Ever wondered why in a digital age most pesticide license related transactions are still done using paper and mail? Have you taken the same exam over and over again, waiting weeks in between before finally being notified of a passing score? If this sounds like you, then recent changes in how pesticide licenses are obtained may lift your spirits.
Exams taken on computer were piloted early in 2013 in limited UF/IFAS county extension offices around the state. The Web-based service was expanded to include a larger number of counties in late 2013 and additional expansion is expected in the coming months. Be aware that the process for taking exams on computer is a bit different than the standard paper and pencil method. Here’s what you need to know:
1) You must register for a voucher with FDACS in order to take an exam on computer. You must schedule a time to take the exam at a site which offers computer exams.
2) You will find out if you passed immediately after taking the exam and you may retake the exam once in the same day, assuming your exam site can accommodate the extra time.
3) The computer exams draw from a larger bank of questions; limit you to two rather than three hours per exam and the system is not yet perfected. Paper exams are still available.
Start By Getting A Voucher
Detailed directions for obtaining a voucher are provided at the end of this section, but let’s start with an overview of the process. To register for a voucher you’ll need to have an email address and sign up for an FDACS account through their website. The system will assign you a five digit PIN, which you will need throughout the process. You will need to be able to access your email during the setup process to activate your account. This can make it difficult to get a voucher on a walk-in basis at the Extension office. Based on experience with the system thus far, the process is vastly smoother if the voucher process is completed before arriving to take an exam. Most offices will bend over backwards to help but depending on the time and location this may not be possible. The process may be a bit intimidating at first. Comments so far have ranged from “No problem!” to “It took a half an hour just to get a voucher.”
Once you have activated your account and logged back in using your email and five digit PIN, you can select if you want to renew or apply for a new license. You will need to know if you want a public, private or commercial license and then you can select the exams you want to take. You can select a maximum of three exams per voucher number obtained and you do not have to take all of them in one day. Your voucher number will remain valid for one year. You will have to submit and confirm your selections and then the system will generate a voucher number. You will need this voucher number to sign in to take an exam and the system will display it on the screen and eMail it to you.
After getting the voucher number, the next step in the process is to schedule an exam. Offices offering exams on computer have listed their available dates and times on the scheduling page of the website and may also offer exams by appointment, depending on the office. It may be best to contact the office and ask about their method of scheduling apart from listed times, as flexibility for those wishing to repeat an exam, or those finishing early is difficult to reflect in the available scheduling tool.
Click here to find detailed instructions for how to register for a voucher here.
If you are not sure which license you need or if you need a public, private or commercial license, find lots of licensing information using the references below.