Become a Better Composter!

Composting is about recycling organic material back to the soil in a usable form. It’s also about reawakening our awareness of the value of healthy soil in the food web. Composting is practical, convenient and inexpensive.This course is offered online with a flexible asyncronus option.

For more information on the course, please read the drop downs below and the sidebar to the right.

Track 1: VT Master Composter Volunteer Certification

Track 1 (VT Master Composter Volunteer Certification)

The Vermont Master Composter Certification progarm, also known as Track 1 requires a special application process and background check for Vermont residents interested in participating. Student's who are accepted into this track have access to the online course with a weekly schedule that includes live classes, quizzes, weekly discussions, activities and strict due dates. Students in this track commit to completing all course assignments on-time, and go on to a 10-hour volunteer-internship requirement over a 2 year period after the course.

Volunteer Certification Requirements:

  • Complete all weekly course requirements on time devoting about 6 hrs per week to the course and  attending all the weekly online sessions on Zoom, September 16-October 28-Thursday nights from 6-7pm
  • Able to attend one in-person composting workshop in St. Albans OR in Ludlow.
  • Willing to participate in a 10-hour volunteer internship 
  • Dedicated to maintaining annual volunteer certification, 5 hrs per year

Benefits of Certification:

  • Receive official "Master Composter" Volunteer status
  • Learn from experienced UVM faculty and Master Composters in the field
  • Give back to your community
  • Membership in our volunteer network
  • Receive access to special offers and educational opportunities

A good fit for this program is someone who is...

  • A Vermont resident (required)
  • Confident using a online-course platform, zoom, and word processing programs
  • Eager to make a difference in your community
  • Happy to teach others and share your knowledge
  • Able to interact amicably with others
  • Interested and deeply committed to Environmental Stewardship
  • Able to sincerely comit to following the course schedule and completing all assignments on time
  • Dedicated to completing 10 hours of volunteering within 2 years of taking the course
  • Willing to serve as a Master Composter volunteer year to year
  • Comitted to maintaining their certification year to year 

To apply for Track 1 (Volunteer Certification, as an In-State Student only):


  • After the volunteer application is filled out you will receive an invitation to join us for a short zoom interview. Please note, we have limited slots in this track, and once all of our slots are filled this Track option will close.

Track 2: Self-Paced Home Composter Certificate

Track 2 (Home Composter Certificate)

The Home Composter Certificate also known as Track 2, allows students to access the course material at their own pace without a volunteer requirement. Passing students receive a certificate of completion if all assignments are complete by December 15th.

A good fit for this program is someone who...

  • Is a non-resident (living out of state/country) (*VT residents can also apply for this track)
  • Is less confident using an online course platform, zoom and word processing programs
  • Travels frequently
  • Works full time or has other scheduling comitments 
  • Can't commit to turning in assignments on-time
  • Wants extra time to complete the course, or doesn't want the pressure of deadlines
  • Doesn't have time or interest in volutneering
  • Works in the composting industry 
  • Wants to apply their knowledge to their home composting system
  • Is less comfortable or interested in teaching others about composting
  • Is interested in the professional benefits of earning a Home Composter Certificate

Track 2 Requirements:

  • Complete the pre-recorded lectures, quizzes, activities at your own pace
  • Complete the final exam with a 70% or higher grade
  • Finish all assignments by December 15th.

Track 2 Benefits:

  • No schedule, no pressure, no hassle
  • Access the course materials anytime, anywhere
  • Receive a Home Composer Certificate that can be used profesionally
  • More time to navigate the online learning platform 

To Register for Track 2 (Self-Paced as an In-State or Out-of-State student):


Course Content & Syllabus

 Course topics include:

  • Soil and Decomposition Ecology
  • Biology of Composting
  • Recipe Design
  • Disease Control
  • Site, and Container Selection
  • VT Act 148
  • Managing the Compost Process
  • Troubleshooting
  • Educational Outreach
  • Worm Composting


Click here to download

Assignments for Track 1 & 2:

  • Read assigned materials for each unit

  • Watch a pre-recorded lecture (1-2 hours) for each unit

  • Take a quiz for each unit (5 questions each, multiple choice) 80% or better requried to pass

  • Take final exam (10 questions multiple choice) 70% or better required to pass

Additionally Track 1 Students weekly assignments:

  • Post 1 weekly question for the instructors to answer (on time)

  • Post a reply to the weekly student discussion board (on time)

  • Attend all of the weekly Zoom Q&A sessions, TBD, typically held on Thursdays from 6-7 pm

Other Info:

  • The online course is offered statewide through the Extension Foundation Campus website, using the Moodle software platform.

  • The textbooks for this course are the Vermont Master Composter and the NY Master Composter Manual. These manuals are provided to students in an online pdf format  in an effort to save paper.

  • The instructor Q&A sessions are held weekly online using Zoom. These sessions are for Track 1 students only and provide an opportunity to interact with UVM faculty to ask questions and review the lecture material.

  • Course lectures are provided as pre-recorded YouTube videos. 

Still not sure about taking an online course?

Learn what taking an online course entails.




Refunds & Accommodations

Dropping the course/Refund Policy

Full refund up until the course starts. The last drop date is October 1st. Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds for the course modules that you have already been given access to on the website. Refer to the Course Syllabus for more information.


Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact Beret Halverson @ or 802-656-1777 prior to August 20, 2021.



Lisa Chouinard (802) 656-9562 or

Course Information & Scholarships:

Beret Halverson (802) 656-1777 or


Cindy Heath, 603-543-1307 or

Master Composter is managed by the UVM Extension Community Horticulture program with financial support from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.



Track 1- (Vermont Residents Only. Must be accepted before registration can occur)


Track 2-  (In-State or Out-of-State students)


Next Course:

September - November 2022

Course Fee:

(Includes all materials)

In-State: $50 

Out of State: $150

Scholarships available! See drop down

Need a Master Composter Volunteer?

Request Assistance


Icons for recycling, composting and trash

Vermont's Universal Recycling Law (Act 148)

Did you know that Act 148 bans disposal of leaf, yard and clean wood debris by 2016, and food scraps by 2020, in Vermont? Learn more about the new Universal Recycling Law.

Feedback from previous Participants:

"The last class really helped to define the objectives and implementation of the Vermont Recycling Law. I can only begin to appreciate all the work and coordination that went into assembling this course and thank you all for that effort."


"This was an amazing amount of information in one place about composting. I am very glad it was offered online as I could not have taken it any other way."