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Illinois Pest Control License: Everything You Need to Know

Begin a new career in the pest control industry. In this growing field, you can help homeowners and business owners feel comfortable in their environments. You can either work for an employer or start your own business. Read this guide to learn how to earn your Illinois pest control license.

Does Illinois Require a Pest Control License?

Yes, you need an Illinois pest control license.

Are There Different Types of Licenses for Illinois?

If you plan on working in structural pest control, you'll need to become a certified technician. As a business, you'll have to apply for a license. Each business must employ at least one certified technician. The Illinois Department of Public Health oversees these categories.

For restricted use pesticides, you must obtain licensing through the Illinois Department of Agriculture. There are four different license types: private, dealer, commercial, and commercial not-for-hire. There are also 17 different licensure categories, including fruit, grain, livestock, and mosquito.

The average wage for pest control jobs is about $19 per hour. 

How Do I Become Licensed for Pest Control in Illinois?

Regarding the structural pest control, there are general-use and restricted-use pesticide categories. For general-use certification, you'll take the General Standards Examination ($75 application fee). For restricted-use certification, you'll take the General Standards Examination and a subcategory exam (total application fee of $125). 

Exams are given in various locations in the state. Register for the exam at least 15 days prior to the exam date. You must earn a score of at least 70% to pass. Study materials are available online through the Illinois Department of Public Health. After becoming a certified structural pest control technician and getting the required insurance, you may apply for a commercial structural pest control business license.

Non-structural pest control licensing is controlled by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Private applicators can apply restricted use pesticides to produce and agricultural commodity. This application can either be on their own land, land they rent, or land they work on. To receive a private applicator license, you'll either have to pass the 50-question exam by getting at least 35 questions right or passing the 100-question General Standards exam or Aerial General Standards exam with at least 70 correct answers. The fee for a three-year license is $30.

To become a commercial applicator, whether for-hire or not-for-hire, you must adhere to stricter requirements. These applicators are usually managers, supervisors, or foremen, who are responsible for pesticide use at a particular organization. To obtain this type of license, you'll have to pass the General Standards exam or Aerial General Standards exam with at least 70 out of 100 questions correct, pass a 50-question category exam with at least 35 questions correct, and submit a fee. Commercial for-hire applicator fees are $180 for a three-year period; commercial not-for-hire applicator fees are $60 for a three-year period.

If you plan to become a commercial operator, you'll have to be employed and supervised by a licensed applicator. You'll also have to pass the General Standards or Aerial General Standards exam with at least 70 out of 100 questions correct. The three-year fee for commercial for-hire operators is $120; the three-year fee for commercial not-for-hire operators is $45.

The University of Illinois Extension as well as the Department of Agriculture can assist with clinics, study material, and testing.

How to Use Your Pest Control License to Get a Job

Searching online is a good way to look for work. Word of mouth remains an excellent method as well. Reach out to any industry contacts you may have. As a new individual in the field, you may earn an average pay rate of $19 per hour. Getting a promotion, or starting your own business, can translate into higher wages. In any interview, remember to showcase your skills, professionalism, work ethic, and willingness to learn. Managers and supervisors are typically looking for honest people that they can easily train.

Pest Control Industry Trends

Check the Illinois Department of Public Health or the Illinois Department of Agriculture to learn about any relevant developments. Networking with others in the trade can help you learn about trends, too.

Dangers of Being a Pest Control Technician

Restricted and commercial available pesticides can be dangerous if not used properly. Thoroughly read instructions before application, so you don't experience any short-term or long-term health issues. Be ready to encounter any animals, and watch your surroundings if you're near the road.

Is My Pest Control License Only Valid in Illinois?

Your Illinois pest control license is only valid within the state.

Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health or the Illinois Department of Agriculture if you lose your license or have a change in information. A fee of $5 may be required for a replacement license.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Pest Control License in Illinois?

Both Illinois pest control licenses must renewed every three years.


New to the Pest Control industry and looking to get licensed, or already a seasoned veteran and want to take your business to the next level? Find out more about Housecall Pro’s all-in-one Pest Control Software.