General Certification Standards (Core) Exam

Florida is home to one of the most diverse agricultural powerhouses in the nation. All the crops are affected by different pests. Farmers, as well as private applicators, need to understand how to effectively manage pest populations. Along with cultural, mechanical, and biological pest management strategies, pesticide applicators use chemical methods. There are pesticides that are known as restricted use pesticides (RUP), and applicators need to have a pesticide license to use them. Here are some important things to remember when preparing for acquiring your restricted use pesticide license.

Tractor applying pesticides. Photo credit to:


What is the General Certification Standards Core Exam?

The General Certification Standards Core Exam is required for any person that wants to become certified as a licensed pesticide applicator, to control pests under the Florida Pesticide Law and its rules. Before someone can apply for any of the license’s categories under Pesticide Certification Section Chapter 487, the person most have evidence that they have passed the Standards Core Exam. The exam covers basic pesticide knowledge about:

  1. The law of pesticide application.
  2. The principles of pesticides and pest control.
  3. How to understand and read the labels of pesticides.
  4. The different pesticide formulations.
  5. The effects of pesticides in the environment.
  6. Harmful effects to human health and how to response to an emergency.
  7. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  8. Transportation, storage, security, and disposal of pesticide waste.
  9. Pesticide application procedures.


What is the requirement to take an exam?

The Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (FDACS) is the agency responsible for issuing pesticide licenses. The examination can be taken at an UF/IFAS County Extension Offices. No special qualification is needed to take the examination.


What is the process to schedule an examination?

To schedule an examination:

  1. Go to and click on apply for examination.
  2. Click on Agriculture/RUP License Chapter 487.
  3. If it is your first time, click on Exam Signup (Obtain a New license).
  4. Select the license type:
    1. If you own your own farm and you are not going to be paid for applying pesticides, select Private.
    2. If you work for any government agency, select Public.
    3. If you work for any commercial company or are going to get paid for applying pesticides, select Commercial.
  5. Fill in the information asked and get your voucher number.
  6. Once you have your voucher number, go back to the home page and click on schedule an examination.
  7. Fill in the information asked and schedule your examination. (UF/IFAS Extension Polk County provides the examination the first working Monday of each month).

    Core Manual
    Applying Pesticides Correctly is one of the study materials for a pesticide license. This book and others are available from the UF/IFAS Extension bookstore in Gainesville.


What are the Study materials?

The exam is based on the study guide SM 1, Applying Pesticides Correctly, by Frederick M. Fishel, 7th Edition. You can buy the book by visiting the website UF/IFAS Extension provides trainings in person or online courses that can help you prepare better to take the exam. Visit the UF/IFAS Catalog website for online trainings or call your local UF/IFAS Extension office and ask them for upcoming trainings.


Final Regards

The exam is in English and requires a passing grade of 70%. If you have any more questions, contact the in UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Office at 863-519-1041, or our website or contact the Small Farms and Pesticide Agent directly at 863-519-1049 or

University of Florida is an equal opportunity institution


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Posted: July 19, 2021

Category: Agriculture
Tags: Coreexam, FDACS, Florida, Pesticide Testing, Pesticides, Polkpesttraining, UF/IFAS

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