Initial Private Applicator Training Programs

PAT Recertification Programs

Pesticide License and Credit Search

Locate your Local PAT Coordinator


The Montana Private Applicator Training (PAT) Program is coordinated by MSU Extension through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) and MSU Extension. This agreement stipulates MSU Extension coordinates the certification and training of approximately 5,500 private applicators in Montana.

The PAT program is for individuals and/or their employees who wish to apply Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) to land they own, rent or lease for the purpose of growing an agricultural commodity. This includes privately owned farms, ranches, nurseries, and greenhouses. This does not include individuals who apply general use pesticides on land they own, rent or lease; however they may benefit from the training offered from this program. Other exceptions are noted below. For more information view the Montana Private Applicator Program Policies and Procedures.


  1. To Become Licensed as a Private Applicator
  2. To Recertify your Private Applicator License
  3. Expired Licenses
  4. Recertification Cycle
  5. License Fees
  6. Credit and License Information
  7. Submitting a Program for Credits
  8. Other License Types

To Become Licensed as a Private Applicator

Private applicators must be licensed prior to purchasing and using restricted use pesticides. To become certified an applicator has two options: (1) take an exam or (2) attend an Initial Private Applicator Training. 

Montana Private Applicator Certification Exam

The Montana Private Applicator Certification Exam can be taken at your local county or tribal MSU Extension office. The exam has 50-questions and must be passed with a 70% or better. The exam is open book and not timed. 

Initial Private Applicator Training

An Initial Private Applicator Training is a seven-hour program covering the basics of pesticide use. Upon completion of the program applicators must take an ungraded 50-question exam. Initial Private Applicator Trainings must adhere to criteria set forth for initial programs. Initial Private Applicator Trainings are offered yearly throughout the state.

Training Material

If you attend an Initial Private Applicator Training you will be provided the following materials at the time of the event. If you decide to take the exam you are required to have the following manuals prior to applying for a Montana Private Applicator Pesticide License. MSU PEP highly recommends purchasing and studying these materials in advance.

Core Topic Training Videos

The provided videos can be used to help study for the Montana Private Applicator Exam. These videos cover the seven core topics required in an Initial Private Applicator Training and will prepare applicators for questions found on the exam. Not all material may be covered in these videos so please review the manuals and publications listed above. 

  1. The Montana Private Applicator License (17:18 min)
  2. Reading the Pesticide Product Label (17:20 min)
  3. Pesticides in the Environment (28:02 min)
  4. Integrated Pest Management (32:06 min)
  5. Pesticide Safety (36:04 min)
  6. Calibration (46:14 min)

Several of the videos have story problems included as an additional training exercise. To utilize these please download the Core Topic Story Problem Packet. Answers to the story problems are presented in the videos.

To Recertify your Private Applicator License

Once you have obtained your private applicator pesticide license you will be considered a recertifying applicator. In order to renew your pesticide license for another five-year cycle, you have two options: (1) take an exam or (2) obtain six pesticide education credits prior to the end of the recertification cycle.

Montana Private Applicator Certification Exam

The Montana Private Applicator Certification Exam can be taken at your local county or tribal MSU Extension office. The exam has 50-questions and must be passed with a 70% or better. The exam is closed book for recertifying applicators and is not timed. When recertifying the test can only be taken in the last year of the cycle.

Attend Pesticide Education Courses for Credits

Recertifying applicators must obtain six pesticide education credits by attending courses throughout the five-year recertification cycle. These courses may be in-person or online including webinars. Programs are offered throughout the state by MSU Extension, local governments and private parties. Programs must be approved by the MDA to be eligible for credits. To view courses available for pesticide education credits view the resources listed here:

Expired Licenses

If you allow your pesticide license to expire you must either take a closed book Montana Private Applicator Exam within 12 months after the license expiration or attend an Initial Private Applicator Training. After 12 months you are considered a new applicator and will follow the licensing guidelines of the initial applicator above.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, recertifying applicators in District 3 who were unable to obtain recertification credits by the 12/31/2020 deadline may take an open book exam at local MSU Extension offices or online instead of the usual closed book exam. Please contact your local PAT Coordinator for inquires about testing. 

Recertification Cycle

Montana PAT Districts

PAT Recertification Cycle Dates by District

District Cycle Start Cycle End
1 January 1, 2019 December 31, 2023
2 January 1, 2020 December 31, 2024
3 January 1, 2021 December 31, 2025
4 January 1, 2017 December 31, 2021
5 January 1, 2018 December 31, 2022

License Fees

Private applicators must pay $12 for each year of the cycle for a total of $60 per each five-year recertification cycle to the MDA. This fee is to be paid at the time of licensing and when the license is renewed. The $60.00 is distributed in the following manner: 

  • $15.00 (25%) to MDA for administration.
  • $15.00 (25%) to fund the waste pesticides and pesticide container disposal program.
  • $30.00 (50%) to MSU Extension broken down as follows:
    • $5.00 (8%) to the MSU Extension Pesticide Education Program, and
    • $25.00 (42%) to the county extension office in which the private applicator resides. This money is used to support pesticide certification and training programs conducted in those counties. 

Credit and License Information

It is an applicator's responsibility to keep track of their credits and the expiration date of their license. You can look up license and credit information online using the MDA Pesticide License Search Tool. Remember, you can always contact your local Extension office or the Pesticide Education Program to help you with your license and credit information. 

Submitting a Program for Credits

Courses must be approved by the MDA for pesticide education credits. The MDA has an online approval form - use the instructions posted below for assistance. If you are submitting a webinar for credits, be aware of specific attendance requirements.

Other License Types

The Montana Private Applicator license is specifically for applicators who want to apply RUPs on land they own, rent or lease. If this does not apply to you,  you may need a different type of pesticide license. Other license types offered include:

  • Commercial Applicators - Individuals who by contract or for hire, apply pesticides by aerial, ground, or hand equipment to land, plants, seed, animals, water, structures, or vehicles.
  • Public Utility Applicators - Individuals who apply pesticides to land owned or leased by a public utility.
  • Government Applicators - Individuals who apply pesticides for a city, county or state or other government agency to public land or right-of-way, or as a public service.  
  • Non-Commercial Applicators - Individuals who cannot be classified as a commercial, public utility, governmental or private pesticide applicators, but desire to apply restricted-use pesticides. 

Certification and training for commercial, public utility, government and non-commercial applicators is coordinated by the MDA. More information on these licensing types can be found on the MDA Pesitcide Licensing page. Contact your MDA District Field Officer to learn more about obtaining a commerical pesticide license.