Become An Extension Master Gardener

Thank you for your interest in the VCE Master Gardener Program. Applications are no longer being accepted. We have reached full capacity for the 2023 class.

If you have any questions or issues with the application, please email

Who We Are

  • We are Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, working through the VCE Loudoun Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension 
  • We are educators providing residents with horticultural and environmental information based on the research and experience of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University
  • We are mentors who train and develop new Master Gardener Volunteers
  • We are continuous learners who maintain our own knowledge base through continuous education and updates received from Virginia Tech

What We Do

  • Answer horticulture and environmental questions through our Help Desk, Demonstration Garden, and Garden Clinics
  • Provide outreach at the Loudoun County Extension Office and at local community events
  • Maintain a Demonstration and Teaching Garden at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg
  • Promote the protection of the environment, with a focus on water quality
  • Advise on appropriate and safe use of pesticides and fertilizers
  • Conduct education programs for diverse groups on proper care of turf grass, woody plants, food crops, and ornamentals

For More Information

Who Should Apply?

Individuals who have:

  1. Enthusiasm and willingness to give back to the community through volunteer efforts by supporting our programs and projects.
  2. Commitment to finish the 75-hour internship as well as annual tenured requirements.
  3. Three to five-year volunteering commitment once tenured.

A horticulture background – though helpful – is not necessary.

Prospective candidates must:

  1. Read the Applicant Letter.
  2. Review the Training Requirements.
    It is important to know and understand what is required to complete the Master Gardener Program and receive certification. You’ll find details about class dates and times, virtual classes, and training hours.
  3. Complete the Application. Applications will be accepted in late September. (Note applications are considered in order received and Loudoun County residents receive priority.)
    The application is online only.  You will need to create an account in the Better Impact system and must complete and submit the application in one sitting. Within the online application you will need to provide two personal references, including names, phone numbers and emails. Once the application is submitted, we will provide a link for you to send to your references so they can fill out the questionnaire electronically. Applications will no longer be accepted once we have reach class capacity.
  4. Complete the Interests & Skills Questionnaire on the application.
    You can identify your specific interests and skills by clicking the applicable boxes on the questionnaire included in the online application.
  5. Complete the interview as detailed below.
  6. Pass a background screening.
    Background screenings protect the integrity of our agency, our volunteers, and our clients.  Please see the VCE Volunteer Screening Information Brochure and Volunteer Screening Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have any questions or issues with the application, please email

Selection Process

In late October, applicants will be contacted to schedule an in-person or phone interview (depending on COVID mandates and volunteer comfort level).

After completion of the in-person interview, a panel of VCE Loudoun Master Gardener Volunteers and VCE Loudoun staff select applicants based on an evaluation of their enthusiasm to learn, their willingness to volunteer and contribute to the Extension Master Gardener program, and their interest in promoting environmentally sound management practices. 

Successful applicants are admitted as Trainees once the personal references are received and the background screening is complete and passed. Classes begin in late January.  The fee is determined annually based on costs, which covers the state program fees, an electronic copy of Extension Master Gardener 600-page Handbook, classroom instructor fees and materials, and a tee shirt. Additional costs based on personal preference of having printed materials.