CompostBecome 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.

    Master Composter 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

    This course is offered online with a flexible schedule option and three tracks!

    Registration is Now closed for this course. For more information on the course please read the drop downs below and the sidebar to the right.

    Track 1: Master Composter Volunteer Certification

    Track 1 (master composter volunteer certification)

    The full volunteer certification program including acccess to the online course with a weekly scheulde, assignments and due dates. Passing students commit to a 10-hour volunteer requirement over a 2 year period after the course. DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR TRACK 1: September 11, 2020.


    Track 1 may be right for you if you are:

    • Eager to improve your community and share your knowledge as a community educator
    • Interested in Environmental Stewardship and willing to promote environmentally safe composting practices.
    • Able to attend one hands-on session during the course
    • Willing to serve as Master Composter volunteer year to year, and maintain your certification.
    • Able to complete the 10 hours of volunteer service within 2 years of taking the course to receive Master Composter Certification.

    Track 1 Requirements:

    • Complete the online course: eight modules, six live online Q&A sessions (or watch recorded) with instructors, an online manual, quizzes, final exam (70% or better) and additional course materials.
    • Participate in one hands-on session in either the northern or southern region of the state.Choose from one of two dates. Oct 24 (Ludlow, VT) (1:00-3:00pm) or Oct. 17 (St. Albans, VT) (1:00-3:00pm)
    • Participate in a 10-hour hands-on volunteer internship  in your local area to earn certification as a Vermont Master Composter. This happens over the course of two years after completing the course.
    • Maitain your certification annually by volunteering 5 hours per year after you receive your certifcation, 1 of which can be continuing education.

    Track 1 Benefits:

    • Receive a course completion letter and intern badge upon completing all course requirements
    • Receive a Certified Vermont Master Composter badge and certificate upon completion and reporting of 10 volunteer internship hours by end of the bi-annual term
    • Receive the benefits of learning from other Master Composters and giving back to your community
    • Receive the benefit of joining our Composter network and listserv, and gives you access to a number of special offers and educational opportunities.

    Track 2: Home Composting Certificate of Completion

    Track 2 (home composting certificate of completion)

    Access to the online course with a weekly scheulde, assignments and due dates. There is no volunteer requirement and no volunteer certification. Passing students receive a home horticulture certificate of completion. DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR TRACK 2: September 18, 2020.

    Track 2 may be right for you if you are:

    • Not a Vermont resident
    • Working full time and/or don't have time to volunteer
    • Working in a field related to composting and want to learn more about the science of composting.
    • Interested in composting for your own knowledge that you plan to apply to your own composting projects.
    • You are not comfortable teaching others about composting
    • You would like to use the course completion, " Vermont Certificate of Home Composting" as a professional qualification.

    Track 2 Requirements:

    Complete the online course: seven modules, six live online Q&A sessions with instructors, an online course guide, quizzes, final exam (70% or better) and additional course materials.

    Track 2 Benefits:

    • Receive a "Vermont Home Composting Certificate." You will not become a “Master Composter Volunteer.”

    Track 3: Self-Paced Course Only

    Track 3 (self paced course only)

    Access to the online course, (readings, lectures, etc) but with no assignments or due dates. Students in this track are not eligible for vounteer certification or a home composting certificate of completion. DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR TRACK 3: Registration will stay open.

    Track 3 may be right for you if you:

    • Don't have time to turn in assignments or follow a schedule
    • Are interested in composting for your own knowledge

    Track 3 Requirements:

    • No requirements, no assignments or due dates

    Track 3 Benefits:

    • No schedule, no assignments, no hassle!
    • Access the materials for your own learning whenever you want

    Course Content & Syllabus


    Click here!

    Course Content:

    • Read assigned chapters from the course manual

    • Watch a pre-recorded lecture

    • Post 1 discussion question

    • Take module quiz

    • Attend or watch the recorded live Q&A sessions (Thursdays 6-7 pm)

    Other Info:

    • The online courses are offered statewide through the eXtenion campus website.

    • The text for this course is the "Vermont Master Composter & NY Master Composter Manual." These manuals are provided to students in an online pdf format only. Students are welcome to download the documents and print it at a local printing company.

    • The live Q&A sessions are held using video conferencing. These sessions will allow students to interact with on-screen faculty to ask questions, while course lectures are provided as video recordings. The Q&A sessions are also archived.

    Course Outline:

    • Volunteering & Outreach, (Track 1 only) Beret Halverson & Cindy Heath, Master Gardener Program

    • Course Introduction: Self Paced (no live session) All Intro Assignments Due

    •  Introduction to Composting, Mike Ather, Backyard Wilderness

    • Soil Ecology, Wendy Sue Harper, Consultant and former UVM Lecturer

    • Using Compost, Mike Ather, Backyard Wilderness

    • Community Composting, Natasha Duarte, CAV & Athena Bradley, NERC

    • Vermont Compost Policy, Anne Bijur & Emma Stool, Department of Environmental Conservation, Waste Mgmt

    • Course Conclusion: Self Paced (no live session) 

    • In-Person session: This is offered in the northern region and in the southern region (same content). This session is required for Track 1 students, but optional for Track 2 & 3 students.



    Is An Online Course Right For You?

    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 2nd. 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 24, 2020.



    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.



    Opens mid-late July 2021

    Next Course:

    September 10- November 12 2021

    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."