Difference Between California QAL And QAC Pesticide Licenses

Pomerix staff
Published: 2021-10-10

California has various pesticide applicator licenses; each is appropriate in specific situations. Most of the licenses are issued by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), a California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA) sub-branch. Other licenses are issued by the California Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB) and the California Department of Public Health.

Figure 1: California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) logo

CDPR licenses fall into several major categories:

  • Pest Control Advisor
  • Qualified Applicator License (QAL)
  • Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC)

The similarity of QAL and QAC

QAL and QAC licenses are very similar in that both enable the applicator to apply or supervise the application of federally restricted use pesticides or state restricted materials. Also, both are divided into about 16 categories including Residential, Industrial and Institutional (Category A), Landscape Maintenance (Category B), Right-of-Way (Category C), Plant Agriculture (Category D), Forest (Category E), Aquatic (Category F), Regulatory (Category G), Seed Treatment (Category H), Animal Agriculture (Category I), Demonstration and Research (Category J), Health Related (Category K), Wood Preservation (Subcategory L), Antifouling Paints or Coatings Containing Tributyltin (Subcategory M), Sewer Line Root Control (Subcategory N), Field Fumigation (Subcategory O), Microbial Pest Control (Subcategory P).

Difference between QAL and QAC licenses?

Although QAL and QAC licenses are very similar, they are designed for very different purposes. The Qualified Applicator License (QAL) is designed for applicators in a commercial pest control setting and enables them to supervise the pesticide applications made by a licensed pest control business and are responsible for its safe and legal operation.

On the other hand, the Qualified Applicator Certificate does not qualify a person to supervise pesticide application operations performed by a pest control business.

Who should get QAL and QAC?

QAL is appropriate for an applicator who works for a private pest control company and wants to supervise pesticide applications of the business. If your job is only to apply pesticides without supervising other people's applications, then a QAC may be more appropriate for you.

QAC is also relevant for city, state, and county employees who perform pesticide application/pest control as a part of their work.

This page may contain affiliate links. Learn more

Related Articles

Florida herbicide applicator's license

Herbicide applicators in Florida must be licensed under one of the license categories approved by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Servi . . .

Florida pest control licensing and recertification

How to get a pest control license in Florida. Description of all the license categories

Florida Aquatic Pest Control License

How to get an aquatic pest license in Florida
View All Blog Articles