Blaster Licensing and Certification
License holders: Please notify the Department of any changes in your employment or contact information.
This program applies to individuals who are interested in initially securing a blaster's license for surface operations or for adding an additional classification to an existing surface license. A person may not detonate explosives or supervise blasting activities unless the person has obtained a PA Blaster’s License in the classification required for the work they are doing. Blaster’s licenses must be renewed every three years.
The Department’s Bureau of Mining Programs is responsible for blaster’s licensing and certification. We accomplish this in part by holding licensing and certification classes several times each year during which we relate Commonwealth regulations as it relates to current blasting technology and common techniques. This program applies to individuals who are interested in initially securing a blaster's license for surface operations or for adding an additional classification to an existing surface license.
The regulations regarding blaster’s licensing in Pennsylvania are found in Title 25 PA Code, Chapter 210.
In general, anyone who wishes to obtain a PA Blaster’s License must:
- Be 21 years of age or older.
- Have a current ATF clearance as an employee possessor, responsible party, or ATF explosives license or permit holder.
- Submit an application with the appropriate fee.
- Have one year of verifiable experience in the classification being sought.
- Have taken the Department’s licensing and certification class. (It is not necessary for a blaster to retake the class when adding an additional classification to a license.)
- Have successfully passed the Department’s examination for a PA Blaster’s License in the classification being sought.
In general, anyone wishing to renew a PA Blaster’s License must:
- Have had a minimum of 8 hours of continuing education in Department-approved courses related to blasting and safety within the 3-year period of the license.
- Be no more than one year after the date of expiration on their license.
- Submit their renewal form along with the appropriate fee.
If someone wishes to renew their license more than one year after the expiration date of their license they must apply for a new license.
Further information on Blaster’s License Renewal may be found at the bottom of this page.
Pennsylvania currently has the following Blaster’s License classifications:
- General – Covers all types of above ground blasting except demolition.
- Trenching & Construction - This license is for surface blasting for excavation not related to mining.
- Limited – Covers limited uses of explosives above ground where the blasting is not related to excavation, such as law enforcement, research, seismic work, and industrial processes.
- Demolition – Blaster’s license for the demolition of buildings with explosives.
- Mine Opening – Blasting license suitable for those conducting blasting for the purpose of constructing a shaft, slope, drift or tunnel mine opening for an underground mine, either operating or under development from the surface down to the point where the mine opening connects with the mineral strata to be or being extracted.
- Underground Industrial Minerals – License for those conducting blasting underground for the excavation of mineral resources.
Class and Exam Dates and Locations for New Blaster Licenses
The General Class is for all types of PA Blaster's Licenses except for Limited, Underground Industrial Mineral and Mine Opening Licenses. The licensing and certification class is offered in-person in a classroom setting but may be live streamed online, as needed. Those who wish to attend the Licensing & Certification Class virtually must have access to a computer or other device capable of running Microsoft Teams and a quality internet connection. For review purposes and to prepare for the class it is recommended that class materials be downloaded early in the process. A printed manual will be provided for those participating in person. The exam is taken at a physical location.
Contact the Bureau of Mining Programs at 717.783.9592 to enroll in a class or use our online enrollment form. Once you have enrolled in a class you may submit an application package for the type of license you wish to obtain.
Upcoming Class Dates and District Mining Office (DMO) Locations
General and Limited Blaster’s License classes and exams are offered three times each year at one of three different DEP Office locations. The Underground & Mine Opening classes and exams are offered two times per year, and are given at the Cambria District Office in Ebensburg, PA.
The remaining dates for the current year are:
General License – Cambria DMO (Ebensburg, PA) – December 13-15
Limited License – Cambria DMO (Ebensburg, PA) – December 7-8
A printable PDF of our 2023 Blaster’s Licensing and Certification Class Calendar may be downloaded here.
A printable PDF of our 2024 Blaster’s Licensing and Certification Class Calendar may be downloaded here.
Download Application for Blaster Licensing Certification & Examination (PDF)
A completed application includes:
- A notarized application.
- Notarized letter verifying at least one year of experience under a licensed blaster including a detailed description of the type of blasting performed. Please note, you are expected to have appropriate experience to qualify for a PA Blaster’s License. We reserve the right to verify the information you provide on your application.
