Agents

Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop

Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs (VTPP) partners with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS) annually to host a train-the-trainer workshop for Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) agents across the state. The Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop (PSEW) is designed to provide a yearly update for agents and specialists on pesticide applicator training procedures and practices, and emerging issues throughout the Commonwealth. PSEW focuses on enhancing the pesticide safety education programs conducted by VCE. The workshop also serves to recertify agents in Commercial Applicator Category 10, Demonstration and Research Pest Control. During this event, VCE agents are recognized for their outstanding pesticide safety programs and ability to collaborate with VDACS-OPS.

To view past workshop content, agents can use the "Trainer Tools (Canvas Login)" button at the top of the page to access the Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop Course in Canvas. Below are workshop desciptions for 2018 and 2019, but agents must login to Canvas using their Virginia Tech PID and password to access full agendas and content:

  • 2019 Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop – August 28-29, Roanoke, VA: topics included, but are not limited to, VDACS Legal Update, 18 and 24(c) Product Registration, Boxwood Blight Management, Spotted Lanternfly Update, IPM Decisions, Insect ID Game, Hemp Panel Discussion.
  • 2018 Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop – September 5-6, Roanoke, VA: topics included, but are not limited to, VDACS Legal Update, Field Watch, Resistance Issues with Insecticides and Herbicides, GMO Basics, Asian Longhorn Tick, Drift Demonstration.

Certification and Recertification

Certification Preparation Course Calendar - All Categories

Online Certification Preparation Courses

Private Applicator Recertification Training Courses

Commercial Applicator Recertification Training Courses

Planned or Pending Commercial Applicator Recertification Training Courses

Online Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training

Agents and specialists are required to be certified in Commercial Applicator Category 10,  Demonstration and Research Pest Control, if they work with pest management or pesticide safety education programs (as per Virginia Cooperative Extension [VCE] policy and state law). Below are instructions to help you obtain this certification. Please contact VTPP for assistance.

After viewing this section, new agents should look at the content within "Trainer Tools (Canvas Login)" for resources to help organize pesticide applicator training programs. You should also work closely with an experienced colleague until you gain experience with these programs.

VCE agents and specialists must be certified as commercial pesticide applicators in Category 10, Demonstration and Research Pest Control if they make pesticide use and safety recommendations, or conduct pesticide safety education trainings (certification or recertification). Agents and specialists who conduct field research or demonstrations involving the application of pesticides must also be certified.

Extension agents and specialists must pass both the Virginia Core and Category 10 exams.

Prerequisites for taking the exams include:

  • One year as a certified registered technician in Virginia;
  • Or equivalent education, experience, or training.

People who have the credentials to become VCE agents or specialists have the education prerequisite; hence, no additional formal training is required.

Before taking the exams, new agents and specialists should:

  1. Obtain and study the training manuals on which the exams are based.
  2. Apply to Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS) for exam authorization (application fee waived for government employees).
  3. Take the exams within 90 days of receiving the authorization letter.

The exams can be taken on a touch-screen computer at a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Customer Service Center or as a written exam by appointment at a VDACS-approved testing center.

Copies of both the Virginia Core and Category 10 manuals are available in each Unit Office. Should you need help locating study materials, please contact VTPP.

Appropriately designated VCE faculty or staff may proctor the private pesticide applicator certification exam. In delegating this responsibility to VCE, VDACS-OPS provides guidelines for exam security and proctor procedures, a proctor designation form, and instructions for test takers.

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PA Exam Proctor Guidelines.pdf
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PA VCE Proctor Form.pdf
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PA Exam Tester Instructions.pdf

The following resources can be useful when preparing information for groups or individuals on pesticide use and safety related subjects, and integrated pest management (IPM) topics such as key pests, pesticide products, and pest management/crop production practices.

Select the "Trainer Tools (Canvas Login)" button at the top of this page and login using your Virginia Tech PID and password to access a number of pesticide safety related resources in the “Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop” course.

Our website (Resources and Publications) also provides links to a number of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) publications (e.g., Pest Management Guides [PMGs], factsheets) that cover a range of topics including pesticide use and safety, and insect, plant disease, and weed identification and management.

Kelly Registration Systems integrates Virginia's data on currently registered pesticide products with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticide registration information – including ingredients, sites, and target pests.

The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship website provides educational resources for a number of pesticide handling topics.

The Southern IPM Center provides a number of resources to help foster development and adoption of IPM. They provide IPM data in the form of crop profiles, IPM guidelines, and pest management strategic plans, as well as useful links to pesticide information.

