Certificate in Agriculture (Self-designed)

Learn agricultural theory and practice. Improve a farm, start an agricultural service business, get a job. 600-hour, very flexible certificate.

Course Code: VAG901
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Something Unique: six modules; your choice!

You can choose any six modules from those available, as long as the combination makes sense and is approved by one of the school's academic staff.

To enrol in a self designed 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, letter 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.


Module-based courses: Standard modules within a course have assignments (normally one per lesson) and one exam on completion of the module. All assignments and the exam must be satisfactorily completed in order to pass the module.

Note: Exam fees are in addition to the course cost and are paid at the time the exam is undertaken.

Lesson-based courses: Have different exam requirements. Please inquire about these when you enrol in these courses.

Projects and Research Modules: No exams apply.

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


Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 6 of the following 34 modules.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Carpentry BSS100
 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 Diseases BAG219
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Engineering II - Engineering Applications BSC205
 Goat Production BAG223
 Horse Care II BAG204
 Irrigation -- Agricultural Irrigation BAG213
 Irrigation - Crops BHT204
 Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Pigs BAG209
 Poultry BAG208
 Sheep BAG210
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Agronomy BAG306
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Aquaponic Production BHT319
 Horse Care III BAG302
 Organic Farming BAG305

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


Opportunities exist for work both on a farm, and among businesses that supply goods and services to farms.
This certificate can greatly improve your capacity to work better and be more productive in either situation.
Here are just a couple of examples of what an on farm job might be like:-


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 for Farm Managers

  • 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 Contractor

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.

Other related jobs

  • Farm Hand
  • Veterinarian
  • Wildlife Officer
  • Horticulturist
  • Machinery Operator/Tractor Driver
  • Consultant
  • Organic Farmer
  • Permaculture/self-sustainability
  • Farm Supplier
  • Small Business Owner
  • Consultant


Are you looking for a lifestyle change as well as a career change?  Working as a farm hand can be physically demanding but very rewarding.  If you enjoy working outdoors or with animals, but have minimal experience, then this could be the job for you

Typical Jobs for a Farm Hand:

  • looking after animals
  • handyman work
  • checking feed and water
  • cleaning paddocks
  • cleaning stables, barns, sheds, stock yards
  • repairing fences
  • weed control
  • driving machinery (plowing, etc)

As this is a start level job, the remuneration can be quite low.  It will vary however, depending on the size of the farm and responsibilities involved in the job.  On larger farms there is room for advancement eg. Herd Manager.  This would require some experience in the field and possibly some training (eg. Certificate in Agriculture), but remuneration increases significantly with increased responsibility.

Risks and challenges
The viability of any agricultural enterprise is dependent upon external factors such 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.

As work can also be seasonal (depending on the type of farming) there may not be a lot of job security for farm hands.  It is a good idea to do some research on the type of farming available and your strengths before applying for work.

How to become a Farm Hand
Employers generally seek honest and reliable workers. Some experience or knowledge, a driver's license  and your own transport will be necessary to get employed. If it is an animal farm, you also need to be at ease working with animals.

Study a different combination of modules or a different course. Be sure to only study courses that enhance your ability to think laterally -something that is critical for success in research.
This will also show that you are committed to the job and are looking to move forward the industry.  Employers like to see this in their employees, it also is a sign of stability.

Other related jobs

  • Farm Manager
  • Machinery Operator/Tractor Driver
  • Gardener
  • Land Care Officer
  • Handyman
  • Agricultural Sales Officer
  • Organic farmer/permaculture
  • Contract Worker

If this type of work interests you then this course could be an excellent program for you to follow; it allows you to choose areas of interest that best suit your current gaols and also your future aspirations. This can also be viewed as a beginning - you can add on units later if you decide that you want to further expand your qualifications.
This course will cater to your needs and not skimp on the fundamental knowledge needed to be successful in farming.

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.

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 in your selected discipline. 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 login.training 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 (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a 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 acs@oamps.com.au.

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 (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au 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 ( admin@acs.edu.au ).

Course Contributors

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

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.

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.

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.


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

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.

Melissa Leistra

Melissa has a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition from Deakin University and Bachelor's degree specialising in personal development, health and physical education. She has enjoyed teaching Hospitality in the areas of commercial cookery and food and beverage. Her experience includes 16 years teaching health and nutrition and working in the hospitality industry. Melissa enjoys living a self-sustainable lifestyle on a farm and raising all types of animals. She is an experienced vegetarian/vegan cook and loves to create wholesome food using her slow combustion wood stove.

Yvonne Sharpe

Over 30 years of experience in horticulture, education and management, Yvonne has travelled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

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