three- year credential, similar to certified applicators; however, registered applicators can only apply general use pesticides.

Differences Between Certified and Registered Applicators





Application fee




Core plus Categories

Core Only

Category-specific training required



Pesticide type(s)

General & Restricted Use

General Use Only

Duration of credential

3 Years

3 Years


Certified applicators who qualify as trainers (those with two years of certified experience in the categories in which they wish to train) must be verified as a trainer through an exam administered by MDARD or Michigan State University Pesticide Safety Education Program (contact information below). Upon successful completion that exam, the firm must develop a category-specific registered applicator training program to train their applicators. When an individual passes the commercial core exam, completes the category-specific training, has sent in the application with appropriate fee and verification of training form, then the applicator is considered registered and may begin pesticide applications.

Pesticide applicator business license requirements still apply to commercial pesticide application firms who employ commercial registered applicators.

Applicable Law & Regulations:

  • Act 451, Part 83, Section 8314(1) states that a person shall not apply a pesticide for a commercial purpose or during his or her employment unless that person is either a certified applicator or a registered applicator.
  • Act 451, Part 83, Section 8302(14) defines “certified applicator” as an individual who is authorized to use or supervise the use of a restricted use


  • Act 451, Part 83, Section 8306(1) defines “registered applicator” as an individual who is authorized to apply general use pesticides for a private or commercial
  • Act 451, Part 83, Section 8313(1) states that commercial applicators that hold themselves out to the public as being in the business of applying pesticides shall obtain a commercial applicator license for each place of
  • Regulation 637, Rule 11(1) states that a trainer of registered applicators shall be a certified applicator with a minimum of 2 years of experience and shall have successfully completed a training program approved by the
  • Regulation 637, Rule 8(1) states that all registered applicators shall demonstrate, by examination, practical knowledge of the basic principles of pest management, pesticide label comprehension, and the safe use of
  • Regulation 637, Rule 8(3) states that training programs for commercial registered applicators shall be approved by MDARD, be category-specific, and include certain required

Steps to implement a commercial registered applicator training program:

  1. Obtain a copy of the Registered Applicator Trainer Manual from the MDARD website.
  2. Contact Michigan State University Pesticide Safety Education Program Coordinator John Stone at or call 616-890-6729 to schedule a registered applicator trainer
  3. Work with the MSU Pesticide Safety Education Program to develop a category- specific training program for those categories in which you desire to register
  4. Once the MSU Pesticide Safety Education Program completes its review, it will be submitted to MDARD for

Steps to become a registered commercial applicator:

  1. Complete a training program approved by MDARD and conducted by an MDARD-verified
  2. Pass a commercial core exam. To schedule an exam, visit Metro Institute’s website.
  3. Submit a verification of training form, Pesticide Applicator Certification/Registration Application, and $45 fee to Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, O. Box 30776, Lansing, MI 48909-8276.