Virginia's Pesticide Container Recycling Program is a cooperative effort between VDACS-OPS, VCE, and local governments. The program provides a free and convenient way to dispose of properly rinsed plastic pesticide containers in an environmentally friendly manner.

Virginia's Pesticide Collection Program is administered by VDACS-OPS, with participation from VCE and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. The program assists agricultural producers, licensed pesticide dealers and businesses, and homeowners with the proper disposal of unwanted pesticides. The program is available at no cost to eligible participants.  

Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) agents and specialists must be certified as commercial pesticide applicators in Category 10, Demonstration and Research Pest Control if they make pesticide use and safety recommendations, or conduct pesticide safety education trainings (certification or recertification). Agents and specialists who conduct field research or demonstrations involving the application of pesticides must also be certified.

Extension agents and specialists must pass both the Virginia Core and Category 10 exams.

Prerequisites for taking the exams include:

  • One year as a certified registered technician in Virginia;
  • Or equivalent education, experience, or training.

People who have the credentials to become VCE agents or specialists have the education prerequisite; hence, no additional formal training is required.

Before taking the exams, new agents and specialists should:

  1. Obtain and study the training manuals on which the exams are based.
  2. Apply to Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS) for exam authorization (application fee waived for government employees).
  3. Take the exams within 90 days of receiving the authorization letter.

The exams can be taken on a touch-screen computer at a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Customer Service Center or as a written exam by appointment at a VDACS testing center.

Copies of both the Virginia Core and Category 10 manuals are available in each Unit Office. Should you need help locating study materials please contact VTPP.

Every Extension field unit office should have a:

  • Virginia Core Manual.
  • Category 10 Manual, Demonstration and Research Pest Control.

We ask agents NOT to loan manuals, including those they received for free and manuals they purchase with unit funds. This is because Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs (VTPP) relies on income from sales to reprint, edit, and revise manuals. Furthermore, experience has shown that many "loaners" do not come back!

Category manuals are available for free to agents who provide training in a specific category. However, VTPP asks that information related to these training sessions be posted on the certification preparation course calendar.

Online Resources – Select the "Trainer Tools (Canvas Login)" button at the top of this page and login using your Virginia Tech PID and password to access resources in the “Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop” course. 

Resources in District and Unit Offices - Each Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) unit office and planning district houses Pesticide Safety Education training tools and kits. Please refer to the home page of the “Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop” course in Canvas for a list of resources. If your unit or planning district is missing training tools and kits, please contact Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs (VTPP) for help recovering or replenishing those items.

Select the "Trainer Tools (Canvas Login)" button at the top of this page and login to the site using your Virginia Tech PID and password. Once logged in:

  • Click “Courses” in the vertical bar menu on the left side of the screen.

  • Click “Virginia Pesticide Safety Educators Workshop” (PSEW) to enter the course.

  • A new menu will appear on the left side of the screen. Click “Modules” from that menu.

  • After entering “Modules”, scroll down to find the “Slide Presentations and PPTs Module” and click to see available presentations.

  • Presentations from PSEW can also be found under “Modules”. The very first module at the top of the page houses a clickable agenda, and the content (e.g., presentations, forms, etc.) that corresponds to each session.

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services provides support to Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs (VTPP) to help offset the costs of Virginia Cooperative Extension-sponsored private applicator recertification (PAR) workshops (up to $200 per workshop). Agents can request reimbursement only for state and unit expenses.

To be reimbursed for PAR workshop expenses, agents must:

  • Sponsor a private applicator recertification course approved by VTPP.

  • Pay expenses through a unit account.

  • Document expenses directly attributed to the workshop using the reimbursement form, and include photocopies of all receipts. Make sure to specify how the expenses were associated with the PAR workshop.  

  • Conduct an evaluation of the workshop using the evaluation template. Agents may alter sample questions on this template, EXCEPT for the first question (which addresses three critical program benchmark metrics). Evaluations conducted without these critical elements will disqualify you for reimbursement. Should you have questions concerning this template please contact VTPP.

  • Tabulate the data obtained from evaluations (do not send individual evaluation forms). Please include any followup data, course and program impact statements, and success stories with the evaluation.

  • Send required workshop materials (e.g., roster, course forms, evaluations, receipts, etc.) to VTPP, ℅ Shanan Sessor, in a timely manner. Be sure to provide a fund number indicating where the reimbursement should be transferred. VTPP will arrange for an interdepartmental transfer of funds to the unit account.

