Master Gardener Certification Program Information

How Can I Become a Massachusetts Master Gardener?

A Certified Massachusetts Master Gardener is a member of a large community dedicated to volunteering in horticulture and gardening. This program is intended for non-professional gardeners who are willing to teach best practice gardening skills to members of the community and to support MMGA sponsored gardens in Central and Eastern Massachusetts. Master Gardeners help run gardens that support food pantries, maintain and restore historic gardens and work in gardens that teach the public about horticulture. Volunteerism in a primary element of our mission. Certification is only the first step to joining our organization. Our primary goal as Master Gardeners is to share gardening knowledge, experience, and expertise with each other and the public. Becoming a Certified Massachusetts Master Gardener requires the successful completion of a 15-session hybrid horticultural course with three in-person and 12 virtual sessions (ZOOM) followed by a 60-hour supervised internship.

The 2023 course begins January 10 and ends on April 25, 2023. Classes will take place on Tuesday mornings from 9-12. In addition, students will be assigned weekly readings and homework and will complete an open book/open notes midterm and final exam. The internship begins on April 22, 2203 and ends of November 30, 2023.

What are the Benefits to Becoming a Massachusetts Master Gardener?

  • Networking with other Master Gardeners

  • Participating annually in dozens of MMGA-sponsored no-cost/low-cost continuing education classes, workshops, field trips, and visits to members' and project gardens

  • Supporting local communities by learning from and working in MMGA-approved public and non-profit organizations' gardening sites, where Master Gardener volunteers provide free hands-on support

  • Recommending community fairs, plant sales, and other events for a free Ask-a-Master-Gardener or Soil pH Testing table staffed by Master Gardeners

  • Joining our Speaker's Bureau and learn to develop lectures/presentations on your favorite horticultural topics to be presented to garden clubs and other organizations.

  • Attending bi-monthly Associates Meetings which include horticultural presentations, organizational and member news, and time to socialize with fellow Master Gardeners

  • Receiving monthly member-written newsletters that cover a wide variety of topics


The Master Gardener Certification Program has been in high demand in recent years. Currently we are no longer accepting applications for the 2023 Class. Applications for 2024 will be announced through a link in our newsletter, The Dirt.

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Orientation (in-person at site TBD)

Soil Science - Part 1

Soil Science - Part 2, includes soil testing, composting

Botany - Part 1

Botany - Part 2

Woody Ornamentals


Native Plants


Weeds and Invasive Species


Pruning (in-person at site TBD)

Entomology and Pests

Plan Diseases

Practical Workshop: Hands-on activities (in-person at site TBD)


Following the successful completion of the classroom course, which includes passing both the midterm and final exams, students will begin their seven-month internship from April 22 through November 30, 2023.

Student-interns must complete 60 hours of volunteer work, with at least the minimum number of hours in each category below:

  • Gardening: Working in at least three of our 40 project gardens in central and eastern Massachusetts under the supervision of a Certified Master Gardener - 24 hours.

  • Helpline: Volunteering at either The Massachusetts Horticultural Society's The Gardens at Elm Bank Helpline or the New England Botanical Garden at Tower Hill Hortline - 9 hours.

  • Outreach: Completing outreach activities such as Ask-A-Master Gardener booths at farmers markets and autumn agricultural fairs - 8 hours.

  • Continuing Education: Attending continuing education programs - 6 hours.

  • MMGA Administration: Participating in MMGA Administrative work such as serving on a committee, attending Associates Meetings, or volunteering at our annual Massachusetts Gardening Symposium - 8 hours.

  • An additional 5 hours can be in any category except Helpline.


  • Be a Massachusetts resident.

  • Attend all classes - virtual and in-person.

  • Have a desktop or laptop computer; tablets and smartphones are not sufficient for class participation.

  • Have a Gmail account to facilitate access to the MMGA portal and Google shared drive.

  • Complete assigned reading and homework assignments.

  • Pass the take-home, open-book midterm and final exams.

  • Pass a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) and SORI (Sex Offender Registry Information) check as Master Gardeners often provide programs that may include children.

  • Feel comfortable using email, searching internet websites for information, and sending electronic documents. Homework and handouts are distributed electronically.