Commercial Applicator License

What is the purpose of this license?
The purpose is to license companies that commercially apply pesticides. Pesticides include herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, fumigants, etc. A Commercial Applicator License, usually issued to an owner or manager, is required before operating any business that applies pesticides to the land or property of another. The Commercial Applicator must verify financial responsibility through a $100,000 insurance liability policy or surety bond ($50,000 for each public liability and property damage). Someone wanting to become a Commercial Applicator must pass one or more exams. Tests are held throughout the state and can be found at Washington State Department of Agriculture's web site. Material to prepare for the tests can be purchased from Washington State University (WSU).
Who issues this license?
Washington State Department of Agriculture
What activities require this license?
Applying pesticides to the lands/property of another requires the Commercial Applicator License. This is a joint company - person license. The person who makes the pesticide application decisions for the company must obtain the license.
How much will this license cost?
The license costs $250 plus $27 for each piece of power pesticide application equipment after the first one. In addition, the applicant must pay a $25 testing fee each time they take pesticide exams.
Do I need to include anything with my application?
Applications are completed at the time of testing. The first time an application is submitted in a calendar year, the license fee of $250 is required. Each time tests are taken, a $25 testing fee and picture ID is required.

The applicant must pass the required exams and furnish information that they are legal to do business in the state of Washington by supplying their UBI number issued by Department of Revenue’s Master License Service. WSDA Licensing staff will verify that the UBI number is current and that the business is registered to pay state taxes.

In addition, the applicant’s insurance or bonding agent must independently supply WSDA with confirmation that the applicant meets the financial coverage requirements of the license. Additional information on Commercial Applicator financial coverage requirements can be found on the WSDA website.
Is the decision on my license dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
Because exams are required, you must make your initial application at a WSDA testing session. These are offered at a number of statewide testing locations. WSDA does reciprocate with some state and federal licenses so testing may not be necessary. Go to the online reciprocal licensing information for details.
How long will it take to review my application?
Once all requirements have been met (complete application submitted including fee and proof of state business licensing, appropriate exams passed and financial coverage requirement met), the license is normally issued within 1 week. However, the work unit experiences a heavier than normal workload from December - March and licenses can take 2 - 4 weeks to issue.
Where do I submit my application?
Because exams are required, you must make your initial application at a WSDA testing session. These are offered at a number of statewide testing locations.
How long is my license valid?
The license is renewed annually but in a 5-year recertification cycle. Within the 5 year recertification cycle, the licensee must earn 40 continuing education credits with a maximum of 15 credits per year. An alternative to recertification is to retest every 5 years.
What is the appeal process for the license?
After a second, third, or fourth failure in a calendar year, there is a mandatory 14-day waiting period between exam retakes. After the fifth failure, you must wait 60 days before retesting.

Upon notice by the Department to deny, suspend, or revoke a license, a person may request a hearing under chapter 34.05 RCW, the Administrative Procedures Act.
Legal Authority:
Where can I get permitting assistance?
Web page URL:
Helpdesk phone: 877-301-4555
Subject matter expert phone: Rickie Johnson (360) 902-2039
Subject matter expert email:
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Registration Services
1111 Washington Street SE, NRB - 2nd Fl
PO Box 42589
Olympia, WA 98504-2589
Fax: (360) 902-2093
Toll Free: 1-877-301-4555
Triggering Questions:
  • Will you be operating any business that applies pesticides to the property of another?
* Permit information last updated 5/5/2022