Colorado Department of Pesticide Education Program at Colorado State University

Private Applicator Licenses

If you are unsure whether you need a private applicator's license, or another type of license, try our decision tree HERE.

If your need a private applicator license, see the options below for taking the open-book exam.

If you need to renew your current license, check out this FLOW CHART with options for renewing. You can renew online or by mail below.


Applicants for private applicator licenses must:
  1. Submit an order form with a payment of $20 for the private applicator exam and manual (or see other options below).
  2. Successfully complete the private applicator exam.
  3. Submit the $75 license fee with the application, exam answer sheet and a copy of your driver's license.

TAking the exam

You have two options for taking the test:

  1. Online. Take the test online through the CDA. It costs $20 and you have 30 days to complete the exam.
    • You can access the online exam HERE.
    • You can order a paper test and exam electronically HERE.
    • You can order the paper test and exam through the mail by printing out the form HERE

  2. Paper Test. You can get the printed study guide and test from the CDA for $20. There is no time limit to return the test.
    • Call your local Extension office (list of numbers HERE) to see if they offer the study guide and test.
    • Sometimes the charge is $25 for the guide and test. Paying this small handling fee may be more convenient for you than waiting for the CDA to send it.

Expiration & Continuing Education

Private applicator licenses expire 3 years from your birthdate.The renewal fee is $75. In order to renew your license, you must either:

Obtain all required continuing education credits (CECs) PRIOR to your license expiring and submit your renewal before the expiration date.


If you use the online licensing feature, please Email:

  • A copy of your driver’s license
  •  A digital copy of a passport type photo (headshot) in pdf form.  No sunglasses, hats or other obstructions and email to (This photo will be used on the new plastic licenses.

You MUST have already passed the Private Applicator exam (CDA must have your score) OR have earned all the renewal credits required.


Questions?  Please contact us at 303-869-9064 for more information.


If you have earned ALL your CECs and submit your renewal after the expiration date, you are subject to a late fee:

  • renewing within 30 days after license expired, subject to a $7.50 late fee
    • renewing within 180 days after license expired, subject to a $20 late fee
    • renewing beyond 180 days after license is expired is NOT allowed and you must retake the exam.


  • If you have not earned all the required CECs, retake the exam and apply for a new license.

IIf you choose to renew through CECs, you must obtain 1 or 2 credits in each of 6 different categories:

  • Applicator Safety (1 credit)
  • Environmental Protection (1 credit)
  • Laws and Regulations (2 credits)
  • Pesticides and Their Families (1 credit)
  • Public Safety (1 credit)
  • Use of Pesticides (1 credit)

Find upcoming CEC workshops HERE.


Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management:    Address   1177 Campus Delivery    Colorado State University     Fort Collins, CO 80523     Voice: 970-491-3947     Fax: 970-491-3862

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