VIRGINIA TURFGRASS JOURNAL: Larry Nichols, Director Division of Consumer Protection VDACS
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is in the process of completing upgrades to the online pesticide system. Recent upgrades include enhancements to the online system which make it more intuitive and user friendly, as well as an expedited process for submitting initial registered technician applications (RT-A form).
The recent upgrades to expedite the approval process for the issuance of the authorization to take the certified applicator exam are for registered technicians only; these upgrades, which are described below, were implemented March 22, 2023, and are designed to allow the prospective applicator to receive the authorization to test the day after their application is successfully submitted.
The agency is currently developing the expedited process for the submission of commercial applicator applications as well as for applications to retest or reinstate expired certificates (i.e., RT-B or CA-B forms); however at the time this article was written (late April), the expedited process for commercial applicators and retesting or reinstating certificates was not yet available.
The expedited process includes the following:
• For online applications, the new expedited process requires that the applicant enter information in all required fields before the application can be submitted for payment processing. Credit card and ACH payments are processed upon submission of the application.
The online system will allow application fees to be paid by check and mailed to the agency. Applications for which the fee is paid by check will be processed after receipt of the check and reconciliation of the payment by the Office of Pesticide Services.
• Once the application has been successfully submitted online, the authorization to take the registered technician exam will be emailed to the applicant using the email address associated with the submission of the application. Under normal circumstances:
• Authorizations to test will be emailed by the next day to applicants who pay the application fee by credit card or ACH; and
• Authorizations to test will be emailed to applicants who pay the application fee by check after receipt of the check and reconciliation of payment by the Office of Pesticide Services.
• Please note that there may be times when the authorization to test emails are not generated as planned. Under these circumstances, Office of Pesticide Services staff will be working with the agency’s IT staff to resolve any problems and issue the authorization to test emails as soon as possible.
Applicants can take the exam once they have received the authorization to test. Applicants who pass their exam will immediately be issued a provisional applicator certificate which lasts for 45 days. During the 45-day period, VDACS will complete a final review of the application and issue the official certificate. It is important that applicators, who have been issued the provisional applicator certificate, monitor their email regularly since VDACS may request clarifying information to complete the review process and issue the official certificate. If VDACS does not receive requested information within the 45 days, the certification will expire, and applicators will not be able to apply pesticides until a new certificate is issued.
Applicants still have the option to submit applications by mail. Paper applications which are submitted to VDACS by mail or delivery service are placed in a queue and processed in the order in which paper applications are received.
VDACS has also established a remote testing option for those who prefer to test at their home or business, rather than testing at a DMV office. VDACS contracted with Everblue for the remote testing option. The remote testing option provides for testing 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with no advance scheduling required. Remote testing requires a computer, webcam, and microphone and there is a $26 online testing fee paid directly to Everblue for each exam taken (this is in addition to the application fee paid to VDACS). The authorization to test that is received from VDACS will include information regarding the remote testing option. In addition, applicants will get an email from Everblue with details about how to take their remote test. Upon completion of the test, applicators will find out immediately if they passed or failed; those passing the exam will receive the provisional applicator certificate.
Applicators may continue to take their exam(s) at DMV or with an approved VDACS proctor. There is no additional fee to take the exam at DMV or with a VDACS proctor. As a reminder, all exams listed on the authorization to test must be taken during one testing session whether at DMV, with a VDACS proctor, or when using Everblue’s online testing system. Please note: the email from Everblue provides information regarding remote testing and is not the notice of authorization to test used at DMV or with a VDACS proctor.
Questions regarding the online system should be directed to the Office of Pesticide Services at email@example.com.READ THE ISSUE