County Licensing Program
Licensing Examinations For
COUNTY AGRICULTURAL INSPECTOR/BIOLOGIST
Separate exams are being offered for the following licenses:
INVESTIGATION & ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
PEST PREVENTION AND PLANT REGULATION
Application and Fees
Applications must be filed electronically at: https://apps1.cdfa.ca.gov/countylicensingexam/. A fee of $75.00 will be charged for the administration of each exam. Fees for all exams must be remitted with the electronic application via credit or debit card. Refunds will be issued to candidates not meeting minimum qualifications.
Exams will typically be administered at the office of the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures in each respective county.
- Candidates employed by a County will take their exam(s) in their employing county.
- Candidates not employed by a County will take their exam(s) in the county in which they reside.
- If a candidate employed by a County wishes to take an exam outside of their employing county, approval must be obtained, prior to scheduling the exam, from both the employing County and the County in which the exam will be scheduled. Final approval must be obtained from the County Licensing Program.
Scheduling Online Examinations
Please contact your county Proctor for examination availability in your county. Each county may administer examinations based on need and proctoring capacity, but no more frequently than every 30 days. Candidates must wait 30 days to retake any examination that was attempted, but not passed.
All first-time applicants, if they have not done so, must submit their transcripts and be approved to take our exams before scheduling their online exam with their proctor.
All inspector examinations will be offered online. Candidates wishing to take an examination on paper must contact the County Licensing Program to request a reasonable accommodation and be approved by CDFA before scheduling their examination.
Candidates must qualify under at least one of the following criteria to be admitted to the exam:
- Possession of one or more valid statewide specific category licenses as a County Agricultural Inspector/Biologist; or
- Possession of a Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college with specialization in one or more appropriate disciplines in agricultural, biological, chemical, or physical sciences; or
- Possession of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college in any discipline with a minimum of 30 semester units, or equivalent, in one or any combination of the following disciplines:
- Agricultural Science,
- Biological Science,
- Chemical Science,
- Physical Science,
- Mathematics, and/or
Candidates qualifying under method (2) or (3) above, must submit copies of their qualifying degree and/or transcripts. Degrees and transcripts should be scanned and e mailed to the County Licensing Program at email@example.com
Examination Information and Scope
No personal effects, including cell phones, calculators, purses, backpacks, and study materials will be allowed in the examination room, and should be stored in a secure location prior to arriving for testing. Electronic calculators are now provided as part of the online examinations.
All exams will consist of multiple-choice questions testing the candidate’s knowledge of applicable subject matter as indicated below. Separate exams are given for each subject area.
- Laws and regulations pertaining to pesticides and pest control.
- Licensing and certification requirements.
- Economic poisons; pesticide types, formulations, toxicity, hazards, residues, and labeling.
- Pesticide application equipment, application techniques, and label interpretation.
- Field inspections and record audits.
- Calibration of pesticide application equipment.
Investigation and Environmental Monitoring
- Administrative procedures and hearings.
- Enforcement actions and standards.
- Environmental monitoring and hazard assessment.
- Investigative procedures and sampling techniques.
- Pest management systems. (Grapes).
- Public and media relations.
Integrated Pest Management
- Identification, life histories, treatments, thresholds, monitoring techniques, hosts, and relative importance of and types of damage caused by common insects, mites, snails and slugs, nematodes, and diseases of agricultural crops and ornamental plants commonly grown in California.
- Principles of plant pest management including chemical, cultural, and biological means i.e. biological control
- Major crops grown in California and areas of the State where they are grown.
- Botany, plant culture, and physiologic and genetic disorders of plants.
- Identification and protection measures for federally listed endangered species associated with vertebrate pest control.
- The crop depredating mammals and birds of California and the type depredation they cause.
- The methods and procedures used for the management for each of the depredating animals.
- The animal-borne diseases transmissible to man, methods of transmission, vectors and the importance of the disease.
- The laws, regulations and guidelines affecting the authority and responsibilities of governmental agencies and private individuals performing vertebrate pest management activities.
- Safe application of agricultural chemicals.
- Fundamentals of economic botany, native flora including classification and distribution of noxious weeds in California.
- Methods, techniques and equipment used in the survey, detection, identification, suppression, control and eradication of noxious weeds.
- Fundamentals of the botany and plant physiology of poisonous plants and their toxic effects.
- Chemical, biological, cultural and other means of control of agricultural weeds.
- The use of herbicides, their mode of action and possible hazard to susceptible crops.
- State and Federal laws pertaining to the control of noxious weeds.
- Weed pest ratings.
- Safe application of agricultural chemicals.
- Food and Agricultural Code provisions pertinent to bee management.
- Defects, maturity, marking and labeling requirements, standard containers and sampling requirements pertaining to fruits, vegetables and eggs.
- Packing and marketing of fruits and vegetables.
- California standardization and egg laws.
- Fruits, vegetables, seasons and their areas of production.
- Direct marketing.
- Organic products.
- Investigative and enforcement techniques.
Pest Prevention and Plant Regulation
- Methods of pest detection; pest and plant identification; commodity treatment; life histories and host plants of pests; distribution of pests, insects, mites, snails, slugs, nematodes, weeds, plant diseases, mammals, and birds.
- Federal and State plant quarantines.
- Plant quarantine provisions of the Food and Agricultural Code.
- Phytosanitary inspection and certification.
- Plant propagation and taxonomy.
- Methods of detection, identification, control and distribution of pests of nursery plants, insects, mites, snails, slugs, nematodes, weeds, and plant diseases.
- Laws, regulations, and inspection procedures and practices pertaining to nursery stock.
- Agricultural seeds, vegetable seeds, weed seeds, and prohibited and restricted noxious weed seeds.
- Laws and regulations pertaining to seed inspection programs including definitions, licensing, assessment, county subvention program, the Seed Advisory Board, seed certifying agencies, labeling requirements, sampling violations, and general procedures pertaining to seed inspection.
- Culture, handling, packaging, labeling and marketing seeds.
A minimum rating of 70 percent must be achieved on each exam for a passing score. Upon passing an exam, a license of eligibility will be issued to the candidate. Licenses are valid for five (5) years unless revoked.
California law requires all county employees working in the capacity of Weights and Measures Inspector to possess licenses demonstrating job proficiency. While the CDFA is tasked with overseeing the testing and licensing of potential candidates, each county is responsible for hiring and determining the qualifications of its own employees. To be hired, candidates must qualify for the licenses of eligibility exams and meet all requirements of the hiring county. Counties may require additional experience or education beyond that of the licensing exam requirements.
Expiring licenses may be renewed, at the request of the license holder, without further examination if the holder is employed in any county agricultural or weights and measures position, with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, or with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. A holder of a license of eligibility who is not employed in one of the above capacities, but who otherwise meets the minimum license qualifications, may apply to renew the license prior to its expiration upon passing a requalifying exam.
If you need a reasonable accommodation, please reach out to the County Licensing Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org, four weeks before the registration period ends to request such an accommodation for your examination.
Right of Appeal
Exam results may be appealed within thirty (30) days after the Notice of Exam Results has been sent to the candidate. Appeals must be in writing and addressed to the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 "N" Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. To be considered, appeals must include the exam title, date of exam, and basis of appeal. Written examination material will not be made available for review.
For questions or assistance regarding licensing exams, please contact the
CDFA County Licensing Program at
email@example.com or 916-653-5866