Master Gardener Training

Thank you for your interest in the Master Gardener program! To become a Master Gardeners, trainees participate in more than 60 hours of education emphasizing practical, research-based information on botany, lawn care, diseases, insects, soils, vegetables and fruits, composting, pesticide safety, flowers and more.

Training is held in person, depending on interest, and takes place over 10 weeks. Sessions are taught by University of Illinois specialists and Extension educators. For those unable to attend the traditional face-to-face training, an online option is available. 

Please tell us a bit more about your interest in the Master Gardener program by completing this short form: Master Gardener Interest Form


Master Gardener Applications may be submitted at any time. Please email the application or print it and mail it to your Extension office. If a training session is in progress, the application will be kept on file for the following year's training. Each applicant is required to go through an informal interview. Class size is limited. 
Call your Extension office if you would like a paper copy mailed to you.


The cost of the program is $300 for online training. This includes the Master Gardener manual and additional training materials. In return for the training, Master Gardener trainees give back at least 60 hours of volunteer time to their home counties on approved Extension projects. *Fee waivers are available upon request.


Once trainees have graduated, they are asked to complete 60 hours of volunteer time in their home county on approved volunteer projects. After the 60 hours are completed, volunteers are considered an active Master Gardener. Volunteer opportunities vary by county.