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Become a Master Gardener


Are you interested in becoming a Master Gardener?

Do you love gardening and volunteering? If so, the Master Gardener (MG) Program might be for you!

To become a Washington State University Master Gardener with Pierce County you must first apply to the MG Program. Applications and specific training information are posted on this page. We highly recommend that you attend one of our information sessions to learn more about the Program and to meet some of our volunteers!

Sign-up to be kept in the loop on our next volunteer cohort training:

2021 MG Training has been CANCELLED due to COVID-19


MG Training Information:

Format of the training:

The training includes classroom training in addition to online study. The online study portion includes topic-based modules and open-book quizzes for each module. There is also an open-book final exam at the end of the training.

What will I learn?

The training focuses on sustainable gardening practices through topics such as pest and soil management and water wise gardening techniques. It covers a wide range of gardening topics that include ornamental, vegetable and native plant gardening.

How many hours a week will I spend in the training?

The classroom sessions are 3-5 hours a week and require readings from home before each class. The online study equates to about 2-4 hours of study time a week.

What happens after the class?

Once training is completed and you have passed your final exam you will need to complete 60-hours of volunteer time, which includes working at our demonstration gardens, staffing diagnostic clinics, an intern project, and working in the community. These hours need to be completed by the end of the calendar year.

Once Master Gardeners complete their first year, they are required to contribute 25 hours of volunteer service and obtain 10 hours of continuing education annually to retain their certification.

What is the cost of the class?

The classroom portion of the training is $195 for those wishing to become a Master Gardener Volunteer or $500 for those who do not wish to become a Master Gardener Volunteer but instead only want to attend the class to receive a certificate of completion.

The online portion of the training is $75.

The mandatory national background check for those wishing to become a Master Gardener Volunteer is $14. Once admitted into the program, a background check will need to be completed every 2 years.

The Master Gardener manual can be downloaded for free, or you can purchase a physical manual for $125.

Is there financial assistance available?

Yes, a limited amount of financial assistance is available to those becoming Pierce County Master Gardeners.  The WSU Pierce County Master Gardener Program would like to thank the City of Tacoma Sustainability Small Grant program for covering 5-7 scholarships for City of Tacoma residents in 2021.  Please note that scholarships are not limited to Tacoma residents.

How do I apply?

The application to apply will be posted on this page when it is ready. Please check back at a later date.

For questions about training, please contact the PCMG Program at


Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Jim Kropf, WSU Pierce County Interim Director, at or 253-445-4526  at least two months prior to the event.