Associate Diploma In Horticulture

Course CodeVHT005
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours


Learn the skills needed to grow and identify over 1,000 different plants; and build a successful career or business as a professional horticulturist.

  • Start any time; and study at your own pace.
  • Relevant to all horticultural sectors in both amenity and production horticulture.
  • Learn from a team of professionals with decades of experience; in both Australia and the UK. This gives you a very unique and practical education, from people who actually work in the industry, as well as being teachers. Many of our teaching staff still also operate their own successful horticultural businesses.
  • We've been educating horticulturists across Australia, and around the world, since 1979; and have helped thousands forge a successful business or career in the industry. 
  • Let us help you to be our next success story.


This Associate Diploma has two parts to it:

Stage 1: Nine Modules

Most of these are available either online or by correspondence (printed notes). Practical Horticulture I is only available online.

These nine modules form the Advanced Certificate in Horticulture.

If you simply complete these nine modules and go no further you may attain an Advanced Certificate. Each module takes approximately 100 hours to complete, so the estimated duration for the nine modules is 900 hrs (minimum).

NOTE: Other Advanced Certificates at ACS are DIFFERENT - This was previously a UK developed RHS Advanced Certificate and we have retained this as a study option. The content and duration is different to other courses, because the course came from a different education system.

Stage 2:  Six Modules

All of these are available online, or by distance education. Once again, each module takes approximately 100 hours to complete, so the estimated total duration of the six modules is 600 hours (minimum).

In order to obtain this ACS Associate Diploma in Horticulture, you need to:

  • Show proof of a prerequisite certificate (eg. Submit a photocopy of an acceptable certificate obtained prior to these studies)
  • Satisfactorily complete all set assignments
  • Successfully complete exams with ACS in all of the 15 modules


    Stage 1 - Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (VHT004)

    To complete this you must under take all of the modules listed below. The Practical Horticulture module may be studied online from anywhere in the world, but the RHS Exam for this can only be taken in the UK.
    The RHS Exam is not essentail in order to achieve an ACS Advanced Certificate, You can simply complete 9 of the modules listed below and undertake ACS examinations for each in your home locality. After successfully completing your exams, you can then continue on to Stage 2 and upgrade the Certificate into an Associate Diploma.

    Modules to be studied in Stage 1:

    • Plant Propagation I
    • Soil Management (Horticulture)
    • Botany I
    • Horticulture II
    • Practical Horticulture I
    • Planning Layout and Construction of Ornamental Gardens
    • Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens
    • Turf Care
    • Wholesale Nursery Management
    Stage 2 - Associate Diploma in Horticulture ( formerly RHS Diploma in Horticulture ) 

    The Advanced Certificate is considered to be the first half of this Associate Diploma, and as such you are expected to have studied everything in that course (Stage 1 above) before commencing Stage 2.

    Stage 2 requires that you complete all of the following additional modules.
    • Plant  Ecology
    • Horticultural Resource Management
    • Plant Breeding
    • Botany II
    • Outdoor Plant  Production (Crops I)
    • Protected Plant Production
  • For further details on each of the modules in this course, follow the links in the Modules section below.



    Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Associate Diploma In Horticulture.
     Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
     Horticulture II (Plant Knowledge) BHT102
     Outdoor Plant Production (Crops I) BHT112
     Propagation I BHT108
     Soil Management (Horticulture) BHT105
     Turf Care BHT104
     Botany II (Plant Growth and Development) BSC204
     Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
     Planning Layout And Construction Of Ornamental Gardens BHT242
     Plant Breeding BHT236
     Practical Horticulture 1 BHT238
     Protected Plant Production BHT223
     Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens BHT243
     Wholesale Nursery Management BHT212
     Plant Ecology BSC305

    Note that each module in the Associate Diploma In Horticulture is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


    You can design your own Associate Diploma with us
    This is a unique and very flexible opportunity that is not offered by many other schools
    Use our Free Course Counselling Service to find out how -click
    There are other options to complete an associate diploma in horticulture as well.

    If you wish to design a "tailor made" course, we cater for that too.

    You can select 15 modules for a total of 1500 hours of study with us, and provided the structure of those selected is approved by an academic officer at our school; we will accept you into that study program for an associate diploma in horticulture


    Horticulture involves “growing plants with a known purpose”.  The purpose may be obvious (eg. food, decoration); but it could also be more obscure, such as filtering pollutants from the air, reducing the negative effects of storms, or creating an environment that is friendly to people or animals.

    The broad scope of horticulture means that there are many different industry offshoots including, but not limited to:

    • Landscaping Gardens and other areas
    • Cut Flower Production
    • Floristry
    • Indoor Plantscaping
    • Home gardens
    • Turf
    • Forestry
    • Plant Nursery Production
    • Garden Centre Retailing
    • Allied Trades -manufacturing and supplying hardware, equipment, machinery
    • Providing education, media, consulting or other services
    • Fruit and Nut production
    • Mushroom production
    • Growing Vegetables or Herbs
    • Oil production (cooking oils, perfumes etc)
    • Medicinal plants
    • Fuel crops (bio-fuels)
    • Horticultural Therapy
    • Soil improvement crops – for production of composts, fertility supplements, etc.

