Become a Master Gardener Volunteer in Arizona
Step-by-step Statewide Instructions for Master Gardener Certification; various counties may have additional steps
Step 1. Make an application
Why we do this: The application process allows us to find the correct match between your interests and abilities and our programatic and community needs.
How you do this: Each county manages their own process, which will likely include an application and reference checks. It may also include an interview.
For general information on the program, check out this site.
To begin the process, check out the link for your county.
Step 2: Complete Training
Why we do this: Master Gardeners provide science-based information adapated to each county for managing residential horticulture including landscaping, gardens, and individual plants. Training is designed to ensure the information our Master Gardeners provide is locally appropriate, accurate and up-to-date.
How you do this: Each county manages enrollment in training within their county. Once a potential volunteer makes application to the program, further information will be provided. The typical training course for a Master Gardener in Arizona is 17 weeks long with one class of 3 hours per week
Step 3: Register with University of Arizona as a Designated Campus Colleague
Why we do this: The Designated Campus Colleague (DCC) relationship is the legal agreement between the volunteer and the University of Arizona. UArizona provides guidelines and training. Volunteers help transfer gardening and home horticulture information to individuals by such tasks as answering questions via phone or internet, facilitating workshops and clinics, assisting in community gardens, and speaking to community groups.
The legal relationship says that volunteers will follow university guidelines, and that the university will back the volunteer's efforts with guidance and legal support. Additionally, active DCC status provides access to university resources such as email, Google apps, and Zoom.
The timing of this step varies by county. Some counties set up this DCC relationship while Master Gardener volunteers are still attending training sessions. Some counties wait until the training sessions are complete and the volunteer is working to complete the intern hours.
How you do this:
First, the county office enters your information into the University of Arizona Workforce database, UAccess.
Second, you will receive several emails
- from FSO at arizona.edu
- which contain information you need
- which may get caught in the spam/junk/unwanted folders in your email
Third, we can help
- with the date the emails were sent
- by having the emails resent if you have deleted them
- by providing step-by-step instructions in a .pdf or by video
- by providing instructions for how to manage the speed of videos on YouTube
Fourth, Set up your NetID, password, and NetID+
- Open Step by Step Instructions for Setting up your NetID and NetID+ in a separate tab for reference
- Then Set up your NetID, password, and NetID+ here.
Fifth, finish your DCC registration; instructions available in .pdf below
Sixth, set up your University Email account here.
- Enter your <netid>@email.arizona.edu address and click Sign In.
- At the UA-branded login screen, enter your NetID and password
Step 4: Preventing Harassment Training
Why we do it: The Preventing Harassment training helps maintain equitable and legally mandated opportunities for all residents of Arizona by helping volunteers, staff, and students develop
- Recognition of behaviors such as implicit bias, discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence, gender discrimination, and stalking.
- Skills for encouraging respect and civility in the workplace, creating positive and productive workplaces and building positive organizational culture.
All members of the university community are expected to complete this training every two years. Changing duties may require volunteer, staff, or student to complete the training more frequently.
How you do this:
- Log into EDGE, the University of Arizona employee Training app using your NetID, password, and NetID
- EDGE user instructions are available here
- To find information or ask questions about this training, check here: https://equity.arizona.edu/training/online-training
- University of Arizona Office of Institutional Equity Policies and Procedures are available
Step 5: Log hours
Why we do this: Each county has specific requirements for volunteer hours in a given year and continuing education requirements in a given year. Logging hours allows the volunteer to demonstrate that they have met these requirements.
How you do this: Some counties have on-line timesheets. Contact your county office for instructions.
Step 6: Master Gardeners who WORK WITH YOUTH must clear the background Check
Why we do this: The safety of Arizona youth is the primary concern as the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension assigns volunteers to any program where they will have direct contact with youth. We require these volunteers to clear a finger-print based background check. By requiring this clearance, we know that our Arizona youth are safe. Parents and communities know that youth are safe in our program. Volunteers know that their colleagues are united with them in the effort to keep youth safe.
The background check standard for University of Arizona Cooperative Extension is the Arizona Department of Public Safety Level One Background check card (DPS card).
How you do this:
First, gather the necessary information and items
- Credit/debit card to pay the fees
- Specific instructions from your county office if they are providing funding
- County office address
- Personal information (driver license, social security number)
Second, find a site where you can have digital prints taken
Third, start your application with Arizona Department of Public Safety(link is external)
- A prompt will ask if you will volunteer in schools; select yes
- Leave the school / employer information blank if possible
- If an address is required, enter your county Cooperative Extension office address
- Follow the prompts
- The fee is $65 and must be paid online
- Log back into the AZ DPS portal and check messages
- Record the 10-character application/documentation/reference number in your message; you will need it to set an appointment
Fourth, wait 5 to 30 minutes (depends on volume of business) for the AZDPS site to transmit your information to Arizona FieldPrint, then pay the fee to get your digital prints taken
- Go to Fieldprint's portal: https://arizona.fieldprint.com(link is external)
- Select "Fingerprint Clearance Card" from the list of reasons
- You need the 10-character documentation/reference number from AZ DPS message center
- Fee is $8.25
- Fee must be paid online with credit/debit card
- Take your receipt to the fingerprinting site of your choice from the options available(link is external) (link is external)
- ALL sites require an appointment, NO walk-ins.
Fifth, Arizona Department of Public Safety will notify you of the status of your clearance card
- You should get an email verifying that they are processing your card
- The AZ DPS site says it may take up to 8 weeks
- Many people receive their card within a week of the date the prints were taken
- The card comes directly to you
- Replacement of lost cards costs $65.00
Sixth, submit the complete Background Check Packet to your county office
- Digital copy of the front of your DPS card
- Digital copy of the front of a government-issued photo id (driver license)
- Filled in and signed copy of the authorization (see below) which gives University of Arizona permission to check status of the DPS card
- UArizona checks the status regularly as long as the card is valid and you are a volunteer with UArizona
Step 7: Master Gardeners who WORK WITH YOUTH must complete Youth Safety Training
Why we do this: As part of the effort to provide appropriate environments for all youth in our programs, The University of Arizona provides a training on Youth Safety. This training explains Arizona laws that cover abuse and neglect. It sets out the signs that would tell you that a youth is at risk of abuse or neglect, as well as signs that another adult is grooming a youth for an inappropriate relationship. It also includes best practices for helping an endangered youth, and explains the legal responsibilities for Cooperative Extension Volunteers who discover any of these signs.
How you do this:
- This training requires NetID and NetID+.
- Every volunteer and staff person should complete Youth Safety training every year to make sure they have the most current information on the Arizona law, The University of Arizona regulations, and best practices.
- Log in here: https://d2l.arizona.edu/d2l/loginh/
NOTE: Cooperative Extension requires an additional step in the reporting process as it is outlined in the training. If a volunteer recognizes signs of abuse, neglect, or grooming, the information should be reported to local law enforcement (city, county, or tribal) as well as to their county office and the University of Arizona Youth Safety office.
Access The University of Arizona Youth Safety policies, guidelines for event registration, and other pertinent information here.
Additional information, requirements, and opportunities
Continuing Education opportunities in your area: contact your county office.