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Pest control license, Texas: The why, how and what

GorillaDesk Staff

Pest Control License California

If you’ve been immersed in the pest control industry, you’re likely considering obtaining your license — and you recognize the promising opportunities it’ll unlock. Similarly, if you’re just starting to explore a career in pest control, getting your pest control license is a great way to progress your career after you gain a little experience.

Getting your Texas pest control license

Texas, the second largest state in the US, also offers one of the highest pest-control employment rates and salaries. So, if you’re thinking about applying for your pest control license there — but still feel undecided — consider the following: 

a) Climate and geography: Texas is so vast, sometimes it feels like its own country. With such a diverse climate, landscape, and ecosystems come just as many different pests to manage. Whether you want to work outdoors, contribute to public health and safety, or anything in between, your career will never suffer from short demand. Add the year-round mild climate and the need for your services withstands the seasons.

b) Agriculture: The Lone State is a major player in US agriculture … work with farmers and ranchers is limitless. 

c) Growing population: We all know that increasing urbanization and construction can lead to pest infestations that require professional intervention. Residential and commercial demand isn’t waning anytime soon. 

The decision can lead to an exciting journey with limitless opportunities … but before you dive in, let’s talk more specifically about the key that opens doors in this field: the Pest Control License

Depending on your career goals and interests, your next major decision lies in considering the different types of pesticide applicators and what agency you want to license with: the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) or Structural Pest Control Service (SPCS).

You’ll then submit an application and fee, and once processed, you’ll be issued an Eligibility Letter in order to schedule your exams — but we’ll get to that.

What’s the difference between TDA Ag and SPCS?

In the Lone Star State, understanding the difference between the two main players when it comes to pest control licenses, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA Ag) and the Structural Pest Control Service (SPCS), will help you clear the right path for your pest-control journey.

Different license types for Texas

From TDA Ag Pesticide Applicator Categories to Structural License Categories, you’ll find the entire spectrum of options to match whatever your interests and career goals may be. After all, the field of pest control offers both flexibility and specialization. You may find you develop some specific, personal career and personal aspirations and that you want to pursue the path that best reflects your passions.

TDA Ag Pesticide Applicator Categories

The world of TDA Ag Pesticide Applicator Categories is the threads that weave through the fabric of Texas agriculture. They use restricted-use and state-limited- use pesticides, as well as regulated herbicides. The categories within this program cater to those involved in agricultural pest control needs, including crop protection, livestock health, and other types of pest management affecting agricultural production. Think field crops; fruits, nuts, and vegetables; pastures and rangeland; animal health; forests; landscape; nursery plants; aquatic areas; and so many more. (See the full list here.)

Structural License categories

On the other hand, Structural License Categories open up opportunities to make a real difference in people’s homes and workplaces and directly in the community, like apartment buildings, day-care centers, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, warehouses, schools, and more. From bed bugs and termites to ants, rats, and the like, each category presents a chance to tailor your skills according to your interests and the demands of different clientele and environments. The license categories extend to lawn and ornamental, structural and commodity fumigation, weed control, and wood preservation

Structural pest control also allows you to identify infestations, make inspection reports, provide recommendations, submit estimates or bids, contract, perform services to prevent, control, or eliminate infestations, and advertise these services. 

License types

1) Ag Commercial Applicator: For individuals operating or working for a business applying pesticides to another’s land for compensation

2) Ag Noncommercial Applicator: For those required to be licensed but not qualifying as commercial applicators, applying pesticides for hire

3) Ag Noncommercial Political Subdivision (NCPS) Applicator: Employed by a political subdivision or federal agency in Texas, applying pesticides

4) Structural Pest Control Business License: Required for operating a pest control business

  • Each worker must be licensed or registered as an apprentice
  • A commercial certified applicator must be employed for Responsible Certified Applicator designation

5) Structural Commercial Certified Applicator: License for employees of businesses offering pest control services for hire

6) Structural Noncommercial Certified Applicator: License for individuals not affiliated with pest control businesses, performing services for compensation on their employer’s property

7) Structural Technician: License for individuals who completed apprentice training, passed the technician exam, and work under the supervision of a certified applicator

8) Apprentice Registration: For individuals training for a technician license.

  • Performs pest control services under the direct supervision of a licensed technician or applicator
  • Can work only for the business or entity where they are registered

Texas Pest Control License Requirements

Licensing Requirements for TDA Ag License

Let’s break down the licensing requirements for the TDA Ag license so that you have everything you need to move forward: 

1) Education requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.

Some positions may require additional education in agriculture, biology, or a related field.

2) Training hours:

  • Complete the required training hours specified by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

Training typically covers pesticide application, safety protocols, environmental considerations, and related topics.

 3) Work experience:

  • Hands-on work experience in the pest control field under the supervision of a licensed professional.

The required number of work hours may vary, so check the specific criteria outlined by TDA.

