Avoid Headaches, Renew Your DPR License Early

June, 2016

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DPR Program Technician Ashley Franco files paperwork.

Want to avoid headaches renewing your pesticide applicator license this year?

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) wants to help you help yourself. That starts with getting organized, understanding the rules and renewing early.

The most common hurdles faced by pest control applicators, advisers and businesses during licensing renewal are insufficient DPR-approved continuing education (CE) hours, incomplete paperwork, and late submissions. For these and a variety of other reasons, nearly 40 percent of individuals who were supposed to renew their personal or business DPR licenses and certificates at the end of 2015 failed to do so on time, leading to additional delays and added cost for many.

A first step: DPR recommends getting CE hours early. DPR-approved courses are posted on DPR's CE webpage. This is the only reliable source to ensure your course has been approved by DPR for CE credit.

"A lot of people wait until the last minute," said Laurie Brajkovich, Environmental Program Manager for DPR's Pest Management and Licensing Branch.

Fast action is suggested because for those with last names, and business names beginning with the letter A-L (approximately 17,000!), the date you will want to target for submittal of your renewal packet is November 1, 2016. This will ensure that it will be processed by December 31, 2016. However, DPR encourages licensees (license and certificate holders) to submit their renewals before October if they prefer to have their license by early December which would allow them to register with the County before the New Year.

Too often, people discover at the last minute that they have either taken a non-approved course or didn't get full hours of attendance credited because they were inattentive, arrived late or skipped class early.

"They should get their CE done as soon as possible, ensure they have the correct amount of CE hours completed, and have all of their records of attendance certificates. Then, fill out and send in your renewal application as soon as you receive it from DPR (renewal packets will be mailed in August) so that DPR staff has enough time to review and alert you of any issues before it is too late to fix them," Brajkovich said.

The most obvious penalties for not renewing on time are financial–application and exam fees for retesting can run upward of $120.

There is also time involved and, conceivably, unlicensed applicators, advisers, and businesses can lose out on bidding contracts and ultimately work, or face fines and loss of their licenses if they operate without renewing.

DPR Program Technician Kellie Thweatt processes licensing paperwork.

The Licensing and Certification Program is in place for a reason. Applicators following the rules and by taking CE courses stay on top of new and changing laws and regulations–violations of which can have serious implications.

County Agricultural Commissioners and their staff, working in each of California's 58 counties, routinely inspect pesticide application sites to ensure proper pesticide use safety and paperwork requirements are followed.

Violations can lead to fines and license revocations or suspensions. DPR can also take civil enforcement actions through the California Attorney General's Office for any violation of pesticide laws. Violators can also be prosecuted criminally.

Actions taken in 2015 by County Agricultural Commissioners included 340 violations for not following pesticide labeling or permit conditions, 288 for not following rules on use of personal protective equipment, 255 violations for failing to post required emergency care information, 219 for failure to have handler decontamination facilities, 204 for not having required pesticide handler training, 182 for inadequate respiratory protection, 146 for unregistered pest control/equipment registration, 143 for improper service container labeling, 128 hazard communications violations and 15 violations for failing to have labeling available at the use site.

These violations–discovered during some 10,000 compliance and recordkeeping inspections–resulted in 126 administrative actions that included civil penalties, plus suspensions and revocations of county registrations, license or certificates, and restricted materials permits.

"Those renewing are encouraged to submit even earlier," Brajkovich said. "If you send in your packet before October, you will be renewed by the beginning of December and you will be able to renew with the county before the New Year, ensuring no business downtime."

You can find information on continuing-education requirements and DPR-approved CE courses on the DPR's website.

See DPR's Licensing webpage for general information about licensing requirements.

For content questions, contact:
Craig Cassidy
Public Information Officer I
DPR Office of Communications
1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015
Sacramento, CA 95812-4015
Phone: (916) 445-5815
E-mail: Craig.Cassidy@cdpr.ca.gov