Santa Barbara County
University of California
Santa Barbara County

Interested in Becoming a Master Gardener?

Who becomes a Master Gardener: Master Gardeners share a number of qualities – they are enthusiastic, willing to learn and help others, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people. Experience and a background in gardening are also important. Every effort will be made to accommodate everyone who applies; however, there may not be enough slots for all applicants as training classes are limited in size.

Training: Classes are taught by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Advisors and other horticulture specialists. The program offers a basic, practical course in plant science and horticulture. Classes include: introduction to horticulture, soil and plant nutrition, pests and diseases and their control, plant management, and diagnosis of plant problems. Training takes place over several months (mid-February through mid- June) and is adapted to local needs and the local environment.


Your commitment: In exchange for training, you will be asked to volunteer some of your time to your county Cooperative Extension program and your community. You will be supported and coached by a local Program Advisor.

Certification: Certified Master Gardeners have participated in the training program, passed an exam based on the material presented, and completed their volunteer work.  After completing the classes, the Master Gardener must volunteer 50 hours of their time plus 12 hours additional educational credits in the following year.  Certified Master Gardeners maintain their status by volunteering 25 hours of volunteer service and completing 12 hours of educational credits annually.  Ongoing educational programs, such as seminars, training sessions, field trips, and garden tours, are offered on a regular basis to help Master Gardeners fulfill their required educational credits.

What Master Gardeners do: Under the supervision of the UCCE Horticulture Advisor, the UC Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County serve the community through their telephone “helpline”, newspaper articles, demonstration projects at local gardens, school gardening programs, seminars and educational programs, informational booths at Farmers Markets and local events, and various other community projects.  Master Gardeners receive volunteer credit for time spent participating in approved activities. Through their involvement in these programs, Master Gardeners are providing education and service to the community and continuing horticulture enrichment for members.

Some Program Facts: Master Gardeners are agents of the University of California Cooperative Extension and as such are covered by University liability insurance. Candidates selected for Master Gardener training are required to successfully complete a background screening process that includes fingerprinting at their own cost (approximately $20).  Master Gardeners must follow the recommendations of the University of California Cooperative Extension. The title Master Gardener can only be used by those who are serving as agents of the University of California. However, the title and certification may be used on applications for employment.

For questions, please leave a message at 805-893-3485 or send an email to

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