Vegetation Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators

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

ABOUT VEGETATION PESTICIDE HANDLER, SPRAYER, AND APPLICATOR CAREERS
Video transcript

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 substances 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.

SNAPSHOT
Mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical application on trees, shrubs, lawns, or crops. Usually requires specific training and state or federal certification.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Connect hoses and nozzles selected according to terrain, distribution pattern requirements, types of infestations, and velocities.

Cover areas to specified depths with pesticides, applying knowledge of weather conditions, droplet sizes, elevation-to-distance ratios, and obstructions.

Lift, push, and swing nozzles, hoses, and tubes to direct spray over designated areas.

Fill sprayer tanks with water and chemicals, according to formulas.

Start motors and engage machinery, such as sprayer agitators or pumps or portable spray equipment.

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.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
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.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
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.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
TOP SKILLS
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.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.