Advanced Certificate in Farming (Self-designed)

Learn farming online. Choose from lots of different modules to create a unique study combination that sets you apart from other graduates, and give yourself a career edge.

Course Code: BAG902
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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  • Choose the subjects you want to study
  • Study at home, as fast or slow as you want
  • Start any time, take breaks when you need to
You can choose any eight modules from those available, as long as the combination makes sense and is approved by the school's academic staff.

To enrol in a self designed advanced certificate, you must first determine at the subjects you will take. This is usually done by contacting the school and discussing this with an academic staff member (by email or phone). Choose any combination of  agriculture modules. You may even include one or two modules from outside of our agriculture list provided that they are relevant to the broad area of study, or can be readily justified as relevant to your particular situation.

Once your subjects have been determined and approved, you will be issued with a unique Course Code. Supply this code, the course title and the name of the tutor (or staff member) who approved the course when you enrol.

You may enrol via any of the following methods:

  • Use the shopping trolley on this page to enrol
  • Phone the school
  • Submit an enrolment form by post or fax
  • Use the Custom Payment section


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Farming (Self-designed).
 Industry Project I BIP000
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 8 of the following 32 modules.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Dog Care BAG105
 Engineering I - Machinery & Equipment BSC105
 Farm Management BAG104
 Horse Care I BAG102
 Outdoor Plant Production (Crops I) BHT112
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Equine Behaviour BAG216
 Goat Production BAG223
 Horse Care II BAG204
 Irrigation - Crops BHT204
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Poultry BAG208
 Sheep BAG210
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Trees For Rehabilitation BHT205
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Agronomy BAG306
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Aquaponic Production BHT319
 Horse Breeding BAG307
 Horse Care III BAG302
 Irrigation Management (Agricultural) BAG303
 Organic Farming BAG305

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Farming (Self-designed) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


The world is changing faster than ever, particularly the introduction of new technologies, and there are implications for every industry, including farming.  If you are to be successful in farming today, and into the future, you must learn to adapt to these changes. The way to succeed today will be different from the way to succeed in the past, just as the way to succeed in the future will be different from the way you might succeed today. 

 While it is still important to learn from the “way we’ve always done things”, it is even more important to face up to new challenges, and to embrace new opportunities.

Growing good produce was once sufficient for most farmers to make a profitable living - but not anymore.  Catch phrases such as value adding and multi-skilling are common to us all now, but what exactly do they mean? What about just being good at one thing, or the concept of creating a core business?  Where do we go from here?

The farm business, just like any other, must learn to take calculated risks.  But risk taking should always be based on thorough knowledge, thorough planning and thorough preparation.

To look at what range of business opportunities are available, we must first look at where rural industries have been and where they are going.


In the past, a farmers market was frequently local, with most competition coming from the local area or state, or perhaps within the country.  Markets are now international, competition can come from anywhere in the world, including from places where labour costs are very low.  But just as competition has increased, so have opportunities.  It is now realistic to look at overseas markets, as well as still cater for local markets.

There is no real secret to success.  It is a combination of factors including hard work, tenacity, ongoing education, adapting to change, and yes, a certain amount of luck.  But mostly, success in any field is about being aware and taking advantage of your own skills, resources and knowledge. Many highly successful people will tell you they were just “in the right place at the right time”.  Being in the right place, though, is often due to knowing what is happening and being there to take advantage when it does happen.  Most successful farms are those that are:
  • Always prepared to change.
  • Know their strengths and weaknesses, both personally and professionally.

Some policies that you can adopt are:

  • Plan ahead and always have contingency plans in place.
  • It is not what you have (money, facilities, assets etc) it is how you use it.
  • Understand the limitations of your farming system and seek ways to improve these
  • Always be different - try to think laterally.
  • Look at ways to add value before your product hits the market
  • Know what your business is.
  • Give people a reason to spend money with you rather than with someone else.
  • Take risks


Farm managers are responsible for the overall day to day operation of the farm; and the level of responsibility and complexity of that job can be variable according to the size and scope of operation involved.
Some farms may employ only a handful of part time staff, whereas others can be very large scale operations with scores of employees.
The farm manager of a smaller property can be very much a hands on position, working in the paddocks tending to animals or crops, undertaking repair and improvement work to facilities and directing other staff and contractors.  The farm manager on a larger property may be more involved in management and coordination of employees, with less hands-on work.

Many farm managers are self employed, and others are employed by the farm owner to manage their farm.  Many companies which sell agricultural products such as fruit and vegetables and animal products purchase farms to increase their profits, thus requiring the employment of a farm manager.
Typical Jobs:
  • Ordering equipment and supplies
  • Planning work programs
  • Directing staff (and contractors)
  • Managing the maintenance of facilities and equipment
  • Managing stock levels and quality
  • Managing animal or crop health/condition
  • Budget control
  • Record keeping
  • Staff training
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Farm Contracting

Environmental factors such as droughts can affect the remuneration level within the agriculture industry.  When times are good, work opportunity and remuneration can be good in this industry, however, often times are not so good which can reduce the remuneration levels available to farm managers. 

In some areas within the industry there is much less vulnerability for farm managers, so it is worth doing your research beforehand before applying for a position. 

Risks and challenges
Stress levels and risk in this industry can be high due to such external factors as weather (drought, flood) and markets (supply and demand; both local and overseas prices). When times are good, work opportunity and remuneration can be good; but when times are bad, the workplace can become more stressful and opportunities less certain. Enterprises that are less susceptible to such fluctuations are likely to be more secure, less stressful and offer more opportunity for advancements. This varies depending upon the type of farm, and the financial position of the employer.

How to become a Farm Manager
Experience and knowledge are invaluable qualities in a successful farm manager.  Some farm managers may not have a desirable length of experience in the field but may have acquired invaluable knowledge to gain employment.
If you are thinking of gaining some knowledge in the industry it is worthwhile to study a different combination of modules or varied course. Be sure to only study courses that enhance your ability to think laterally -something that is critical for success in research.
You may also wish to gain more experience in the field before moving into the position of farm manager. This may mean working as an assistant to a farm manager.  This will give you invaluable skills and knowledge to move up in the industry.


If you are running your own farm, or would like to move into a management position within the farming industry, it will give you the much needed background information on all aspects of farm management - from stock management through to pasture and importantly farm business management. A course such as this sets the 'farm hand' apart from the 'farming professional'.

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.
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.
Long-term member since 1986.
Long-term member since 1986.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
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.

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Course Contributors

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

Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.
Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.


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

Tamar Michaelian

Tamar has worked extensively across the environmental sector gaining valuable practical and theoretical knowledge in native animal husbandry, including capture, management and ongoing care; identification of both native and invasive flora and fauna species; and, venomous snake and reptile handling. She has found particular passion for Biosecurity and Human-wildlife Conflict based issues.

Having worked in Environmental Consulting, for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and for the University of Queensland, highlights of Tamar’s career include her work supporting peri-urban wild dog management and conducting research on zoonotic and cat-specific diseases, important to human and companion animal health, in unowned cats. Tamar has attained multiple academic awards for her work and continues to thrive across the Environmental and Wildlife Science sectors.

Kerry Claydon

BA-BSc (Psychology, Computer Science, Aquaculture), BSc (Hons Microbiology), PhD (Microbiology), Diploma in Brewing Science

Kerry has over 20 years’ experience in various fields of microbiology including aquatic microbiology, medical microbiology, agricultural microbiology, and brewing microbiology. Kerry has been the Director of several health programs within Australian and Asia and is a passionate teacher and tutor.

Sarah Pirecki

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

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