An applicator is the person(s) in an organization who has the responsibility for all pesticide purchasing, storage, handling, and use. Each organization must have at least one person licensed as an applicator at each facility location. The applicator's license categories dictate the areas in which a company may legally apply pesticides. An applicator is usually an owner, a supervisor, or a foreman. An applicator may use pesticides or supervise the use of pesticides by that person's licensed operators.

Commercial Applicator License

Required for individuals who purchase, use or supervise the use of pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use for hire.

Commercial Not-for-Hire Applicator License

Required for individuals who use or supervise the use of pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use for any purpose on property of an employer when such activity is a requirement of the terms of employment and the application is limited to property under the control of the employer only

Commercial Applicator Licensing Requirements

  1. Pass the 100-question General Standards exam or Aerial General Standards exam with a score of 70 or more.
  2. Pass one or more 50-question Category exam with a score of 35 or more correct. Category selection depends on the sites where the company uses pesticides.
  3. Watch the mail for your license application.
  4. Return the completed license application form with the appropriate fee to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

Commercial Applicator License Fee

$180 for a 3-year license

Commercial Not-for-Hire Applicator License Fee

$60 for a 3-year license

Commercial Applicator License Categories

  • Aquatic Pest Control: Pesticide use in standing or running water 
  • Demonstration and Research: Pesticide use during research or the teaching of pesticide and equipment use
  • Field Crop Pest Control: Pesticide use in corn, soybeans, small grains, forages, grasslands, industrial hemp, etc.
  • Forest Pest Control: Pesticide use in forests, forest nurseries, and forest seed-producing areas
  • Fruit Crop Pest Control: Pesticide use in fruit and nut crops
  • Grain Facility Pest Control: Pesticide use in and around grain elevators or similar grain holding facilities, conveyances, and transportation facilities
  • Livestock Pest Control: Pesticides applied to livestock or livestock barns
  • Mosquito Control: Insecticides applied to control mosquitoes
  • Ornamental Pest Control: Pesticide use on trees, shrubs, and ornamental plantings
  • Plant Management Pest Control: Pesticide use on portable plants used for interior landscaping and environmental enhancement
  • Right-of-Way Pest Control: Chemical weed control on non-crop​ sites such as parking lots, along roads, in access rights-of-way, and in fence lines
  • Sewer Line Root Control: Chemical control of roots in sewer lines
  • Seed Treatment: Pesticide use on seeds
  • Soil Fumigation: Pesticide use for soil fumigation
  • Turf Pest Control: Pesticide use on turf areas and sod farms
  • Vegetable Crop Pest Control: ​Pesticide use on vegetable crops and medical/recreational cannabis

An operator is a person who uses pesticides at the job site. The operator is tied directly to the applicator's license. The operator cannot be licensed without an applicator being properly licensed. The operator can apply pesticides only under the direct supervision of the applicator and can apply pesticides only to areas covered by the applicator's license.

Supervision and direction of operators by an applicator is interpreted to mean that the applicator must be in daily contact with the operators.

Commercial Operator License

Required for individuals who use pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use for hire under the supervision of a currently licensed applicator.

Commercial Not-for-Hire Operator License

Required for individuals who use pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use for any purpose on property of an employer when such activity is a requirement of the terms of employment, the application is limited to property under the control of the employer only, and the pesticide use is under the supervision of a currently licensed applicator.

Commercial Operator Licensing Requirements

  1. Be employed and supervised by a currently licensed applicator.
  2. Pass the 100-question General Standards exam or Aerial General Standards exam with a score of 70 or more.
  3. Watch the mail for your license application.
  4. Return the completed license application form with the appropriate fee to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Commercial Operator License Fee

$120 for a 3-year license

Commercial Not-for-Hire Operator License Fee

$45 for a 3-year license

An individual selling Restricted Use pesticides must be licensed. Also, an individual selling non-restricted use (general use) pesticides for the production of an agricultural commodity in containers with capacities equal to or greater than 2-1/2 gallons or 10 pounds must be licensed. A test, license, and fee are required. Also, mandatory records must be kept for two years. Commercial Applicators and Structural Pest Control Licensees are exempt from the test and fee, but must register with the Department of Agriculture as a Dealer

Dealer License Fee

$300 for a 3-year license