4) Exam:

The exam assesses your knowledge of pest control regulations, pesticide usage, safety practices, and related topics.

  • Exam charges for TDA Ag License

Budgeting is part of the game, so don’t forget to plan for the exam charges for TDA Ag License and plan your steps accordingly.

5) Application process:

Licensing requirements for TDA Structural License

If you’ve got your sights set on a Structural License, the requirements mirror those we outlined above, with the focus on homes, buildings, and other enclosed spaces—and even parks, streets, docs, railroad cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes. 

  • Exam Charges for TDA Structural License

With exam fees at about $64 each and a growing number of exam locations in the state, you’ve found a great option to budget for. 

License Renewal Frequency & Process

Both the TDA Ag License and Structural License typically need to be renewed periodically. However, the renewal frequency may vary, so you may want to check the specific requirements outlined by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

License Renewal Process

1) Continuing education:

Often, license renewal requires completing a certain number of continuing education hours. Attend workshops, seminars, or training programs relevant to pest control to fulfill these requirements.

2) Renewal application:

Submit a renewal application to the Texas Department of Agriculture. Provide accurate and up-to-date information, including any changes in contact details or business information.

3) Renewal fee: 

You’ll need to pay the applicable renewal fee. Fees may vary, so it’s crucial to check the official TDA website for the most up-to-date information.

4) Compliance with regulations:

Ensure ongoing compliance with all pest control regulations and standards set by TDA. Stay informed about any updates or changes in regulations that may impact the renewal process.

5) Timely submission:

Submit the renewal application and required documentation well before the expiration date to avoid any lapse in licensure.

General tips:

  • Keep track of the expiration date of your license to initiate the renewal process in a timely manner.
  • Attend industry-related events and stay informed about new developments in pest control practices and regulations.
  • Maintain accurate records of continuing education hours, as these may be required for renewal.

Note: License renewal requirements, fees, and processes are subject to change, so it’s crucial to refer to the most recent guidelines provided by the Texas Department of Agriculture. For specific details on the renewal frequency and process, license holders should check the official TDA website or contact the Texas Department of Agriculture directly.

Texas Pest Control License FAQs

1) Does Texas require a pest control license?

Yes, Texas requires individuals engaged in pest control activities to hold a valid pest control license issued by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

2) How do I become licensed for pest control in Texas?

To become licensed for pest control in Texas, you need to meet specific education, training, and work experience requirements. This typically includes completing relevant courses, accumulating practical experience, and passing the required licensing exam.

3) What are the different types of pest control licenses in Texas?

Texas offers various pest control licenses, including a TDA Ag License for agricultural pest control and a Structural License for pest control related to structures such as homes and buildings.

4) Can I use my Texas pest control license to work in other states?

The geographical scope of your Texas pest control license may be limited to the state. If you plan to work in other states, you may need to check and comply with their specific licensing requirements.

5) How often do I need to renew my pest control license in Texas?

The renewal frequency for pest control licenses in Texas varies. License holders should check with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) for specific renewal timelines and requirements.

6) What is the process for renewing a Texas Pest Control License?

The renewal process typically involves submitting a renewal application, completing continuing education requirements, and paying the applicable renewal fee. It’s essential to check the official TDA website for the most up-to-date information.

7) Are there fees associated with obtaining a Texas Pest Control License?

Yes, there are fees associated with obtaining and renewing a Texas Pest Control License. These fees can vary, and individuals should refer to the TDA website for the latest information on licensing fees.

8) Can I transfer my pest control license from another state to Texas?

The process of transferring a pest control license from another state to Texas may vary. Individuals should contact the Texas Department of Agriculture to inquire about specific requirements and procedures for license transfer.

9) What resources are available to help me prepare for the Texas Pest Control License Exam?

The Texas Department of Agriculture provides resources and study materials to help individuals prepare for the Pest Control License Exam. Additionally, there may be private exam preparation courses and materials available.

10) How can I stay informed about changes in pest control regulations in Texas?

Stay informed about changes in pest control regulations by regularly checking the official Texas Department of Agriculture website. Updates, announcements, and relevant information are often published on the TDA website.

Remember, for the most accurate and current information, individuals should refer to the official resources provided by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Pest control industry trends

Stay fresh and informed about the latest trends in the pest control industry. Your license isn’t just a credential; it’s a key to unlocking evolving possibilities.

Is my pest control license only valid in Texas?

The validity of your pest control license is typically specific to each state, and its scope is determined by the authority in every state. You’ll want to look into compliance with every state you’re interested in, since each state comes with its own regulatory agency and criteria. Some states do offer reciprocity or licensing agreements from certain other states, which means they may accept the validity of a license from another state under specific conditions. We recommend contacting the regulatory agency responsible for pest control licensing in the target state to inquire about their specific licensing procedures and whether they recognize out-of-state licenses because even if a state recognizes out-of-state licenses, you may still need to adhere to local regulations and obtain any additional certifications or permits required by the local jurisdiction.



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