Frequently Asked Recertification Questions

Read responses to commonly asked questions we receive about the recertification process.
Frequently Asked Recertification Questions - Articles

Updated: September 29, 2017

Frequently Asked Recertification Questions

What are recertification credits?

Recertification credits are assigned to update training programs about topics related to your certification category. The purpose is to keep applicators updated on current issues and to reinforce the safe and proper use of pesticides. Participation in a 30 minute program results in one credit. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) must approve all programs requesting recertification credits to be assigned.

How many credits do I need?

Recertification credits are accumulated based on attendance at approved meetings and other appropriate training venues. To maintain pesticide certification, applicators must accumulate recertification credits at three year intervals. Regardless of the category of certification, each applicator must accumulate six CORE credits. The number of category specific credits required for recertification varies from category to category. Specific requirements can be found on the Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Certification page. Private applicators need six CORE credits and six category credits from any of the following categories: 1-9, and 22. For private applicators with fumigation certification, two of the required six category credits must be specific to fumigation.

Will extra credits earned carry over to the next three year interval?

Normally, if you earn more than the required credits needed for the three year interval, extra credits will not be carried over to the next three year interval. This is because when you renew your certification, all your credits are reset to zero. So, if you have all the required credits, submit your renewal application immediately, then any meetings you attend in the upcoming weeks will count toward your next three-year interval.

Where can I get credits?

To obtain recertification credits, you must attend update training programs in CORE and appropriate category-specific topics. You can do a search on the PaPlants Recertification Course Locator web page to find available meetings in your area and you can also search for webinars and online meetings. Be sure to check back often especially in the winter months when most meetings are held.

Where can I find out how many credits I have?

An annual statement of credits, which outlines the credit requirements and your recertification renewal date, is mailed to certified applicators with each new certification card and on the renewal in the year the credits are due. Private and public applicators receive a credit statement each fall.

You can also check online to see how many credits you need to obtain, how many you have, and when you need them. Go to the PaPlants Pesticide Business/Applicator Lookup page to enter your certification number and last name, then click on Search.

If you did not receive the annual statement or have misplaced it, you can contact your Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Regional Office, and they can answer any questions that you may have about your recertification status.

When can I expect to see my recertification credit records updated online?

Depending on how organizers of the meetings collect your name and certification number, the time it takes to see a change on the PaPlants website could be less than a week to up to 4 weeks. If the meeting organizers can scan your certification cards at the meeting, the data can be electronically sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture regional office, where the information can be directly uploaded into the PaPlants database. However, if you need to fill out the sign in sheets, that information must be copied and then mailed to a regional office. Then the information is manually entered into the database and during the busy winter meeting season, this process can take several weeks to show up in PaPlants.

Can I earn recertification credits online?

Yes, you can earn recertification credits online. Find more information about the recertification courses that our office has available at our Online Recertification Courses web page and a few of these courses are even available in Spanish!

All online courses that have been approved for credits (including ours) are posted on the PaPlants Recertification Course Locator page. Select "Online" for the Meeting Type in the search form. Another online option are "Webinars." These are either a person doing a live presentation that is broadcast over the internet on a specific date and time or they may be a previously recorded presentation that is broadcast. Most webinars and online courses charge a fee. Be sure to read the details before registering.

Another option is to earn credits through various correspondence courses, which can also be selected in the search form. Again, be sure to read the details as some of these may be actual college level course and can be very expensive.

Can I take the same online course for credit?

Since the content does not change in an online course, you can only get credit for taking an online course once.

This is the language from the PaPlants Recertification Course Locator web page.

A successfully completed course number will count as recertification credits only once in the lifetime of the applicator.

What are webinars that provide recertification credits?

Webinars are another way that you can earn recertification credits. Webinars are a cross between onsite meetings and online courses. They are done over the Internet BUT are scheduled for a specific date and time. Since the sessions are live, you have the opportunity to interact with the speaker. The fees for webinars are usually low.

You can find webinars on the PaPlants website by selecting Webinar as the Meeting Type. After clicking on Search, remember to click on the word Details in the first column of available webinars to find additional information.

How do I change my address, employer information, etc.?

If you have registered on PaPlants (you have a username and password), then you can update your home address, phone, and email on PaPlants. Only employers can add and delete applicators from their account on the business PaPlants side.

If you are not registered on PaPlants, then any changes to your applicator's license must be done in writing by sending a signed and dated letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of plant Industry, Pesticides, 2310 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408 or your Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Regional Office. The Pesticide Education Program does not have the capability of doing this.

What happens if I let my license expire?

If an applicator's certification expires, further use of pesticides that would otherwise be permitted is prohibited. The applicator has up to one year to reinstate the license by obtaining the necessary recertification credits and paying the appropriate fees. However, this year also marks the first year of the next three year interval. If the certification has expired longer than a one year period, reexamination is required to become certified again.