Iowa Western Community College

Pesticide Applicator Testing

Web based pesticide applicator testing is available at Iowa Western Community College's main campus in Council Bluffs and at our centers in Atlantic, Harlan, and Shenandoah. 

IMPORTANT - Username and Password

Each individual taking an exam must obtain a Quia username and password prior to arriving at the test center. Please log onto the following web site for obtaining your Quia username and password:

Detailed instructions for obtaining a Quia account


The fee for testing is $20 payable to Iowa Western. You may take as many  exams as needed provided the last exam is finished 30 minutes prior to the close of the test center.

Iowa Western Locations

Exams are available through Iowa Western Community College at the Council Bluffs Campus and at our centers in Atlantic, Harlan, and Shenandoah.

Weekday testing times vary and are by appointment only. Contact the center nearest you for details.

Council Bluffs Campus 
Tuesday and Thursday

Cass County Center, Atlantic

Shelby County Center, Harlan

Page/Fremont County Center, Shenandoah

Other locations where exams are available are listed on the Pesticide Bureau Web Page at:

Study Material

Preparation for the exams requires review of the certification manuals available through Iowa State University Extension Publications Distribution Center or your local County Extension Office.

Know What Certification You Need

Make sure you know the correct certification categories you will need for the type of pesticides you apply. A detailed description of the certification categories may be found at

Exam Security

You may not keep any exam materials after the exam. No exam materials may be removed from the exam room. We will prosecute the theft of exam materials to the fullest extent possible.

Recording Your Answers

The exam is web based so there are no paper exams or answer sheets. Your exam results are recorded electronically and by the test center proctor.

Passing Score

Each exam is a closed-book exam. Each exam is a multiple choice exam varying in length from 35 questions for category exams, 50 questions for the Core Manual, Private Applicator and Aerial Reciprocal exams and 125 questions for the full aerial exam. You will have up to fifty minutes to one (1) hour to complete each exam with the exception of the full aerial exam which will allow two (2) hours. The minimum passing score for each commercial exam is 80% correct. The minimum passing score for private applicator exams is 70% correct.

You should come to the exam room prepared to remain until the conclusion of the exam. If you leave the exam room during the exam for any reason (for example, to eat, drink or use the restroom) your exam will be concluded and all exam materials must be returned. Before leaving the exam room you must follow the required exam check-out procedures given to you by the exam proctor. If you are scheduled to take more than one exam, you may be allowed to leave the exam room between exams. (Iowa Western is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on campus including parking lots.) 

Special Accommodations

The exam site is handicapped accessible. If you feel you need special accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, you must document and submit your request in writing so that it is received by the Pesticide Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture not less than twenty-one (21) days prior to the date of your exam. We will notify you before exam day if your request is approved or disapproved.

Items You Must Bring to the Exam

Prior to sitting for any exam you will be required to bring and to temporarily surrender to an exam proctor your valid, government issued, photo identification document. Acceptable photo identification documents include a driver’s license (or a non-driver photo identification document), passport or immigration green card. The driver’s license or non-driver photo identification document must be issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation or the equivalent agency for non-residents. Your photo identification document will be returned to you at the end of the exam after you have completed the required check-out procedures.

Items You May Not Bring to the Exam

  • Do not bring any of the following items to the exam:
  • Any books, study or training materials, or review notes.
  • Any type of writing pad, loose leaf binder, notebook, or other source of paper. (If the use of scratch paper is allowed during an exam session, it will be provided by an exam proctor.)
  • A calculator or any type of electronic device (computer, personal digital assistant or PDA, camera, radio, recording device) or any device capable of sending, receiving or storing information or communicating with others. If requested, a calculator will be provided for your use during testing by the exam proctor.
  • Any pager, cell phone and other communication device. Possession or use of any of these items in the exam room will result in your immediate disqualification, failure of your exam and dismissal from the exam room. Neither the pesticide program nor any exam proctor will be responsible for the loss or damage of any personal property. Prohibited items should be left at your home, hotel room, vehicle, or other location, as appropriate.
  • Food or drink of any kind.

Instructions Given by an Exam Proctor

You are expected to follow all instructions given by an exam proctor. Failure to comply with any exam instructions or requirements may result in your disqualification, failure of your exam and dismissal from the exam room.


Do not talk with other candidates while the exam is in progress or give or receive any type of exam assistance. Any evidence of cheating will result in your immediate disqualification, failure of your exam and dismissal from the exam room. You may not seek help from an exam proctor to interpret an exam question. An exam proctor will not provide this type of assistance.

Challenging an Exam Question

All exam questions have been professionally prepared and reviewed. If, however, you wish to challenge an exam question, you should contact the Pesticide Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture (515-281-5601) and ask for an Application to Challenge a Pesticide Applicator Exam Question. You will not be allowed to review your exam to prepare a challenge to an exam question.

Exam Checkout

You must remain seated until you complete your exam. When you complete your exam, you must follow the exam proctors instructions for checkout and dismissal from the exam room. You must promptly exit the exam room when directed to leave. Leaving the exam room without following the exam proctors instructions will result in your disqualification and termination of the exam. You will not be allowed to re-enter the exam room. If you leave the exam room with any exam materials, including scratch paper, we will prosecute the theft to the fullest extent possible.

Upon completing an exam, if you have a passing percentage, (see below) request the assistance of a test proctor to record your score. If your passing score is not recorded by the test proctor at the end of the test, you will not receive proof of your passing score at the testing location. It will be necessary to contact IDALS for proof of your passing score which will delay your paperwork to apply for certification.

    • Commercial Applicator Passing Exam Percentage:  80%
    • Private Applicator Passing Exam Percentage:  70%

You must promptly leave the testing room when requested by an exam proctor. Leaving the testing room without following exam proctor instructions or leaving with any exam materials, including scratch paper, will result in your exam being terminated and disqualified.

Your Exam Score(s)

Your exam will be scored immediately at the completion of the exam. Each exam you pass will be verified by the exam proctor and recorded for you on the certification application form provided to you. If you do not pass an exam you will not receive any forms.

If You Pass Your Exam(s)

You will be issued a certification application form at the end of your examination session. This form will be signed by the exam proctor and will verity each exam you have passed. Please keep these forms in a secure place.

Upon passing all the exams required you may submit copies of the certification application forms showing which exams you passed along with the appropriate fees to the Pesticide Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture to the address listed on the form. You are only eligible for certification as a commercial or public applicator when employed by a licensed commercial or public applicator.

If You Fail Your Exam(s)

You may take any exam once per day. You may re-take the same exam no earlier than the next business day, and you will be assessed another $20 test fee for the day.