Master Gardener Degree and Training Program Overviews

A master gardener degree doesn't exist, but there are training programs for students who have a green thumb and want to increase their gardening knowledge. Many schools offer certificates as well as training programs through which students increase their skills and prepare to help others with common gardening issues.

Essential Information

Master gardener programs feature courses on a wide variety of horticultural topics, combining classroom instruction with at least 40 hours of volunteer work. While some programs can be taken online, the volunteer requirement may remain. Volunteer projects include community beautification projects, educational outreach programs at schools and community groups, 4-H demonstrations, working booths at county fairs, and manning helplines to answer gardening questions from the community.

  • Program Levels in Master Gardening: Certificate
  • Online Availability: Classroom portion may be available
  • Other Requirements: 40 hours minimum of volunteer service

Training or Certificate in Master Gardening

Students are given a solid foundation in a wide variety of horticultural subjects in order to provide them with the skills necessary to gain a master gardener credential, such as plant pathology and diseases, forestry, landscaping, plant propagation, and lawn care. Courses that provide these skills might include:

  • Houseplants and herbs
  • Entomology and pest control
  • Botany and flowers
  • Organic gardening and fertilizers
  • Soil and composting
  • Invasive species and wildlife

Popular Careers

Graduates of a master gardening training program are prepared to move on to a variety of horticultural related positions, such as:

  • Landscaper
  • Nursery worker
  • Floral arranger
  • Organic farmer
  • Garden center worker

Continuing Education

Graduates may choose to enroll in an advanced master gardener training program or participate in a two or four year degree program in horticulture, botany, landscape architecture, plant sciences, entomology or agricultural studies.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted average job growth of 6% through 2024 for grounds maintenance workers in general. This occupation includes several sub groups, with varying salaries. For example, in 2014 the BLS reported an average annual salary of $26,720 for landscaping and groundskeeping workers, $35,150 for tree trimmers and pruners and $32,660 for those grounds maintenance jobs not listed individually.

Landscape architects, who normally need a bachelor's degree, could expect 5% employment growth during that same decade, per the BLS. These professionals earned an annual average salary of $69,530 in 2014, the BLS reported.

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