Skip to main content

Master Gardener program offers two online training options

URBANA, Ill. — For 46 years, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners have measured success by gardens planted, insects identified, produce harvested, and the millions of hours volunteers have logged.

From farms and small-town to suburbs and the inner city, more than 2,600 volunteers statewide put their mission of “helping others learn to grow” into practice by providing gardening education and outreach in their communities.

Take your love of gardening to the next level by becoming a Master Gardener in 2021. There are two online training options – self-paced or hybrid with live sessions.

“Our online training is a great opportunity for folks who need more flexibility to participate,” said State Master Gardener Specialist Candice Hart. “Both options have components that can be completed at your own pace.”

Both training options can be taken from the comfort of home on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. Participants will be introduced to in-depth horticulture content through 13 modules including soils and fertilizers, plant diseases, entomology, pest management organic gardening and more. The training includes videos, a manual, reading materials and quizzes. A strong internet connection is highly recommended.

After completing their training, volunteers participate in educational programs in their communities. Those opportunities may include speaking at garden clubs, civic groups, or schools; answering calls or emails at garden help desks; establishing demonstration gardens that serve as educational tools; and educating citizens on how to establish community gardens.

The self-paced course starts on January 26 and can be completed in 14 weeks with approximately four to six hours of weekly work. The course costs $300 and registration is open until January 8.

The hybrid course starts on February 16 and includes 12 weeks of hybrid online materials and live sessions on Tuesday mornings. The live sessions can be accessed remotely or in-person at an Extension office depending on local health regulations. Registration is open until February 9. The cost is set by the county providing the training.

Both Master Gardener training programs are coordinated by Extension staff at the county level. Training options vary by county. For more information or to fill out an application form, contact your local Illinois Extension Office at

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact Candice Hart. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting participant needs.

SOURCECandice Hart, State Master Gardener Specialist, Illinois Extension
WRITEREmily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.