Online Illinois Gardener Training


Interested in becoming a Certified Illinois Extension Master Gardener Volunteer or just simply bettering your own gardening knowledge? Our online training program may be for you. Please read carefully through the details below. Timing of training availability may vary from county to county.

Online Illinois Gardener Training

Our online, self-guided Illinois Gardener training course is available to take from the comfort of your home at your own pace. This online course is currently offered three times a year in Winter, Summer and Fall. Registration for the next Fall session will be open from August 5-September 9 and the course kicks off on October 7. Registration will be available starting on August 5 here:

What will you learn?

Classes are taught by University of Illinois specialists and Extension educators. Information is science-based and specific to Illinois’ unique climate, soil, environment, insects, wildlife, and plants. Topics include botany, soils, vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees and shrubs, grasses, landscaping, insects, and diseases. The training includes videos, a manual, reading materials, and quizzes. The course can be completed in approximately 14 weeks with four hours of weekly work or additional time can be taken. A computer and strong internet connection is highly recommended.


The online training program costs $300 and includes a training manual shipped to your address. Additional local fees may apply if your county offers local hands-on sessions.

Following the course

Upon completion of the course, you’ll receive an Illinois Gardener Training Certificate of Completion. You’ll then be given the choice to stop there and simply utilize your new gardening knowledge in your own garden — or choose to move on to the next steps of the process to becoming a Certified Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer.

Because there is no subsequent volunteer commitment to just taking the online course, participants do not automatically become Illinois Master Gardeners and may not use the title of Master Gardener at this point. The title of ‘Master Gardener’ is a registered service mark and only to be used for Illinois Extension events and purposes.