Understanding Recognition

ACS is an internationally recognised college, affiliated with many other institutions and connected to industry through memberships and professional networks.

We have put together the following information to help you navigate the complexities of recognition and what it means for you. 

Generally speaking, recognition can be complex issue resulting from the emergence of thousands of awarding and certification bodies around the world. High numbers of generic awarding and recognition institutions, operating alongside industry specific endorsement and approval systems can make it challenging to map a course or qualification into a system deemed to be a worldwide standard. Quite simply, a worldwide standard does not exist and there is no course which can be recognised everywhere.

When you think about recognition, the key point itself is in fact simple. Recognition is a concept which has value only through perception.  We always advise students and learners to choose education that is meaningful for what is needed to fulfill a role or occupation or personal ambition.

With over 40 years in education, our ethos has not changed. Here's some key points you may like to know about our courses and our system of recognition. 

  • We have strengthened our beliefs, based on 2019 research, the most valuable recognition comes from making quality, authentic learning our highest priority.
  • The best indicators of our credibility are the quality of our staff, the testimonials from our students, and the background of other institutions we are affiliated with.
  • We have established relationships with Tower Insurance (UK) and OAMPS (Australia) for our students to access professional indemnity insurance where applicable to their industry.
  • For ACS, credibility with employers take precedence over accreditation with government recognition systems. 
  • Four decades since we began, we know success for graduates comes from what they have learned, rather than whether a course has more or less accreditation linked to it.
  • Throughout learning, we aim to bring about a deep and lasting change in how you think, and much of the recognition we hold is because we put learning above all else.
  • We also have a selection of formal recognition in industry, some are mentioned below.

COMMENT FROM ACS STUDENT who previously completed an undergraduate Bachelor degree. 
The main difference between my experience of studying at University and studying with ACS is that at University you're basically regurgitating text books. In contrast ACS assignments can be quite involved requiring hands-on application of principles, creative thinking and analysis."  Dennis - Certificate in Garden Design graduate.



ACS has been established since 1979, and has established a high level of respect in academic circles within a range of disciplines in the UK, Australia and beyond. Staff include world renowned academics from several countries, and it maintains active partnerships with respected institutions in several countries including Ireland, Australia and Singapore. Many of these affiliates are formally recognised by government education authorities in their respective countries.

For students today, we are please to say there has been a shift to recognise all forms of learning - that is all short courses and training events completed or attended over years of an academic career, may now be included in formal RPL applications. Students no longer need years of degree or postgraduate studies to be deemed educated, skillful or knowledgeable.

So NFIFL, an abbreviation coined by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, need to be respected in everyone’s educational or academic career. Thankfully, we see micro-credentialing and ‘enrichment learning’ gaining the attention of trade, education, and political departments. A move in the right direction for anyone passionate about learning.

The school’s credentials include:

International Approval and Registration Centre (IARC) www.iarcedu.com
ACS is registered with IARC as a provider of quality post-secondary education.

  ACS Distance Education has an established Alliance with the Australian Institute of Horticulture, as an official sponsor

Complementary Medicine Association
College Member of Complementary Medicine Association assessed to teach a range of areas including Counselling, Nutrition, Natural Therapies.

ACS students in the UK and Aus can join NOW. Find out how you can be a member here .

Association of Coaching (U.K.)
ACS Distance Education is an organisational member of the Association For Coaching. Students on the course are eligible to join the association as student members.

ACS Global Partners

ACS Global Partners Network
Member of ACS Global Partners Network – committed to Ethical Education


 Future Farmers Network

ACS is an organisational member.

FFN are focused on building the engagement and network of those aged 18 to 35 years with the aim to empower, support and retain young people in Australian agriculture.


ACS and its staff are members of many UK and overseas Industry bodies, including:

  • Alternative Technology Association
  • Permaculture Association (UK)
  • Australian Nursery Industry Association
  • Complimentary Medicine Association (UK)
  • Gold Coast Education Network (foundation member)
  • Institute of Horticulture
  • Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)
  • International Herb Association
  • Chartered Institute of Horticulture
  • Permaculture Association (UK)
  • UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112


Articulation Arrangements

ACS has established articulation and partnerships with various other highly credible institutions. Through these formal arrangements graduates may obtain various types of formal recognition and accreditation for studies undertaken through ACS, and advance standing in selected courses at vocational or higher education levels that directly or indirectly are accredited through various industry or government bodies in a range of countries.

These articulation arrangements are varied from course to course and can be investigated in more specific detail by contacting the school.

Formal articulation or accreditation and recognition arrangements are always changing - as they do with other colleges and universities around the world. As with any credible institution though, we maintain high standards and in doing so, we have always maintained a high level of credibility with colleagues.



Joining a Professional or Industry organisation is a very real way of benefiting your career.

How memberships may benefit you:

  • Provides additional credentials. Often membership is only open to people who meet certain criteria, such as an approved qualification.
  • Often allows you to put additional letters after your name.
  • Provides networking opportunities.
  • Provides business opportunities.
  • Gives you a say in development of an industry (e.g. such bodies are often given opportunities to input into government).
  • Information or advisory services.

Note: Every organisation has its own distinct purpose and mix of services that are provided to the membership. Some are geared to support their members businesses more than others. Others may focus more strongly on professional development opportunities.

A range of professional bodies accept ACS students (from appropriate courses) as members.

ACS encourages students to join and become active (where relevant) with the following organisations:

Australian Institute of Horticulture 
The Principal, John Mason, is a fellow of AIH. ACS holds Training Provider status with the AIH and is now listed as a Preferred Member Training Provider. As such, ACS students who meet AIH criteria are entitled  to subscribe to AIH as a Category 2 student member. http://www.aih.org.au/
Chartered Institute of Horticulture
The Chartered Institute of Horticulture is a peak organisation representing those professionally engaged in Horticulture in the UK & Ireland. http://www.horticulture.org.uk/
Nursery and Garden Industry Association
Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) is the peak industry body for the Australian nursery and garden industry and is responsible for overseeing the national development of this diverse and essential industry. http://www.ngia.com.au/
Parks & Leisure Australia
Parks and Leisure Australia is an association for professionals working in the Parks and Leisure sector in Australia, representing over 2500 members. http://www.parksleisure.com.au/
International Herb Association
The IHA is a professional trade association providing educational, service and development opportunities for those involved in herbal endeavours. http://www.iherb.org/
Alternative Technology Association
The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) is Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable technology and practice. http://www.ata.org.au/
The Permaculture Association
Established in 1983, The Permaculture Association is a charity that supports people all around the world to learn about and use permaculture. http://www.permaculture.org.uk/
Complementary Medicine Association
ACS is now a member of the Complementary Medical Association (CMA) in the UK. http://www.the-cma.org.uk/
ACS students in the UK and Aus can join NOW. Find out how you can be a member here .
Study Gold Coast (Australia)
SGC is the peak industry body for the education and training industry on the Gold Coast. www.studygoldcoast.org.au

Will these courses help me secure employment?

Yes - they are developed with that in mind!

But employability is affected by many things ....  by what you learn through studies, life experiences and the development of core skills; rather than any qualifications.



Use our free career and course counselling service to speak with one of our specialist staff about recognition and what it means to you.