Hybrid Master Gardener training is held two times per year in partnership with the state program and local Extension offices. Training is a combination of online content, live Zoom sessions, and local hands-on activities. Reach out to your local Extension office to find out if they are offering this hybrid training format.


You don’t have to be a gardening expert to become a Master Gardener. All you need is an interest in gardening, some time to volunteer in the community, and a desire to share your knowledge with others. The Master Gardener program emphasizes practical gardening experience teamed with research-based information from University of Illinois Extension. 

Our Online Illinois Gardener Training is for those interested in learning all aspects of gardening in Illinois, whether they would like to volunteer or not. This course is comprised of 12 modules and a final quiz, all completed at your own pace within a three-month period.  

Upon completion of the course, you’ll receive an Illinois Gardener Training Certificate of Completion. You’ll then be given the choice to stop there and simply utilize your new gardening knowledge in your own garden- or choose to move on to the next steps of the process to becoming a Certified Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer.

Because there is no subsequent volunteer commitment to just taking the online course, participants do not automatically become Illinois Master Gardeners and may not use the title of Master Gardener at this point. Becoming an Illinois Extension Master Gardener requires an application with the local Extension office, an interview process, a background check process, and various other paperwork items, with the end result of acceptance to the program. 


When registration is open for the season, it can be found here: go.illinois.edu/IllinoisGardenerTraining