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 and master gardener training programs.
Master Gardener Training Programs
Training programs in master gardening provide students with a love of growing plants the opportunity to increase their skills and learn how to help others with common gardening issues. Students are provided with courses on a wide variety of horticultural topics. The program mixes classroom instruction with volunteer work. While some programs can be taken online, the volunteer requirement may remain.
Students may be required to complete at least 40 hours of volunteer work during the program. Volunteer projects include community beautification projects, educational outreach programs at schools and community groups, 4-H demonstrations, working booths at county fairs, and manning help lines to answer gardening questions from the community.
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.
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:
- Plant pathology
- Pest control
- Lawn care
- Plant propagation
- Organic gardening
- Plant diseases
- Invasive species
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 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted faster than average job growth of 20%, through 2020, for grounds maintenance workers in general. This occupation includes several sub groups, with varying salaries. For example, in 2012 the BLS reported an average annual salary of $25,870 for landscaping and groundskeeping workers, $33,850 for tree trimmers and pruners and $30,620 for those grounds maintenance jobs not listed individually. Another profession of landscape architects, who normally need a bachelor's degree, could expect 16% employment growth during that same decade, per the BLS. These professionals earned an annual average salary of $68,030 in 2012, the BLS reported.
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