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Tennessee Pest Control Regulations

Tennessee Pest Control Regulations

Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Ellington Agricultural Center
P.O. Box 40627
Nashville, TN 37204
phone: 615-837-5103

Tennessee’s law that governs the custom application of pesticides is "The Tennessee Application of Pesticides Act" (TAPA), and there are published rules that coincide with the law. In addition, the "Tennessee Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act" (TIFRA) and the "Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act" (FIFRA) also govern certain pesticide issues.

TAPA requires that a company providing or offering for sale any custom pesticide application must have a pest control charter.  A charter is a type of permit issued by the department to a business, and is required for each individual location. For example, if a company has an office in Nashville and another in Memphis, each location would be required to have its own charter. An application for charter requires a pro-rated fee of $200 per year, a $10,000 surety bond and proof of liability insurance with the minimum coverages of $250,000 per incident and $500,000 aggregate.  A $50,000 bond is required for new companies holding a WDO, GRC, FUM, or BDC licensee. In addition, those firms that have a WDO licensee must carry errors and omissions coverage with minimums of $100,000 per incident and $300,000 aggregate. A charter also requires that there be at least one licensee in each category of service offered. A licensee can only be listed on one charter.

License Categories

The license examination fee is $150, and application must be made by the 10th of the month that precedes the month of exam. License applicants must be commercially certified prior to the examination date. Applicants, with the exception of the AGE category, must qualify for the examination by one of three ways:

  1. have two years verifiable experience working under a licensee in that category, or
  2. have a four-year college degree with major studies in a related field, or
  3. hold a similar license in another state.

License examinations are only offered in Nashville in the months of January, April, July, and October. The examination consists of two parts, the first in a multiple-choice written format. The second part involves specimen identification. A score of 70 percent is considered passing for each part. Failure on either part requires reexamination on both parts. Test results are made available on the same day at the testing site, and examinants with a passing score can apply for a license immediately. A pro-rated fee is required of $20 per license category per year.

Licensees are held accountable for all pesticide applications and required pesticide recordkeeping. Licensees are expected to work full-time at the chartered firm, but are not required to be on-site at each application. However, at least one commercially certified person is required to be on site at each application.

TAPA also requires the licensed supervision of pesticide applications inside certain commercial and public buildings. These include:

  • Apartments. (Tenants may apply pesticides inside their own unit.)
  • Lodging facilities, such as hotels, motels, nursing homes, hospitals, dormitories, prisons
  • Commercial food processing facilities
  • Restaurants
  • Schools, except those that primarily provide religious instruction or those that have ten or fewer students

In these situations, pesticide applications must be performed by a chartered firm unless a licensee is employed by the facility. With rare exception, the license category required for application within the above listed facilities is the GRC. Pesticide applications must be performed by a chartered firm unless a licensee is employed by the facility. In this instance, a charter by the facility is not required. Any technician working under the licensee is required to be commercially certified in the corresponding category.

Commercial Certification

Commercial certification is a lower level of testing in Tennessee, and fulfills two purposes:

  • it meets the requirements of FIFRA and TIFRA for the sale and use of non-agricultural and agricultural (except as defined for private applicators) restricted-use pesticides, and
  • it is the means for testing for pest control technicians and solicitors working under a licensed applicator.

Certification exams are offered at various locations across the state.  Contact the Department at (615) 837-5148 or (615) 837-5404 for additional information.  The fee is $25 for each exam, and payment by check, money order, cashier's check or credit card must be included with Commercial Certification Exam Application. Payment is not accepted on site at the testing locations. The commercial certification exam incorporates the previously separate CORE exam materials. It is recommended that applicants order the CORE study material in addition to the category specific study manual.

To maintain commercial certification, continuing education credits, commonly known as "points," must be earned by attending approved training sessions during the certification period. Sessions can include in-house meetings, trade association events, Extension Service meetings and others. The number of points required varies by category and the date certification is earned. Contact the Department at (615) 837-5148 or (615) 837-5404 for more information.

Study materials for both certification and license exams are available from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for nominal fees. The certification materials are designed to walk applicants through the exam, whereas the license materials are designed to merely be a supplement to your experience and education. Order forms are available from the University and the Department.

Tennessee reciprocates in honoring current commercial certification by other states with whom they have an agreement. Tennessee does not reciprocate in regard to licenses.

Any non-licensed technician or solicitor working for a chartered firm is registered as a solicitor/technician. The fee is pro-rated on a quarterly basis and equates to $20 per year. Please contact the Department for exact fee and expiration date information.