Program Definitions and Policies

Tri-County County Master Gardener Program Definitions and Policies

There are three categories within the Master Gardener program.  The categories are Intern, Certified Master Gardener, and Master Gardener Emeritus.  When people enter the Master Gardener class, they become “students” and remain students throughout the coursework. Once they have successfully completed the MGTC and passed the final exam, they become “MG Interns” and remain MG Interns during the 40-hour payback period.  Upon completion of the 40-hour payback, Interns become “Certified Master Gardeners” and receive their diploma and a badge to indicate their certification. Certified Master Gardeners may remain in this category or become “Master Gardener Emeritus”.

Meaning, Responsibilities and Privileges of Categories

A Student is an individual who has been accepted into the Master Gardener class.  This individual remains a Student until he or she becomes a Certified Master Gardener or leaves the program.

1. Responsibilities of the MG Student

  • to successfully complete the Master Gardener course
  • to complete the observation hours during the coursework
  • to complete the orientation program

2. Privileges and Responsibilities of the MG Intern

  • to participate in all Master Gardener activities
  • to fulfill the obligation of 40 payback hours within the prescribed time period
  • to report all Master Gardener volunteer hours
  • to participate in Master Gardener activities and serve as a member of  Master Gardener committees (with the exception of the Board of Directors) after successful completion of the Master Gardener course
  • to receive the “Taproot” and other MG communications
  • to be mentored by experienced, Certified Master Gardeners who participate in the mentoring program.

3.  Under special circumstances, the Tri-County Board of Directors may make exceptions to the responsibilities and privileges of the Master Gardener Intern.


A Certified Master Gardener is a person who has successfully completed the  responsibilities of an Intern and who completes the responsibilities of a Certified Master  Gardener each year thereafter.

1. Responsibilities of the Certified/Active Master Gardener

  • to complete and report a minimum of 20 (twenty) volunteer hours each year
  • to complete and report a minimum of 10 (ten) Clemson-approved continuing education hours each year*
  • to participate in Master Gardener activities and serve as a member of  Master Gardener committees
  • to receive “Taproot” and other MG communications

*All Clemson sponsored educational activities are included.  If you attend an educational symposium/program not sponsored by Clemson, you must bring or send the flyer to the Master Gardener Coordinator, for approval toward continuing education hours.

2. Privileges of the Certified/Active Master Gardener

  • to participate in special Master Gardener trips and events
  • to give advice and educate the public by answering questions and teaching at the Master Gardener office, plant problem clinics, farmers’ markets and other Master Gardener events
  • to be eligible to be a member of the Board of Directors if elected
  • to receive “Taproot”
  • to be a Mentor as requested
  • to be a committee Chairman

3. Under special circumstances, the Board of Directors may make exceptions to the responsibilities and privileges and/or grant a leave of absence.

A Master Gardener Emeritus is a Certified Master Gardener who no longer wants to, or is unable to, fulfill the responsibilities to remain a Certified/Active Master Gardener and has met at least one of the following requirements with consecutive years of service:

  • Completed ten (10) years of consecutive service to Clemson Extension as a Certified Master Gardener
  • Completed and reported 3000 (three thousand) volunteer hours, consecutively, as a Clemson Extension Certified Master Gardener
  • Is unable to fulfill the responsibilities of a Certified Master Gardener due to a physical or mental infirmity

1. Responsibilities of the Master Gardener Emeritus

  • to request a change in status from Certified Master Gardener to Master Gardener Emeritus and receive approval from the Board of Directors
  • to report all Master Gardener volunteer activities performed
  • to enjoy the status of honor                                                                                                              

2. Privileges of the Master Gardener Emeritus

  • to participate in the special Master Gardener trips and events
  • to participate as a member of Master Gardener committees
  • to receive “Taproot”

3.  The County Master Gardener coordinator may give special approval to the Master   Gardener Emeritus to give advice and educate the public by answering questions   and teaching at the Master Gardener office, plant  problem clinics, farmers’    markets and other Master Gardener events.  The Master Gardener Emeritus may   also be named chairman of a committee by special permission of the Master    Gardener coordinator and the Board of Directors.

Revised 9.17.14