Since the inception of the pesticide training program, some 6,000 commercial pesticide applicators have received at least initial training. In addition to initial training, these applicators must be recertified by training programs conducted by University Extension as mandated by the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Pesticide Control.
Licensed applicators must pass an exam and participate in continuing education courses on environmentally sound uses of pesticides. At the current time, commercial applicators are re-licensed on a three-year cycle. New applicators need up-to-date training and training materials prior to becoming certified and licensed.
Public concerns over potential effects of pesticides on human health and the environment continue to increase. Additionally, new laws and regulations that govern pesticides and their use make an intensive training program essential. For example, there were several changes in the recently implemented Worker Protection Standard. Additional new legislation which provides training opportunities for this program includes the Endangered Species Program and the Federal Recordkeeping Requirement.
The University of Missouri Extension Pesticide Program provides educational outreach for individuals aspiring to become licensed commercial pesticide applicators. These programs involve two areas of instruction: a core training session in which all trainees attend and the specialty category section in which the attendees conduct their business activities. Training programs are conducted in Springfield, Kansas City, Cape Girardeau, St. Louis and Columbia.
The core training session provides basic pesticide knowledge which impacts all pesticide applicators. The instruction is provided by persons representing several agencies including the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and University Extension.
There are 10 different specialty categories within the commercial PAT program (category 1 has two sections: 1A: Agricultural Plant, and 1B: Ag. Animal Pest Control and category 7 has three sections: 7A: General Structural Pest; 7B: Termite; and 7B: Fumigation Pest Control).
In addition to taking the core exam, commercial applicators need to certify in at least one of the following categories depending on which area of expertise you are qualifying for. Category training programs are conducted by persons representing a variety of agencies.