The California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) has prepared the following guidelines to assist licensed pest control advisers (PCAs), employers of PCAs and other interested members of the pest management industry with understanding and compliance of the laws that govern the pest control adviser license
WHO NEEDS IT?
A PCA license is required by any person who:
- Offers a recommendation on any agricultural use
- Holds himself or herself forth as an authority on any agricultural use
- Solicits services or sales (i.e. manufacturer reps and
wholesale reps) for any agricultural use (Food & Agricultural Code
[FAC] §11410, §11411).
An understanding of "agricultural use" is necessary to understand the
definition of agricultural pest control adviser. "Agricultural use" is
the use of any pesticide, method, or device for the control of plant,
animal, or any other pests, or the use of any pesticide for the
regulation of plant growth or defoliation of plants. Agricultural use
includes, but is not limited to commercial production of animals,
plants (including forest), parks, golf courses, cemeteries, roadsides,
power line right-of-way, and nurseries. Agricultural use does not
include home use, institutional use (hospitals, schools, libraries,
auditoriums, and office complexes), and industrial use (factories,
processing plants, and packing houses).
The following are exempted from this licensing
requirement if the recommendation is put in writing (FAC §12001):
Officials of federal, state, and county departments of agriculture and
University of California personnel engaged in duties relating to
WHAT IS REQUIRED?
A PCA license is obtained by passing the Laws and Regulations
Examination and at least one Pest Management Category Examination. In
order to qualify for this Examination, the applicant must meet the
* Bachelors degree in agricultural sciences, biological science,pest
management and/or technical experience which includes core course
requirements of 42 semester units (63 quarter units); in college level
curriculum in physical and biological sciences, crop health, pest
management systems and methods, and crop production systems (California
Code of Regulation - CCR §6550).
* Submit a copy of official college or university transcripts with PCA
application to verify that you have met the educational requirements
* Submit an initial application fee of $80, plus $50 for each additional category (FAC §12021, CCR §6502)
* PCAs must complete Groundwater Protection Training Program before
writing Groundwater Protection Advisories, in areas known as Pest
Management Zones (PMZs). This training must be completed every two
years. [CCR §6557(b)1]. A listing of your local PMZs can be obtained by
contacting your local Ag Commissioner.
* A written notice showing your PCA examination results and whether or
not you have passed the required examinations to receive a valid
license will be mailed to you by DPR's Pesticide Enforcement Branch.
The notice may also inform you that you are in the two-year license
cycle and an additional second-year fee will be required to issue your
* A new license should be considered valid, by the license holder, when the license holder receives the card in the mail.
PCA LICENSE CATEGORIES
In addition to the Laws and Regulations Category, each PCA must
successfully pass at least one of the following pest control categories
before they are issued an Agricultural Pest Control Adviser License.
PCAs are limited to four examinations per testing session (this
includes the Laws and Regulations Examination).
PCAs can only write recommendations for the categories in which they
are licensed. Therefore, if you are recommending herbicides for weed
control, you must have the "control of weeds" category on your license.
- Control of Insects, Mites and Other Invertebrates (Plant or Animal) [A]
- Control of Plant Pathogens [B]
- Control of Nematodes [C]
- Control of Vertebrate Pests [D]
- Control of Weeds [E]
- Defoliation [F]
- Plant Growth Regulators [G]
"Recommendation" means the giving of any instruction or advice on any
agricultural use as to any particular application on any particular
piece of property. "Recommendation" does not include any summary that
does not specify the use to be made for any designated pest, provided
that such summary is not in conflict with any registered pesticide
label or with the supplementary printed direction delivered therewith
or with any rule or regulation of the director (FAC §11411).
PCAs shall put "ALL" recommendations concerning any agricultural use in writing (FAC §12003).
* Register annually with the county agricultural commissioner in home
county (address on license) and in each county where recommendations
are made (FAC §12031).
* Retain one copy of each written recommendation for one year following the date of such recommendation (FAC §12004).
* In addition to the requirements of FAC §12003 each recommendation shall include (CCR §6556):
a) Total acreage or units to be treated
b) Concentration and volume per acre or other units
Worker re-entry interval, if one has been established; preharvest or
preslaughter interval; and label restrictions on use or disposition of
the treated commodity, by-products or treated area;
d) Criteria used for determining the need for the recommended treatment;
e) Certification that alternatives and mitigation measures that would substantially lessen any
significant adverse impact on the environment have been considered and, if feasible, adopted.
f) Designate the pest by accepted common name.
* A signed and dated copy of the written recommendation shall be
furnished to the operator of the property prior to the application,
where a pesticide use is recommended, a copy is provided to the pest
control dealer and the applicator prior to application (FAC §12003).
LICENSE RENEWAL INFORMATION
* PCAs must accumulate at least 40 hours of approved continuing
education every two years before license renewal. Four of the 40 hours
must cover the topic of pesticide and pest control laws and regulations
The following criteria must be met in order for continuing education hours to be acceptable toward renewing your license.
* Instruction received must be approved and assigned an I.D. Code Number by the director.
* Approved continuing education instruction must be obtained during the
period the license is valid in order to renew the license before the
expiration date. Therefore, courses taken prior to receiving your
renewed license will not be valid.
* All continuing education (CE) hours must be completed by December
31st of your renewal/expiration year. There is no 'grace' or
'probation' period. Any person who fails to obtain the required 40.0 CE
hours (with a minimum of 4.0 hours Laws) by December 31st of their
renewal/expiration year must re-examine, but is not required to repeat
the minimum qualifications (e.g. education or experience), if any,
which were in effect when the license was originally issued.
* Any continuing education (CE) hours obtained in excess of the hours
required by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to renew your
license cannot be carried over to the next renewal period.
* Even if the PCA license renewal is mailed to DPR in November of your
renewal year for a license set to expire on December 31st, the valid
renewal date that DPR will assign to the new license card will be
January 1st of the next calendar year. For example, if you send in your
renewal in November 2003 for a license set to expire December 31, 2003
the issue date of the new license card DPR will issue will be January
1, 2004, since the existing license is still valid through December 31,
* If you allow your license to expire you will be treated as a NEW
applicant and will have to re-examine in the appropriate pest control
category(ies) and obtain a passing score before a license can be issued
by DPR. However, you will not be required to repeat the minimum
qualifications (e.g. education or experience), if any, which were in
effect when the license was originally issued
* In order to have your renewed license approved by January 1st, it is
suggested that you mail your renewal application with the required
documents and payment to DPR no later than November 15th of your
* You have one (1) year from the time your license expires to submit
your renewal payment to DPR if you completed your required CE hours by
December 31st of your renewal/expiration year.
* For additional questions about license renewal procedures please contact:
Department of Pesticide Regulation
Licensing & Certification Division
P.O. Box 4015
Sacramento, CA 95812-4015
Phone (916) 445-4038, Fax (916) 445-4033
In addition to the violations listed, any person who violates any
provision of the Food and Agriculture Code and/or regulation could be
charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the nature of the
violation. Also, penalties for violations can range from $50 - $5,000.
An agricultural pest control adviser license may be refused or may be
revoked or suspended by DPR as necessary to carry out the purposes of
the FAC. Cause for refusal, revocation, or suspension shall include,
but shall not be limited to the following (FAC §12023):
a) Failure to put a recommendation in writing;
b) The making of false or fraudulent statements in any written recommendation;
c) Failure or refusal to comply with any PCA provisions, or any other regulation adopted by the agricultural
Failure or refusal to comply with any provisions of Division 6 or of
Division 7 (commencing with Section §12501) relating to pesticides or
regulation of DPR adopted pursuant to such provisions;
e) Failure to quality by examination in at least one of the categories in Section §12022.
Unprofessional conduct (FAC §12023.5). In addition to any other
provision of this code, unprofessional conduct shall constitute a basis
for refusal, revocation, or suspension of an agricultural pest control
license. "Unprofessional conduct" means either of the following:
* Repeated acts of recommending the clearly excessive use of a
pesticide or any method or device for the control of plant, animal, or
* Repeated acts of recommending the use of an ineffective pesticide or
any ineffective method or device for the control of plant, animal, or
any other pests;
* It is unlawful for any person to act or offer to act as an
agricultural pest control adviser without first having secured an
agricultural pest control adviser's license from the director in
accordance with this chapter (FAC §12051).
* It is unlawful for any person to act or offer to act as an
agricultural pest control adviser in any county wherein the adviser
makes any recommendation for agricultural use without first registering
with the county agricultural commissioner of that county (FAC §12052).
* It is unlawful to violate any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation issued thereunder (FAC §12053).
* It shall be unlawful for any pest control adviser to make
recommendations in a category for which he is not certified (FAC
ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES & QUESTIONS
PLEASE NOTIFY DPR IMMEDIATELY OF ANY ADDRESS AND/OR NAME CHANGE. Every
person to whom a license is issued must immediately notify the
Licensing Office in writing of any change in name, address, business
organization, or any other matter shown on the application. NO FEE is
required for a name and/or address change or card replacement of a