Pest Control Licensing Michigan - Housecall Pro

Michigan pest control license:
everything you need to know

Homeowners and businesses rely on pest control services to create a safe and comfortable environment. If you want to become a pest control operator or even start your own pest control business, you need to have an active Michigan pest control license. In this guide, you will learn about the education, testing, and experience requirements for getting your license.

Does Michigan require a pest control license?

Yes, the state of Michigan requires a commercial pest control license for anyone who applies pesticides or operates a pest control business. The state also requires an individual pesticide applicator license to a person who uses restricted pesticides for janitorial or private farming use. A pest control license is not required for veterinarians or laboratory workers.

Are there different types of licenses for Michigan?

Michigan has a few types of pest control licenses. The categories include private applicator, commercial dealer, field applicator, and aerial applicator. A  private applicator is a person who applies restricted pesticides to their own property, such as their own farm. There is no hourly wage associated with this license because it is for self-use and not for employment purposes.

Commercial dealer licenses are for individuals who sell pesticides as a part of their business. They may or may not apply the pesticides.

Field applicator licenses include pesticides that are applied from the ground. It applies to livestock, swimming pools, crops, fruit trees, shade trees, tree farms, turf grass, forest products, cooling towers, sewer lines, right-of-way, and indoor pests. The average hourly pay for these workers is $18.37.

The aerial license allows a technician to spray pesticides from the air, such as from a crop dusting airplane. It also includes fumigation techniques for pest control. Licensed pilots who fly small aircraft for aerial application of pesticides and herbicides have an average annual pay of $60,000 to $100,000.

How do I become licensed for pest control in Michigan?

Schooling is required to get a private or commercial pest control license in Michigan. The educational requirement involves completing a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development approved training program offered by an approved trainer.

These programs are offered at different locations throughout the year. After program completion, the applicant must take a general standard exam. The applicant also must complete an additional exam in the technique or area that they will use pesticides. For example, a private pesticide application technician who plans to apply pesticides to their fruit trees will need to take the fruit crop pest control exam. For commercial pest control applicants, there is an additional exam for anyone who wants an aerial or fumigation license.

The approved educators for the classes charge different rates. The exams are $100 per person per exam attempt. Michigan does not require any prerequisite schooling or education to obtain a private pest control license or a commercial pest control license, except for aerial licenses. Applicants for the arial licence must have a valid pilot’s license.

There are no specific skills required for private or commercial pest control workers. However, it would be helpful for the worker to be physically fit and aware of personal protective equipment and its uses.

Age and work experience requirements

To become licensed in Michigan, you must be at least 18 years old. Michigan does not require any on-the-job experience. However, commercial pesticide applicators must work under a licensed pest control business operator. The licensed operator does not have to be present when the commercial pest control worker applies pesticides.

Licensing and exams

The state of Michigan’s Department of Agriculture issues all of pest control licenses. There are required exams and applications to receive licenses. Each person who applies for a license will have to take at least two exams.

One is a general exam, and the other is a specific category exam. Anyone who wants to work in multiple categories of pest control services will need to take all of the categorical exams. The state offers manuals for people preparing for these exams. These are available online at no cost. Some approved trainers make their own course study materials. They may charge.

The Michigan pest control licenses must be renewed. They expire every third year on December 31.

How to use your pest control license to get a job

Michigan’s average hourly rate of pay for entry-level and mid-level pest control applicators is $19.09. After earning your license, you can look for pest control jobs through online job marketplaces. The metropolitan areas have job openings for interior pest control services for residential and commercial properties.

During an interview for a pest control job, you will be asked about your experience.  Explain your work history, even if it is not in pest control. For example, if you have done lawn maintenance, this is closely related to pest control for turf grass. If you hold a pilot’s license, this qualification will increase your chances of becoming an aerial pest control operator.

The Michigan Pest Management Association hosts an annual workshop and semi-annual meetings for its members. People who already hold a license are allowed to join the association. There are notable trends discussed about the use of technology in pest control, including more regulation and an increase in virtual reality training.

Dangers of being a pest control technician

Some people may experience on-the-job injuries while working as a pest control technician. They may work in confined spaces that are hot or difficult for mobility. Those who remove vermin or work around insects could be bitten or stung. Some pesticides are known to be harmful to human health, especially if they get on the skin, in the eyes, or into the lungs. There may be long-term health effects associated with those exposures.

Is my pest control license only valid in Michigan?

Michigan has reciprocal licensing agreements with Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. If you moved, changed your name, or lost your card, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development by phone at 800-292-3939 or by email

How often do I need to renew my pest control license in Michigan?

The state of Michigan requires all pest control license holders to renew their license every three years. The Michigan pest control license renewal involves paying the licensing fee and completing any additional requirements stated in the renewal letter.