Advanced Certificate in Environmental Studies

Study practical and theoretical approaches to understanding the environment. Develop awareness of sustainability issues affecting animals and plants. Learn skills required for management roles or as an employee or subcontractor.

Course Code: VEN035
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
Get started!

Make a Difference to the Future of the Planet

Many people care about the environment but may not be in a position to do a lot to change it other than through recycling and making informed purchase choices.

There are however opportunities to work in positions here you can play a greater role in environmental decision-making and long-term outcomes.

This course is a great way to learn about key environmental issues and the science behind them. Use it as a springboard into environmental management positions and start making a difference.


Become an Environmental Officer

Do you have an interest in science, conservation and ecologically sustainable development? If so, seize the opportunity to learn more and hone your skills and knowledge.

This course will help you to:

  • Learn the skills needed to improve the quality our environment

  • Understand environmental management systems

  • Assess (audit) natural environments and the impacts on them

  • Manage environmental waste

  • Manage water

  • Manage the physical environment

This course recognises and works to develop all of these skills.


Finish the course and you could go on to be:

  • Environmental technician

  • Environmental technical officer

  • Catchment management officer

  • Environmental advisory officer

  • Consultant


This course provides students with the opportunity to develop those "in demand" skills needed for career entry and progression - without having to take time out from work or other commitments in order to study. This course also allows you the flexibility to choose from a wide range of electives so that you can tailor your course to suit your needs.

The course tutors are skilled professionals who are fully qualified in the various subject areas. In addition, they combine their qualifications with many years of actual practical experience.

We make public the qualifications and experience of all of our tutors - this way you are fully informed of their credentials.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Environmental Studies.
 Introduction To Ecology BEN101
 Conservation and Environmental Management BEN201
 Environmental Waste Management BEN202
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Research Project I BGN102
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 36 modules.
 Alternative Energy VSS102
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Ecotour Management BTR101
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Ornithology BEN102
 Soil Management (Horticulture) BHT105
 Starting A Small Business VBS101
 Vertebrate Zoology BEN104
 Bushcraft And Wilderness Activities (Survival Skills) BTR201
 Earth Science BEN204
 Event Management BRE209
 Healthy Buildings I (Building Construction & Health) BSS200
 Landscaping II BHT214
 Landscaping III (Landscaping Styles) BHT235
 Marine Studies II BEN203
 Microbiology BSC209
 Natural Garden Design BHT215
 Nature Park Management II BEN207
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Primatology (Primate Animals) BEN210
 Project Management BBS201
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Landcare Reafforestation) BHT205
 Weed Control BHT209
 Wildlife Conservation BEN206
 Advanced Permaculture BHT301
 Adventure Tourism BTR302
 Bush Tucker Plants BHT328
 Ecotourism Tour Guide Course BTR301
 Environmental Chemistry BSC306
 Healthy Buildings II (Building Environment & Health) BSS300
 Organic Farming BAG305
 Plant Ecology BSC305
 Statistics BSC304

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Environmental Studies is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What You Will Do

  • Visit, observe and undertake research into different environments
  • Practice hands on skills that are important to identifying and analysing components of environments including animals, plants, soils, etc
  • Network with industry professionals, suppliers, public and private enterprises and others who are involved in environmental and sustainability industries
  • Undertake minor and more significant reseach, developing your professional and scientific research skills
  • Develop skills that provide "real" work opportunities for environment professionals (which unfortunately are not always covered in other courses)
  • Learn to conduct and write up environmental assessments
  • Learn to work to specification when addressing environmental problems (by undertaking Problem Based Learning Projects)
  • Read, investigate, discuss, and formulate informed perceptions and opinions about a wide range of environmental concepts and ideas
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, seminars and/or conferences that are relevant to the environmental profession
  • Interact with and learn from a range of highly qualified and experienced environmental professionals who act as your tutors, either via email, phone, mail and/or in person



Climate change, species extinction, pollution, emissions trading schemes (ETS's) and "greening" economies are the catch-phrases and concerns of informed people worldwide. New employment opportunities are constantly emerging in this field but, despite this continuing growth, many graduates in the environmental sciences still find that a job eludes them. Often this is because their studies have not covered the subjects and skills which are in fact providing the employment opportunities.

Where Might this Course Lead?

Environmental management is an industry that promises a growth in opportunity over the coming decades. Despite this fact though, graduates from environmental courses do often find it difficult to gain the employment they hoped for.  One must ask why?

Having an understanding of the environment is not enough in itself, to guarantee a long term career.

Some types of environmental jobs tend to be more likely dependent upon government funding; and the availability of those jobs will increase and decrease as public funding increases and decreases. Other jobs however, are more likely to always be there, and some of those more "stable" opportunities are going to offer graduates a more secure future. Consider things such as "renewable energy", "land management", "waste management", "routine environmental assessment", "wildlife management", "teaching" and "media".

To secure a future career, you need to:

  • Undertake studies that will give you a mix of skills that will always be in demand
  • Undertake a mix of studies that will differentiate you from your competition
  • Build your networks/contacts within industry
  • Build communication and management skills. Learn to write well, and efficiently. Learn to manage projects. Learn to work to specification.

