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Degree Overview: Master Gardener Degree and Training Programs

Majors Overview April 23, 2015

Get information about educational programs for those interested in becoming master gardeners and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Information on Gardener Degree and Training Programs

No school offers a master gardener degree program, but some institutions do offer training programs for students with a green thumb that wish to enhance their knowledge of gardening. Certificates are available at many schools, in addition to training programs that can help students build their skills and prepare to offer assistance to other individuals in resolving common gardening issues.

Diverse horticultural topics are available in programs that combine classroom lectures and at least 40 hours of volunteer work. While students may take some programs online, schools may retain the volunteer requirement. This requirement may require students to man helplines to answer gardening questions from the community and work booths at county fairs. They may also have to participate in 4-H demonstrations, educational outreach programs at schools and community groups, and community beautification projects.

Education Requirements

An interest in horticultural topics and a love of gardening are sufficient requirements to be satisfied by those seeking admittance to a master gardening program. During the program, students are expected to enjoy working with the public and to be able to volunteer at their local county extension office.

Coursework

Students enrolled in the program gain a strong grasp of various horticultural subjects, thereby gaining the skills they would need to obtain a master gardener credential. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Forestry
•Organic gardening
•Fertilizers
•Pest control
•Botany
•Wildlife
•Entomology
•Plant preparation
•Lawn care
•Invasive species
•Plant diseases
•Flowers
•Composting
•Soil
•Landscaping
•Plant pathology
•Houseplants
•Herbs

Career Choices

Those who graduate from a master gardening training program may pursue various horticultural related positions, including:

•Floral arranger
•Garden center worker
•Nursery worker
•Landscaper
•Organic farmer

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of 13% have been predicted for grounds maintenance workers in general (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, landscaping and grounds keeping workers brought in an average annual wage of $23,970, while in 2013, tree trimmers and pruners earned $32,220. Landscape architects, who are expected to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, are expected to see 14% job growth over the 2012 – 2022 decade. They also brought home an average annual wage of $64,180 in 2012 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates who seek continuing education may pursue an advanced master gardener training program or earn a two- or four-year degree in agricultural studies, entomology, plant sciences, landscape architecture, botany, or horticulture.

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