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Washington State University

Become a Master Gardener

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WSU Whatcom Master Gardener Training Update:

We will resume our annual training with the next Master Gardener Training beginning in February 2025.

Application and details will be posted in AUGUST 2024. Training takes place February 2025 to April 2025.


What is a Master Gardener?

Master Gardener students examining a leaf specimenMaster Gardeners are community educators trained to work in partnership with WSU Extension to teach the public and enhance the quality of life in the community by promoting sound gardening practices with research-based information.

The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer program for people with a passion for plants, a drive to learn, and a commitment to serve. Candidates for the program may or may not have experience or knowledge about horticulture, but all have a desire to learn. By signing up to join the program, you are committing to serving the community as a gardening/horticulture educator. Trainees develop the skills and knowledge to become effective community educators on plants, plant communities, pests and much more.

Trainees receive over 60 hours of college-level, WSU-certified training. Lectures and labs are taught by university faculty/staff, local and state experts, and Master Gardeners. After trainees pass the final exam, they complete 60 hours of volunteer time as intern-trainees, assisting the public in solving their home gardening problems and answering questions. Upon completion of these hours, they become Certified WSU Master Gardeners and maintain certification with continuing education and annual volunteering of a lesser number of volunteer hours.

Topics include:

    • Botany
    • Insects
    • Soils
    • Pesticide Safety
    • Garden Management
    • Landscape Ornamentals
    • Weed Control
    • Pruning
    • Plant Pathology
    • Sustainable Practices
    • Vegetable and Fruit Crops
    • and more!


(Fees listed were from the most recent cohort and are subject to change for future classes.) Tuition for the Master Gardener training is $375. Study materials are included. Volunteer trainees must also complete a national background check through Sterling Volunteers at a cost to the applicant of $14.

Limited scholarships available based on need. Contact Beth ( for more information.


MG holding a flower

Time commitment

The process to becoming a Master Gardener starts with intensive 12-week classroom training, combined with hands-on training. Participants are asked to apply only if they can attend all class days.

The training is academically rigorous and requires approximately 10-15 hours per week of class time and homework. The course has online components of chapter readings and quizzes, and a final exam. Participation is mandatory.



To become a Certified Master Gardener, applicants must complete:

    • 60-hour training which includes all quizzes via the online course, labs and a few Saturday field trips.
    • Score 80% or better on the final exam
    • Complete 60 hours of volunteer time as an MG intern (May – September)
    • Professional Horticulture option available (Coursework without volunteer commitment)

For more information, please contact:
Beth Chisholm, Master Gardener Coordinator, (360) 778-5811,

Learn more about the statewide program at: