Advanced Certificate in Health Science

Learn human biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and nutrition as a foundation for working in health care, support roles or administration.

Course Code: VSC031
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Understand the Science Behind Human Health

Science has so many branches that the more you know about one area, the more you realise you don't know about others.

This course focuses on the science behind our physical bodies and the bi0olgical and chemical processes which take place in them. There is also some leeway to choose electives which suit your specific goals and learning needs, so you can complement your core studies with some psychology oriented modules if you wish to.

Learn the skills for a successful career in health

Through the guidance and feedback of experienced professional tutors, you will increase your knowledge in science and the skills required of health service workers.  

For ongoing success, you need to become "connected".  This networking within the industry will provide the basis to remain "connected", so that you can evolve and adapt to changes as your career moves forward.

How studying with ACS can benefit your career

This may be an excellent course for people looking to enter into a career in health sciences, health support services or medical roles.

It can provide an equally sound foundation and starting point for people working as a medical receptionist, administrative officer, wellness coach or any of a wide range of other roles. 

Study this alone, or as a foundation course for more extensive learning programs.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Health Science.
 Biochemistry I (Animal and Human) BSC103
 Cell Biology BSC110
 Human Anatomy & Physiology (Human Biology 1A) BSC101
 Human Nutrition 1 BRE102
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 5 of the following 12 modules.
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
 Introduction to Psychology BPS101
 Physiology II (Human) BSC111
 Research Project I BGN102
 Biochemistry II (Plant & Animal) BSC203
 Biopsychology II BPS204
 Human Nutrition II BRE202
 Research Project II BGN201
 Wellness Coaching BPS222
 Biochemistry III (Plant Processes) BSC302
 Human Nutrition III BRE302

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


The human body is made up of chemicals and our state of well being depends very much upon what is happening with the chemicals in our body. Chemicals are absorbed through the food we eat, then change form through various chemical reactions as they move around the body. Understanding these processes helps us to understand why a person may be well or sick; and knowing about biochemistry allows us to better manage the health and well being of the individual.

Consider just one type of chemical -neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send messages within the brain to regulate our bodily and emotional functions.  Emotional behaviour or emotions can trigger the release of neurotransmitters, as can exercise.

Different types of neurotansmitters include:

Acetylcoholine (ACTH)
ACTH lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, important for memory, stress reduces the enzyme that converts choline to acetylcholine.
Vitamin B5 is needed by the body to convert choline to acetylcholine. Lecithin is also used to make choline.  Sources rich in acetylcholine include breast milk, soyabeans, fish, seaweed, oatmeal, brown rice, peas, lentils, kale and cabbage.

Improves mood, sex drive and memory. Gives us pleasure and motivation through the regular release of endorphins. People with low dopamine levels may try to compensate through sugary food, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine or other drugs, which release endorphins. Or engage in activities that release endorphins, such as gambling, exercise or work. Without B5, the body cannot provide dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, noradrenaline (norepinephrine).  

Natural pain killers released by exercise. They can also be released when we listen to music with a strong beat, according to research.

Needed for relaxation and sleep, enables us to withstand craving. People with low levels, such as addicts or alcoholics, can be tense, anxious, easily aroused to anger.


Facilitates memory retention and long term learning. A role in our tolerance to pain. GABA balances glutamate’s effect on the brain.

Noradrenaline (norepinephrine)
A hormone, acting like a neurotransmitters, released in response to low blood pressure. It enhances memory, makes us alert, gives us power and control.  

Natural tranquiliser. Relaxes us. Regulates body temperature and appetite, sets internal clock to make us sleep peacefully and contentedly. Natural counterbalance to dopamine. People with low levels of serotonin tend to become easily depressed, act rashly and aggressively.

This neurotransmitter is a recently discovered messenger molecule that plays a role in pain, depression, appetite, memory, and fertility

This course will build an understanding and appreciation of biochemistry. You will be able to understand what you see, investigate it more intelligently, and see how the knowledge of biochemistry can help to better manage a wide range of different aspects of human health.

Job Tips for a Career in Health

  • A qualification helps open doors, but it's only part of what you need.
  • Keep your options wide -this industry is always changing, as new research findings emerge and new opportunities arise, you need to be well placed to take them up.
  • Get experience, even if it is unpaid -volunteering can be a great way to get a foot in the door.
  • Join a professional body as a Student Member and get active.
  • Networking is critical - we show you how and get you started in this course. Often it's who you know as much as what you know that gets you the job.
  • Build your communication skills. This is a service industry. You need to deal with people, communicating clearly and concisely.
  • Be prepared to do anything to get started. Many successful professionals started out doing menial jobs. Consider working in allied industries at first (e.g. sales in a health food shop, reception in a clinic or a health club, fitness instructor, working for a medical supplies company, etc.). 
Why Study this learning program before moving onto a more extensive studies?
While many people do commence studies in medicine or complimentary medicine, with a serious intention of completing their course; it is common for a high proportion of students to either find the challenge more than what they anticipated; or to discover other opportunities along the way that take them along a different path.
The reality is that many medical and health science students will end up changing their ambition from being a "practitioner"; and instead become a member of the huge and diverse industry that supports practitioners. 
  • This course allows you to start along the path to being a practitioner, but keeps your options open. Under our system, you can use credits for anything already completed, and change direction, and the range of subjects you are studying, at any point along the way; and with greater ease than with most colleges.
  • If you undertake your learning program with ACS then advanced studies elsewhere; you have the advantage of studying with two different schools; gaining access to two different groups of staff, and two different collections of resource and support services. This results in a richer, more diverse, overall training -and that is attractive to employers
In recognition of the fact that career ambitions may tend to evolve over time, you may also wish to consider using your learning bundle as credit towards expanded studies in the fields of;
Graduates may find work in any of a  wide variety of situations, such as: Health support services (marketing, supply of health equipment and products), health clubs, administrative positions (eg. in a medical centre, with a physiotherapist or other allied profession, medical insurance, etc.).

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
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.

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.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.

Karen Lee

Nutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author.
BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics.
Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projects and has lectured to undergraduate university students. Has co authored two books on nutrition and several other books in health sciences.


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

Michael Brugman

Mike is a graduate of Rhodes University and has experience in the Earth Science field. His working experience includes working as a consultant in geology, environmental and atmospheric science.

More recently he has been focused on research and academia including research interests in areas such as air quality and carbon emissions.

Alison Pearce

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS Agriculture, Wildlife and Ecotourism students.

She has worked as a University Lecturer, a Quality Assurance Manager, a Research Technician, and has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures. She has worked in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

She has extensive experience of handling, husbandry, and management of a wide range of both small and large animals and has a particular love for nature and wildlife.

Lyn Quirk

Lyn has 35 years of experience in the Fitness, Health and Leisure Industries. She has a string of qualifications that are far too long to list here; being qualified and registered to teach, coach or instruct a wide range of different sports and other skills.

Lyn established and managed Health clubs at three major five star resorts on Australia's Gold Coast, including The Marriott. She was a department head for a large government vocational college (TAFE), and has conducted her own aquafitness business for many years. Lyn has among her other commitments worked as a tutor for ACS for almost 10 years, and over that time, participated in the development or upgrading of most courses in her fields of expertise.

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