Advanced Certificate in Professional Horticulture

Learn the application of horticulture in the garden and crop sectors. Identify plants and understand techniques and science needed for a sustainable and diverse professional career.

Course CodeVHT086
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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A Flexible Course in Professional Horticulture

Horticulture is very broad based comprising of many industry sectors - this course lets you lay the foundation for a career in Professional Horticulture without locking you into a specific sector.

This study course is a great way to put together the modules that suit your specific goals and learning needs.

Lay the foundation for a career in professional horticulture 

Why this Course?

  • This is a fully professional course with a very broad focus. 

  • Designed to learn, remember, and have a foundation that serves you for life. Too many courses today are shorter, only focused on getting you through an exam - but then you forget. A shorter course may give you a qualification; but what is the value in that if your capability to succeed at work is diminished later on.

  • Horticulture today is more changeable than ever. 

  • Be ready to change direction in your career every time opportunities change (you can't do that as effectively with shorter and more specialised qualifications).

Unlike some other horticulture study programs, this course provides an opportunity to study across a wide variety of subdisciplines within horticulture; and in doing so, that allows you to move from one industry sector to another throughout your career.

If you love horticulture and don't want to lock yourself into a career in just crops, landscaping, parks, turf or nursery .... take this course and set yourself apart from most other horticulture graduates by having a broader base of knowledge.

Study this qualification for a full and rewarding, lifelong career in the "green industries".

Choose a more diverse selection of subjects and prepare to be able to move from one industry sector to another as trends and opportunities change throughout your career. 

We have been teaching Horticulture internationally since 1979

Our staff are qualified and experienced; our courses are in depth, and our student support is strong.

ACS has a unique international reputation and offers you the opportunity to be tutored by horticulturists in both Australia and the UK; giving you a valuable international perspective on horticulture.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Professional Horticulture.
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Horticultural Research I BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Horticulture II (Plant Knowledge) BHT102
 Horticulture III (Plant Health) BHT116
 Plant Selection And Establishment BHT107
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 31 modules.
 Biochemistry I (Plants) BSC102
 Cell Biology BSC110
 Garden Maintenance VHT100
 Herb Culture BHT114
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Outdoor Plant Production (Crops I) BHT112
 Turf Care BHT104
 Biochemistry II (Plant & Animal) BSC203
 Commercial Organic Vegetable Growing VHT241
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Cutting Propagation BHT211
 Engineering II - Engineering Applications BSC205
 Fruit Production - Temperate Climate BHT218
 Garden Centre Management BHT255
 Horticultural Research II BHT241
 Nature Park Management II BEN207
 Orchid Culture BHT232
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Plant Breeding BHT236
 Plant Pathology BHT206
 Practical Horticulture 1 BHT238
 Roses BHT231
 Workshop II BGN203
 Biochemistry III (Plant Processes) BSC302
 Horticultural Therapy BHT341
 Mushroom Production BHT310
 Organic Plant Culture BHT302
 Plant Ecology BSC305
 Practical Horticulture 2 BHT323
 Water Gardening BHT307

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

The Future of Employment in Horticulture is Bright

Plants are essential to the survival of man kind.  They provide us with food, clothing, fuel, building materials and many of the other commodities that are essential to our day-to-day wellbeing.

Plants are also essential to the sustainability of our environment. They stop cities from getting too hot or too cold; they prevent land degradation, they reduce carbon pollution and they contribute to air quality.

It is an absolute certainty that there will always be work for people who know how to grow plants.

We have chosen to keep our courses longer and stronger; and in doing so; we are finding our graduates are in very strong demand. As the 1970 graduates go into retirement, we are facing a severe shortage of well trained horticulturists. With a growing population and increasing focus on issues such as sustainability and carbon pollution; one must ask....

  • Who is going to grow the plants in the future?

  • Is our capacity to grow plants well simply going to diminish?

This is professional training for a sustainable, high level career in horticulture requires much more than just passing exams - you need a course that builds your capacity to understand the science and technology, apply a high level of knowledge, think creatively, identify & know thousands of plants and be connected with industry. Our course does that! This course provides a different approach to preparing for a career - designed to give you unique skills and a unique foundation to build a sustainable business or employment.


1. Recognise where the jobs are.
Some horticulture jobs are in the public sector (ie. working for government or non profit organisations); but most are in private enterprise. If you are the sort of person who likes to be self employed; your range of opportunities may be greater. If you want to work for someone else; recognise that you may find more opportunities in private enterprise than the public sector; and work on making yourself attractive to businessmen just as much as to public service managers.

2. Recognise that training is most important for what you learn.
Sometimes, having a certificate can be important; but more often, being able to identify and grow plants is what employers and clients value more.

3. Recognise that training is only one piece of the puzzle.
Just as a car cannot run without petrol; a horticulture qualification does not  guarantee a career without experience and networking. It doesn't matter whether your experience is voluntary or paid; working for yourself, or someone else; manual labour or something more than that -any experience in horticulture is a big advantage over no experience.


We used to place one teacher with four students, all with their own equipment, and give them plenty of time to not only learn a task once; but come back and practice it time after time until it was perfect. Horticulture qualifications could involve thousands of hours of instruction, practical and theory. These things often do not happen any more. Courses are shorter, funding in government courses is tight and numbers enrolling in classroom based horticulture is diminishing.

In contrast; distance education is growing rapidly.

Ibis consulting reported in late 2009 that Online Education would be one of the fastest growing sectors in the Australian economy over 2010.

ACS Distance Education enrolments in horticulture in Australia increased last year by 21.8% on the previous 12 months Enrolments in ACS through affiliate college, Courses Direct, grew even more.

How Can Distance Education Work in Horticulture?

Think about it. The internet, video streaming, interactive self assessment tests, social networking, email and other technological innovations have made a virtual classroom experience not only possible but able to deliver services at a cost that could never be achieved face to face. In a nut shell, as technology makes distance education better and better; funding pressures have been making face to face education worse and worse.

There’s no doubt that the best learning experience happens when you place a fantastic teacher face to face with a small group of students, and give them all the time in the world to learn.
This may have happened in the 60’s and 70’s (sometimes); but in today's world, it is simply not a viable economic proposition for many colleges. Too many people need to be trained, the world is changing too fast, and government finances simply cannot cope with funding this type of education any more.

We have been exploring and refining techniques for distance learning; and doing so since 1979.

Our course does work. If you apply yourself, do the work and pass the exams; you will have the ability top identify a wide range of plants; the knowledge to understand how to grow plants in a wide range of situations, and both skills and awareness of different sectors of the industry as a foundation for building a lifelong and flexible career in the horticulture profession

How Can This Course Help Me?

Our Advanced Certificate in Professional Horticulture is the ideal program to get a career off the ground in horticulture. It opens doors that are not open to those who complete lower level courses. An intensive course like this tells employers that you have committed a lot of time and effort to your studies and that you should have a deeper level of understanding of your field of study. If you have previously studied at a basic level but are now ready to enhance your knowledge and skills then a comprehensive course in horticulture is the next logical step.

Study this course to help you get positions in:

  • Horticulture parks & gardens management

  • Head gardening

  • Landscape foreman   

  • Horticulture research

  • Horticultural marketing & sales

  • Horticulture retail management

This course is also suited to those wishing to refresh their skills as well as for personal development and growth within current businesses and work roles.


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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. J
Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
Marie Beermann

Marie has more than 10 years experience in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M. Sc. Hort., Dip. Bus., Cert. Ldscp.
Adriana Fraser

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer , teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient li