Pesticide Applicator Testing
The NIACC Testing Center is open for community members who live in the NIACC service area by appointment only. Please contact us at 641-422-4237 to check on availability and schedule your exam(s). For questions about which exam you need to take or what other testing centers in the state may be open, please visit the State of Iowa Pesticide Bureau’s website at iowaagriculture.gov/pesticide-bureau.
Computer based pesticide applicator testing is available at North Iowa Area Community College’s main campus in Mason City. The Testing Center is located in the Beem Center and can be accessed through the door on the southeast side of the building.
IMPORTANT – Username and Password
Each individual taking an exam should obtain a Quia username and password prior to arriving at the test center. Not having your username and password set up prior to your arrival will not prevent you from testing, but may delay your testing session. Please go to the web site listed below to create your Quia username and password. See these instructions if you need help creating your account.
The fee for testing is $10 per exam payable to NIACC via cash, check, or debit/credit card. You may take as many exams as needed per day (one per category) provided the last exam is finished 15 minutes prior to the close of the test center.
Preparation for the exams requires review of the certification manuals available through the Iowa State University Extension Publications Distribution Center or your local County Extension Office (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/PME/). We highly recommend you study for your exams prior to coming to take your test(s). Please keep in mind that it is NOT possible to review missed questions at the end of your exams.
Know What Certification You Need
Make sure you know the correct certification categories you will need for the type of pesticides you need to apply. Discuss with your employer if you are unsure of what you need. See the detailed description of the certification categories if you have questions. Specific questions regarding what test(s) you need to take should be referred to the Pesticide Bureau at 515-281-5601.
You may not keep any exam materials after the exam, including scratch paper.
Recording Your Answers
The exam is web based so there are no paper exams or answer sheets. Your exam results are recorded electronically and by hand by the test center proctor.
Each exam is a closed-book exam. Each exam is a multiple choice exam varying in length from 35 questions for category exams, 50 questions for the Core Manual, Private Applicator and Aerial Reciprocal exams, and 125 questions for the full aerial exam. You will have up to fifty minutes to one (1) hour to complete each exam with the exception of the full aerial exam which will allow two (2) hours.
- The minimum passing score for each commercial exam is 80% correct.
- The minimum passing score for private applicator exams is 70% correct.
Testing Room Rules
- When others are testing in the room, please enter quietly and whisper if it is necessary to speak with the proctor.
- If you leave the exam room during the exam for any reason (for example, to eat, drink or use the restroom) your exam will be concluded and all exam materials must be returned.
- Before closing the test and leaving the exam room you must notify the proctor so your test score can verified.
- If you are taking more than one exam, you are allowed to leave the exam room between exams.
- Please remember NIACC is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on campus including parking lots.
The exam site is handicapped accessible through the main Testing Center entry on the southeast corner of the Beem Center. If you feel you need special accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, you must document and submit your request in writing to the Pesticide Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture. Your request must be made at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the date of your exam. Staff at the Pesticide Bureau will notify you if your request is approved or disapproved.
Items You Must Bring to the Exam
Prior to taking any exam you will be required to bring and to temporarily surrender to an exam proctor your valid, government issued, photo identification document. Acceptable photo identification documents include a driver’s license (or a non-driver photo identification document), passport or immigration green card. The driver’s license or non-driver photo identification document must be issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation or the equivalent agency for non-residents. Your photo identification document will be kept on your testing station until you have completed the exam(s). If you leave the Testing Center between exams, you should take your ID with you and present it to the proctor when you return to complete additional exams.
What Can & Cannot Be Brought Into The Testing Room
The following items are provided for you by the NIACC Testing Center:
- Scratch paper
All other items brought with you, except for your photo ID, must be locked in a locker. This includes:
- Any books, study or training materials, review notes, note pads or any other paper. (Scratch paper is provided by an exam proctor and will not be allowed to leave the Testing Center.)
- All electronic devises (i.e. cellphones, computers, etc.) must be turned off and locked in a locker.
- Food or drink of any kind is not allowed in the exam room.
- Hats, coats, wallet, purse, etc. must be locked in a locker.
If possible, it is best to leave personal items at home or in your car. The pesticide program, NIACC, or any exam proctor will NOT be responsible for the loss or damage of any personal property. Possession or use of any prohibited devise in the exam room will result in your immediate disqualification, failure of your exam and dismissal from the exam room.
Instructions Given by an Exam Proctor
You are expected to follow all instructions given by an exam proctor. Failure to comply with any exam instructions or requirements may result in your disqualification, failure of your exam and dismissal from the exam room.
Do not talk with other candidates while the exam is in progress or give or receive any type of exam assistance. Any evidence of cheating will result in your immediate disqualification, failure of your exam and dismissal from the exam room. You may not seek help from an exam proctor to interpret an exam question. An exam proctor will not provide this type of assistance.
Challenging an Exam Question
All exam questions have been professionally prepared and reviewed. If, however, you wish to challenge an exam question, you should contact the Pesticide Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture (515-281-5601) and ask for an Application to Challenge a Pesticide Applicator Exam Question. You will not be allowed to review your exam to prepare a challenge to an exam question.
Remain seated until you complete your exam. When you complete your exam, ask a proctor to verify your score, then you may leave the exam room. You must promptly exit the exam room when directed to leave. Leaving the exam room during an exam or without following the exam proctors instructions will result in your disqualification and termination of the exam. You will not be allowed to re-enter the exam room to complete a test that is left while in progress. All materials, including used or unused scratch paper, must be returned to the proctor at the end of your testing period.
Upon completing an exam, request the assistance of a test proctor to record your score. If your score is not verified by the test proctor at the end of the test, you will not receive proof of your passing score at the testing location. It will be necessary to contact IDALS for proof of your passing score which will delay your paperwork to apply for certification.
- Commercial Applicator Passing Exam Percentage: 80%
- Private Applicator Passing Exam Percentage: 70%
Your Exam Score(s)
Your exam will be scored immediately at the completion of the exam. Each exam you take will be verified by the exam proctor and recorded for you on the certification form provided to you. If you do not pass an exam you will not receive any forms.
If You Pass Your Exam(s)
You will be issued a certification application form at the end of your examination session. This form will be signed by the exam proctor and will verify each exam you have passed. Please keep these forms in a secure place and make a copy for your own records.
Upon passing all the exams required, you may submit copies of the certification application forms showing which exams you passed along with the appropriate fees to the Pesticide Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture to the address listed on the form. You are only eligible for certification as a commercial or public applicator when employed by a licensed commercial or public applicator.
If You Fail Your Exam(s)
You may take any exam once per day. You may re-take the same exam no earlier than the next business day, and you will be assessed another $10 test fee for each exam.
Other Useful Links
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship (IDALS)
Henry A. Wallace Building
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-005
Iowa State Extension Service
- In person at your county office.
- Order online at: store.extension.iastate.edu/topic/crops/pesticide-safety-education-program?s=5&a=0&f=0