Should you have questions, please contact VTPP.

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PAR Reimbursement Form.pdf
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Evaluation Form.doc

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS) website provides lists of certified commercial and private applicators by county. 

These lists provide the name, address, certification categories, certificate expiration date*, and recertification date (by category)** of individual applicators.

*Represents the expiration date of the card the applicator currently has in his or her possession. Remember, new certificates are not printed until the existing ones expire. 

**Shows how much recertification credit an applicator has accumulated.

Please review these lists and status reports. Alert VDACS-OPS and/or the individual(s) if corrections are needed (e.g., if a mailing address has changed).

The private applicator exam is intended to be taken by growers who need/intend to use restricted-use pesticides to produce an agricultural commodity, and/or who need to give Worker Protection Standard training to workers or uncertified pesticide handlers they employ. The private pesticide applicator exam serves as their application for certification by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS).

For this reason, VDACS-OPS asks that all designated exam proctors and alternates take seriously their responsibility to establish the age, identity, and occupational need or reason for anyone who takes the exam. Since designated proctors act as agents for VDACS-OPS when administering an exam and are key in exam security and the control of access to restricted-use pesticides, proctor privileges cannot be delegated to others. 

  • Please note: VDACS-OPS does not expect agents or unit staff to cross-examine prospective growers prior to administering the private pesticide applicator examination. However, as a general rule, agents know their clients. If you have concerns about a person's private pesticide applicator certification, notify VDACS-OPS when mailing in the exam answer sheet. Information of this nature will be confidential. Examples of concerns might be those relating to homeland security/terrorism or other malicious use(s) of restricted-use pesticides.

Additional notes:

  • Exams must be administered by designated proctors ONLY.

  • Counties can update their proctor and alternate designations anytime.  

  • Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs (VTTP) has online certification preparation courses with practice tests to supplement the manuals.

  • Extension agents can administer the private pesticide applicator exam to a group of prospective private applicators if/when appropriate. Do not make copies of booklets; contact VDACS-OPS for additional copies of exam booklets and a supply of answer ("bubble") sheets.

Appropriately designated Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) faculty or staff may proctor the private pesticide applicator certification exam.  In delegating this responsibility to VCE, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Office of Pesticide Services (VDACS-OPS) provides the following:

  • Guidelines for exam security and proctor procedures.

  • Instructions for test takers.

  • A proctor designation form.

In addition, field units should have copies of:

  • The private pesticide applicator exam question booklets (the version in use is Version 2, dated January 1995).

  • Exam answer sheets (answer sheets in use are printed with green ink, one-sided, and titled VDACS Private Pesticide Applicator Certification Exam).

If staffing changes affect the designated exam proctor or alternate, re-submit an updated proctor designation form to VDACS-OPS.

If you need additional exam question booklets or answer sheets, contact VDACS-OPS. DO NOT make your own copies of exam booklets or answer sheets.

Exam proctors and/or alternates do not have to be Agriculture and Natural Resources agents. It may be best if at least one person (designated proctor or alternate) works in the office on a regular basis (e.g., UAA, program support technician).

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PA Exam Tester Instructions.pdf
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PA Exam Proctor Guidelines.pdf
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PA VCE Proctor Form.pdf

First, please make sure you are following the latest version(s) of the Virginia Pest Management Guide(s) if you are giving pesticide recommendations to the public. Labels that are available online are for reference only. They are not a substitute for the product label. Online labels are classified as SAMPLE or SPECIMEN labels. The legal department of the manufacturer warns users of these labels thoroughly in this regard. Below are several online resources for sample/specimen labels and SDSs:

Kelly Registration System (via VDACS) - Search for pesticide products registered in Virginia.

CDMS Label Database - Search for sample pesticide product labels and safety data sheets.

EPA Pesticide Product and Label System - Search for sample pesticide product labels.

National Pesticide Information Retrieval System - Search for federally registered pesticide products.

Only registered pesticides may be used in Virginia. Making and applying a homemade concoction as a pesticide is illegal. As such, giving recipes for or recommending the use of homemade pesticides is not appropriate due to the potential liability to all parties involved. Aside from safety considerations (e.g., personal protective equipment, phytotoxicity), such recommendations would be suggesting an illegal act (the use of an unregistered pesticide) in Virginia. To prevent putting clients and VCE faculty and staff in legal jeopardy, do not recommend homemade pesticides.