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Become a Master Composter Volunteer

SB 1383 was enacted to reduce landfill disposal of organic waste, which in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Become a Master Composter volunteer and help your community make the change happen! 

Who are Master Composter Volunteers?

  • Master Composters come from all walks of life.

  • They share composting best practices that promote healthy gardens, healthy soil, and healthy lives.

  • They complete a 15- to 17-week course taught by University Academics, Extension Educators and Industry Leaders.

  • Upon completing the course, Master Composters contribute their time teaching research-based composting practices in their communities

  • Important dates and deadlines

    • We offer an Initial Training course every 2 years. The course typically runs from mid-March to end-of-June . It includes weekly lectures, field trips, and hands-on workshops.  All online and in-person classes are required.
    • An "interest" form will be open the in the spring the year prior to the course. Completing the interest form guarantees that you will be sent the application when it opens. The application will be open for 2 months.
    • Applicants will be notified of acceptance by late December.

Steps to becoming a UCCE Master Composter

1. Questions? Want a run-down of the course? Watch our information session recording HERE

2. Complete the Application

  • Complete the online application when it gets posted here. If you'd like to download a copy to work on the questions before submitting them online, one will be available in 2025 for the class of 2026.
  • Wait for a UCCE Staff member to contact you regarding your application acceptance.  All applicants will receive an email whether accepted or not. 

3. Complete a Background Check & Membership Packet

  • If accepted, you will receive an email with digital forms to sign after your fees are paid
  • You will need to complete a live scan background check.

4. Complete the Composting Education Program Initial Training course. 

  • Complete the 48+ hour training course (1 to 2 times a week for 15 to 17 weeks) to become a certified Master Composter  
  • The course lectures will be held online or in-person (contingent on Santa Clara County COVID-19 guidelines) one evening a week.
  • We will also have a few in-person informational demonstration training days and field trips on select weekends
  • Taught by University of California Extension Educators, Faculty and Industry Specialists.
  • All students must complete an online final exam for certification. An active email and reliable Internet access is required 

5. Share your knowledge. 

  • During your first year as a volunteer, you will be required to give 50 hours of service on projects and events that deliver basic compost education and information to the local community. 
  • Attend Continuing Education courses and monthly meetings alongside experienced Master Composter Volunteers.
  • Report your volunteer hours online for Reappointment.

6. Celebrate! 

When your training is completed, you will receive a certificate and we will  celebrate your completion. After your first year and 50 hours of service are completed, you will receive a UC name badge and the Master Composter title and a shirt.

7. Stay involved to stay Certified. 

To maintain your active Master Composter volunteer status, you will need to complete at least 25 hours of volunteer time and 12 hours of continuing education per year thereafter. 

Want to volunteer with us, but can not commit to the Master Composter Training Course? Volunteer at our Community Composting Demonstration Site! 

The Compost Education Program offers volunteer opportunities to the community every 3rd Saturday of the month. If you are interested in visiting or volunteering at our Community Composting Demonstration Site at Martial Cottle Park, please let us know HERE

Someone from the Composting Education Program will contact you as soon as we are able to. A reminder will be sent out the week before with details of what is happening at the next workday.