A love of gardening, a search for knowledge and a desire to share that knowledge with others is central to why people join the Master Gardener program. They remain Master Gardeners to enjoy the friendship of others who share their interests, to gain and share research-based horticultural knowledge and to give back to the community through their volunteer commitment.
If combining your passion for people and plants sounds appealing, you may be a good Master Gardener candidate. A formal education in horticulture isn’t necessary–we will provide the training and resources to help you teach others. There are five steps to becoming a Master Gardener – each step is described in more detail below.
To become a University of Minnesota Master Gardener, you must first apply and be accepted into the program. Applications are accepted annually from August 1 to October 1st. If interested, learn more here.
You agree to volunteer service in exchange for training from the University of Minnesota. You also agree to participate in Master Gardener monthly meetings, where you receive continuing education and learn about new projects and other volunteer opportunities.
Complete the Extension Master Gardener Core Course (a 49+ hour University of Minnesota class). The core course is held entirely online and is self-paced beginning in January. The cost of the core course is $320, or $369 with a printed Companion Guide. Financial assistance is available, learn more and check out the application here.
Following completion of Core Course Training, Master Gardener interns are required to do a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer work during their internship year (which ends each December 1). We make an effort to ensure that our new interns are placed with other, more seasoned volunteers and we assign a mentor to each new intern. So whether you volunteer at an “Ask a Master Gardener” event or any other event, you’ll be with knowledgeable, helpful people who will make sure you’re not on your own. You’ll have fun–and you will learn a lot!
You’ll receive a certificate and name badge designating you as a Master Gardener once you have completed the Core Course and fulfilled your internship requirements.
Once certified, Master Gardeners must volunteer a minimum of 25 hours and receive at least 5 hours of approved continuing education each year in order to maintain their certification.