Master gardener certificate 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.
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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
Graduates of a master gardening training program are prepared to move on to a variety of horticultural related positions, such as:
- Nursery worker
- Floral arranger
- Organic farmer
- Garden center worker
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 2015 the BLS reported an average annual salary of $27,460 for landscaping and groundskeeping workers, $36,030 for tree trimmers and pruners and $33,340 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 $68,600 in 2015, the BLS reported.
Students interested in becoming a master gardener can enroll in a certificate program that covers the necessary information in the field of horticulture. Graduates can expect positive job growth in several different horticulture careers.