- A $100 check or money order made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Note: You may test for a general or surface blasting license and a demolition license in the same day, but we ask that you advise us in advance as to your wishes. There is an additional license fee of $50 for the additional certification. Expect the time needed to take both exams to take a little longer. Your letter of reference must demonstrate that you are adequately experienced in both demolition and surface mining activities in order to qualify for both licenses.
Please submit a completed application no later than two weeks prior to the examination date. Late applications will be scheduled for the next available session. Applications the day of the session will not be accepted.
Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Mining Programs
Division of Permitting and Compliance
P.O. Box 8461
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8461
Street address for overnight mail:
Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Mining Programs
Division of Permitting and Compliance
Attn: Blaster Licensing
400 Market St., 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Please Note: Seating may be limited. Applications may be returned or scheduled for a later session upon reaching seating capacity. If the number of students registered is low, DEP reserves the right to cancel the class.
It is recommended that you download the PA Blaster’s Licensing Class Manual (PDF) early in your preparation for the Licensing and Certification Class. In addition to this manual, you will be provided with printed booklets (electronically provided if taking class virtually) containing the classroom presentation materials.
The Limited License Class presentation consists of one 8-hour classroom day with the exam given the following morning. The General License Class presentation consists of two 8-hour days of classroom with the exam given on the morning of the third day. The presentations include, but not are not limited to the following:
- Discussion and clarification of new and existing blasting regulations.
- Instruction on calculations regarding scaled distance and blast design.
- Instruction on proper use of seismic monitoring instruments.
- Discussion of various explosive materials, blast initiation systems, and blasting machines.
- Instruction in the requirement and proper use of forms and reports as required by regulations.
Class Starting Times:
- The hours for each classroom session will be from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- The hours for examination will be from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
- Each applicant should bring a scientific calculator and must bring a photo identification card. Cell phone use is not permitted during the exam, including using calculator apps.
- Confirmation for each class session will be mailed to each applicant.
Applicants may take a written examination for a blaster's license in any one of the following categories:
|Category||Minimum Passing Grade|
|Trenching and Construction||80%|
Renewal of a Current PA Blaster’s License
As noted in the Blaster’s Continuing Education Training section above, Commonwealth regulations require that a licensed blaster have at least 8 hours of relevant continuing education during the three-year life of their current license in order to qualify for license renewal. A renewal notice will be mailed to the mailing address on record, so it is vital that each blaster report any changes of mailing address or changes of employer to the Department by calling 717-783-9592.
A completed renewal includes:
- A completed renewal notice.
- A certificate of continued education from an approved provider.
- A current passport sized photo (your photo must be without a head covering, no tinted glasses and with a plain background).
- A $30 check or money order made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
License photo information:
The easiest way to submit your photo is to email a digital photo to RA-EPBMRPHOTO@pa.gov. We also accept color photos stored on compact disc and sent by mail. The photo format should be in tiff (.tif), jpeg (.jpg) or bitmap (.bmp). Please use the BL# and full name in the subject line of emailed photos. If you are unable to provide a digital photo of yourself, please contact the Department to make arrangements to have your photo taken by emailing the link above or calling 717-783-9592.
Blaster’s Continuing Education Training Hours
You must have at least 8 hours of continued education from an approved provider to renew your Pennsylvania Blaster’s License.
Blaster Continuing Education Courses Providers List (PDF)
If you offer blaster’s continuing education and wish to have your course approved for Pennsylvania licensed blasters, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for approval information.
Upcoming Conferences & Events for Continuing Education
International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) 50th Annual Conference on Explosives Blasting and Technique
Savannah, GA – January 24-27, 2024
The ISEE’s annual conference includes up to 16 hours of blaster’s training which will be accepted as CEUs for your Pennsylvania blaster’s license. This conference features presentations, papers, and scientific posters from experts and professionals from around the world. Check out the conference website.
International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) Blaster Training Webinars
The ISEE is now offering webinars that qualify for continued education credit, but you must be aware that not all of their courses are 8 hours. You may have to take more than one ISEE course to accumulate the total number of hours needed. If you would like to enroll attend the ISEE training, please visit their webiste. You will find webinars there and may purchase each series at the indicated price. Follow this link to download the training brochure: ISEE Webinar Brochure (PDF).