    Careers in Horticulture will Always be With Us -but they may change

    The world is changing fast; and we know 50% of all jobs today are under threat from new technologies like robotics and computerization.  This is evident in all aspects of life, in business, in industry, and in our personal lives. Almost every week we are offered new and more sophisticated technology to help us communicate or to perform common tasks. The horticulture industry too has not been exempt in this evolution; plant propagation, plant care, harvesting techniques, growing systems, the way we care for golf courses and parks and even our approach to home gardening, have all changed dramatically over recent decades. These changes will continue as new techniques and new technologies are formulated and introduced.

    For a sustainable career in horticulture, you need to recognise the inevitability of change. You must be able to adapt and excel, embracing and taking advantage of change. To achieve this, your knowledge and skills in horticulture must be broad based. If you understand the fundamental skills needed - across all sectors of horticulture - you will be able to see opportunities as they arise and confidently move from one sector to another, throughout your career. As an example,  anyone with underpinning knowledge of plant science and plant cultural practices:  plant growth and identification, soil management, pruning and pest control and the associated technologies,  will be able to work in landscaping for a few years, then move to turf management or nursery production and later work in crop production.  

    Sound, broad-based training in the fundamentals of horticulture is a good starting point for entering this industry. However, not all courses on offer will be broad enough or in-depth enough to set you up for a sustainable, lifelong career – so you need to understand the fundamentals required in horticulture (in general) and then choose a diverse course, that enables you to achieve these aims.



    • We've been teaching horticulture since 1979 -we've helped tens of thousands around the world. We can help you.
    • Support from a team of a dozen horticulturists, in three countries including some of the industries leading experts. The principal John Mason is the only person to have been made a fellow by both the Australian Institute of Horticulture, and the UK Institute of Horticulture. Long time tutor, Dr Lyn Morgan is one of the world's leading hydroponic experts. Gavin Cole has worked in landscaping across both Australia and the UK, and was operations manager for one of England's most prestigious landscape companies. Maggi Brown is a life member of Garden Organic in the UK, and one of England's most respected organic gardening experts. Bob James has over 50 years of experience in horticulture as a consultant, local government manager, university lecturer, nurseryman, permaculturist, and more.
    • Above all; our courses are unique, and they work. They take longer to complete than certificates in some colleges; but our graduates learn more, and because there are lots of choices throughout the course; every graduate will have a different mix of knowledge and skills to everyone else -as well as all of the basics that everyone needs to learn. This uniqueness sets our graduates apart from the crowd, and that gives you an edge on everyone else. 


    Why Study This Course?

    This course is a natural upgrade to our Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (VHT004) but can be taken as a stand-alone course. The course provides a solid foundation in all the key areas of horticulture which are needed for entry into a broad range of jobs in horticulture. On top of that it provides insight into higher end horticultural skills such as plant breeding and advanced botany. The course meets with the curriculum of the old RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) diploma in horticulture and as such meets with the high standards of the RHS.

    This course is ideally suited to people working in, or hoping to work in:

    • Horticulture management
    • Propagation & nursery work
    • Conservation & restoration of historical gardens
    • Public gardens
    • Botanic gardens
    • Horticulture research
    • Horticulture consultation

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    ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development
    ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development

    Member of the Institute of Horticulture Careers Advisory Bureau
    Member of the Institute of Horticulture Careers Advisory Bureau

    These studies satisfy curriculum developed by the Royal Horticultural Society
    These studies satisfy curriculum developed by the Royal Horticultural Society

    ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
    ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

    Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association
    Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association

    ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
    ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council

    ACS is a Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture.  ACS students meeting AIH criteria can join AIH as a Category 2 student member.
    ACS is a Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture. ACS students meeting AIH criteria can join AIH as a Category 2 student member.

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      Marie Beerman

    Marie has over 7 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants". Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M.Hort. Dip. Bus. Cert. Ldscp.
      Rosemary Davies

    Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
      Robert James

    B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Horticulturist, Horticultural Scientist, and Horticultural Consultant
      Gavin Cole

    B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".
      Starting a Garden or Landscape Business
    Expert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in), a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an ebook.
      Starting a Nursery or Herb Farm
    It's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. To work efficiently and profitably, a nursery or herb farm must be both well organised and properly managed. As with any business, it is essential to be confident enough to make firm decisions as and when needed. This e-book is your ticket to a fragrant future.
      Getting Work in Horticulture
    Find out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
      Plant Pests & Diseases
    Are you one of those people that kill every plant you touch? Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's a pest or disease. A little bit of reading might just turn your garden into an oasis. Learn how to identify pests and diseases and bring the spring back into your plant...visit the bookshop to find out more...