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Master Gardener Degree and Training Program Overviews

Learn about educational programs that prepare the aspiring master gardener. See a program overview along with common courses and employment statistics. Explore careers that students might pursue after graduating.

Essential Information

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.

Programs feature courses on a wide variety of horticultural topics. They may mix 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.

Education Prerequisites

There are no specific prerequisites required to register for a master gardening program other than a love of gardening and an interest in horticultural topics. Students should also be comfortable working with the public and be prepared to devote time to volunteering at their local county extension office during the program.

Program Coursework

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. Courses that provide these skills include:

  • Houseplants
  • Plant pathology
  • Pest control
  • Herbs
  • Lawn care
  • Plant propagation
  • Entomology
  • Botany
  • Fertilizers
  • Organic gardening
  • Forestry
  • Landscaping
  • Soil
  • Composting
  • Flowers
  • Plant diseases
  • Invasive species
  • 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 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted average job growth of 13% through 2022 for grounds maintenance workers in general. This occupation includes several sub groups, with varying salaries. For example, in 2013 the BLS reported an average annual salary of $26,300 for landscaping and groundskeeping workers, $34,470 for tree trimmers and pruners and $28,120 for those grounds maintenance jobs not listed individually.

Landscape architects, who normally need a bachelor's degree, could expect 14% employment growth during that same decade, per the BLS. These professionals earned an annual average salary of $68,570 in 2013, the BLS reported.

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