This and other ACS courses helps develop your "employability" in these and other ways; more so than some other schools.


Make Sure You Learn Environmental Assessment

Conducting environmental assessments is a significant area of employment for graduates; and yet many of the courses that have taught environmental management in the past, have not included this area of study.
This Proficiency Award has recognised that fact; and that is why this is a compulsory module.

Types of Environmental Assessment


Some environmental assessments are mandatory (required by law), while others may be optional.
Governments increasingly are requiring environmental assessments (eg. Environmental impact statements) before they will make planning decisions.
When asked to conduct an assessment, an environmental consultant may have to examine more than just the environmental or physical impacts of a development.
Consultants may need to look at the social, economic and demographic consequences of the proposal. Environmental assessments will also vary depending on which country you are in and the type of change or development that is proposed.
The following provides just some indication of the broad scope of this field.
  • Demographic Impact Assessment
  • Development Impact Assessment
  • Ecological Impact Assessment
  • Economic and Fiscal Impact Assessment
  • Environmental Audit
  • Health Impact Assessment
  • Strategic Impact Assessment
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Environmental Impact Statement
  • Environmental Risk Assessment
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Climate Impact Assessment 
Consider other types of assessment that might not be on this list.
 The environmental industry is rapidly changing! 
... if you keep your studies broad; your employment options will be more sustainable.

You don't become a competent environmental professional by undertaking quickie short courses

A solid career needs a solid foundation; and the more hours of study you do, the better your foundation.

It takes time to learn properly and embed knowledge into your mind; and it takes a properly constructed learning experience supported by capable and knowledgeable educators.

Formal education is however only part of what is needed. You also need experience, motivation, an awareness of industry opportunities, and the right attitude to take advantage of opportunities that arise.

If your studies have developed a proper foundation; you will enter the workforce with a network of contacts, an awareness of opportunities, and you will continue learning afterwards, through experience

An extensive course like this is probably going to make your career development faster, easier and more appropriate; provided you approach your career with realistic expectations.

This is the path we strive to set you on!
There are lots of opportunities in the field of Environmental Management, despite the fact that you may sometimes hear about unemployed environmental graduates. Research has indicated that often the issue of unemployment has more to do with graduates having over inflated expectations; rather than any lack of employment prospects.

What career opportunities are available?

Opportunities for people with experience in Environmental Management are vast, given that environmental considerations are an integral component of countless industries. By studying this course, you may find jobs in the following industries:

  • Environmental Assessment
  • Environmental Protection
  • Teaching
  • Resource Management
  • Alternative Energy
  • Ecotourism
  • Media
  • Consulting
  • Construction
  • Government Departments
  • Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Manufacturing
  • Utilities
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's
ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
Our Principal John Mason, was awarded a fellowship by the Australian Institute of Horticulture in 2010
Our Principal John Mason, was awarded a fellowship by the Australian Institute of Horticulture in 2010
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason has been a member of the International Scociety of Horticultural Science since 2003
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason has been a member of the International Scociety of Horticultural Science since 2003
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( ).

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner.
John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams BSc (Hons), PgDip Eng, MSc, CEng MIET, CMgr FCMI

Andrew has extensive experience across the engineering and building services industries, with specialisms in refrigeration and energy management, with professional recognition as both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Manager.

This experience includes working in consulting and leadership roles right through to being hands on to deliver projects and outcomes for large scale organisations and within startup and scale up environments.

He has adapted his experience to integrate with new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow for a data driven perspective to be applied to problem solving and is actively using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to solve real world problems.

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practicing environmental and agricultural lawyer. She holds a PhD in International Environmental Law, LLM, BLJS, GDLP, LLM (Environmental Law) and a Master of Applied Science (Agriculture).
Julia started out in agriculture working on various dairy farms in the 1980s before working as dairy manager / tutor at Hawkesbury Agricultural College Richmond NSW. Julia then went on to work at Riverina Artificial Breeders at Tabletop (Albury) NSW as an embryo transfer technician assisting vets with artificial breeding and embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and deer. This was followed by two years as a herd manager for a very large commercial dairy herd milking 3,000 cows over three dairies on the outskirts of Sydney before heading overseas. In 1994 Julia accepted a position in NE Thailand at the Sakhon Nakhon Institute of Technology (now a University) training farmers and students in cattle breeding and dairy farm management. On returning to Australia in late 1996 Julia completed a Master of Applied Science in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (UWS) as well as law degrees and maritime studies. Julia now works as a Lawyer in the area of environmental and rural law.
Currently Julia teaches a variety of maritime subjects for Marine Rescue NSW.
As well as teaching Julia is working on a number of environmental research projects.

Graham Anderson

Graham Anderson B. Mech Eng (hons) Dip. Health

Graham has spent his life in the farming and agriculture industry, particularly carving a niche in the avocado sector with experience ranging from tissue culture, to nursery management to fruit marketing. He has an engineering qualification and an extensive range of mechanical skills which are now diversifying to an understanding of our internal mechanics in health and psychology with qualifications underway.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.