Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation helps professionals in vegetation pesticide handler, sprayer, or applicator careers find better opportunities across all specialties and locations.

Also known as:  Certified Pesticide Applicator, Fruit Sprayer, Herbicide Sprayer, Orchard Sprayer, Plant Sprayer, Weed Sprayer


Keeping plants free of bugs and disease or helping them grow more robust, often requires the application of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. Sprayers and applicators do a lot more than press the "on" switch.

They must know how to handle the chemicals carefully. Many of the subst ...
ances used to treat plants are poisonous, and some can cause skin damage. It's also important to know when the application should be made, where on the plant or soil it's most effective, and how much should be used. Some chemicals have to be mixed before application.

These are skills that can be learned on the job, but most states require certification for workers who apply pesticides. They take a test on safe handling and disposal of the potentially dangerous chemicals used.

Sprayers and applicators might work for landscaping firms, gardening services, chemical lawn-care companies, nurseries, or farms. Since this job requires more knowledge and training, it can lead to a supervisory position, such as crew leader.

With some training in business management and good communication skills, an experienced sprayer and applicator might go into business for him-or-herself. However, this work is seasonal, and careful consideration of the economic climate must be made before investing in equipment or a franchise.

Mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical application on trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Usually requires specific training and State or Federal certification.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
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Connect hoses and nozzles selected according to terrain, distribution pattern requirements, types of infestations, and velocities.
Mix pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides for application to trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops.
Clean or service machinery to ensure operating efficiency, using water, gasoline, lubricants, or hand tools.
Start motors and engage machinery, such as sprayer agitators or pumps or portable spray equipment.
Lift, push, and swing nozzles, hoses, and tubes to direct spray over designated areas.
Fill sprayer tanks with water and chemicals, according to formulas.
Cover areas to specified depths with pesticides, applying knowledge of weather conditions, droplet sizes, elevation-to-distance ratios, and obstructions.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Arm-Hand Steadiness The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Control Precision The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Manual Dexterity The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Multilimb Coordination The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
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