If you enjoy being a volunteer educator, want to share your passion for gardening and provide science-based environmentally sound horticulture knowledge with others, and have time to volunteer – you should consider becoming an Extension Master Gardener!

Training Program

The Albemarle-Charlottesville unit of Virginia Cooperative Extension trains a new group of Extension Master Gardeners every year. Applications for the 2022 class are being accepted anytime from now until December 1st, 2021 with admission limited to the 25 most qualified applicants. Once we have reviewed your application, we will contact you to schedule an interview during December.

All applicants will be notified regarding their acceptance by the second week of January. Prior to the beginning of the course, a required background check will be initiated for all trainees.

The training course includes approximately 70 hours of instruction taught by experts in various gardening areas such as soil, botany, integrated pest management, disease diagnosis, and more. While going through the course, each trainee has an Extension Master Gardener as a mentor.

Requirements

Trainees are expected to complete an exam at the end of the course, and afterwards, as new interns, complete 50 hours of volunteer project service within one year. Once completed, interns then become certified Extension Master Gardeners. Afterwards, they are then expected to give at least 20 hours of volunteer project service plus complete 8 hours of approved continuing education each year to remain active. Extension Master Gardeners must educate the public using science-based and research-based recommendations of VCE and may not use the Extension Master Gardener designation to promote commercial horticulture services.

Applying

The deadline for applying for the 2022 Training Course is December 1, 2021. The 2022 application is online and can be accessed by contacting the Coordinator, Trisha Costello, at tcostello@vt.edu. VCE also requires a background check once an application is submitted. The training course costs $190, with need-based scholarships available by request.