How to Become a Master Gardener Online

Dec 15, 2019

Master Gardener Overview

Many gardening positions call for you to be certified as a Master Gardener. Gardeners are typically in charge of knowing which plants need what sort of care, including soil requirements, watering regimen, and optimal lighting conditions, as well as arranging and maintaining gardens. Master Gardeners, in particular, volunteer as local gardener community leaders and work to maintain public spaces and historic gardens. Becoming a Master Gardener does require some in-person work, making it somewhat challenging to prepare for online.

Required Skills Knowledge of plants, physical stamina, communication skills
Job Growth 4% for 2018-2028 (for landscape architects)*
Median Salary (2018) $68,230 (for landscape architects)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Becoming a Master Gardener Online

There are many ways for you to advance toward becoming a Master Gardener, from completion of courses or full programs to hands-on training and finally certification. Although in-person work is typically required, all of the following steps will use online resources to prepare for Master Gardener certification.

Step 1: Consider an Online Undergraduate Degree or Certificate

Although not required, having a bachelor's degree or certificate in horticulture or a closely related field can equip you with the wide base of knowledge you will need not only in order to pass the various evaluations involved in becoming a Master Gardener but also in any professional position you eventually fill with your qualifications as a certified Master Gardener. Online bachelor's degree programs will typically last around four years if you are working full time with a regular course load. Certificate programs generally require about 15 credits, which may be spread over several semesters. Many schools offer individual online courses, as well.

Step 2: Consider Gardening Classes or Online Self-Study

With gardening being an often physical practice, it can be difficult to gain a full understanding of the field without in-person training or classes. Finding a class in your area where you can get some hands-on experience with gardening can, therefore, be a good next step. Of course, there is still the option to use online resources to inform your hands-on work. There are online guides and video tutorials that can show you different gardening techniques, step-by-step, while you follow along at home working with your own plants and equipment. Whether you elect to complete an in-person gardening class or attempt to learn the physical skills on your own with the aid of online resources, having a handle on the practical side of things can be helpful in becoming a Master Gardener.

Step 3: Complete a Master Gardener Program

Now that you have a pretty well-rounded understanding of gardening in general, you are likely ready to attempt official certification. Online certification procedures can vary depending in which organization's course you enroll. Generally, there is a series of classes/webinars, followed by evaluations to track your learning, a final exam, and finally a number of documented volunteer hours. Although the rest of this step can often be completed online, the volunteer hours will need to be completed in-person.

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