Certificate in Commercial Hydroponics

Study commercial hydroponics online. Learn all about hydroponics systems, designs, and applications. Select from a wide range of elective modules to tailor your learning to your own specific areas of interest.

Course Code: VHT089
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Train for a career in commercial hydroponics!

 

This course covers all aspects of hydroponics in the core studies. In the elective studies, students can choose from a wide range of elective modules to tailor their learning to their own specific areas of interest.

This is an in-depth qualification suitable for hydroponic growers, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, and consultants.

 

  • Develop your knowledge in hydroponics systems, designs, and applications
  • Learn how set up hydroponic systems
  • Learn how to grow crops using hydroponics
  • Learn about nutrient use in hydroponic systems
  • Learn how to manage hydroponic systems and equipment
  • Learn about approaches to pest and weed control
  • Understand the methods of irrigation

 

Modules

Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Commercial Hydroponics.
 Hydroponic Management (Hydroponics II) BHT213
 Hydroponics I BHT224
 Hydroponics III BHT321
 
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 12 modules.
 Growing Carnations VHT110
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Culinary Herbs VHT242
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Green Walls and Roofs BHT256
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Orchid Culture BHT232
 Roses BHT231
 Aquaponic Production BHT319
 Berry Production BHT309
 Irrigation Management (Agricultural) BAG303
 Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
 

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


THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL

Amateur hydroponics may get away with a little guess work; after all, when growing for yourself, it won't matter that much if you have a little or a lot of excess produce 

For a commercial operation though; optimum production may be the difference between profit and loss.

There are many things that can impact on productivity, but one of the most important is to properly manage nutrient levels.

Solution Analysis

How well a nutrient formulation performs in any given hydroponic systems depends on plant nutrient uptake, the suitability and balance of the formulation chosen, and the accuracy of weighing up the fertilizer salts and subsequent dilution for use. Most commercial growers carry out a process of regular nutrient solution analysis either on site with their own equipment or by sending solution samples to an agricultural lab. This analysis shows levels of each element in ppm, which can be compared back to the values provided in the original formulation. Any differences can be adjusted for so that the formulation often changes over time as required. 
 
To collect samples of nutrient solution for lab analysis is relatively simple, but must be carried out correctly so that contamination does not occur and so that the sample is representative of the crop. Solution samples from recirculating systems such as NFT are easy to collect and just require a bottle of solution to be taken from the nutrient tank and sent off to the lab as soon as possible. The sample bottle should be clean and rinsed with solution before filling. For hydroponic substrate solutions, collecting a sample of nutrient solution requires a shallow container to be placed under a number of separate growing containers/bags/slabs to collect the nutrient drainage (or leachate) solution which flows from the base of the substrate at each irrigation cycle. This drainage sample or leachate solution is collected from several plants around the system and mixed to give a representative sample before being sent off to the lab. Lab analysis of nutrient samples test for the following parameters:

  • pH, EC, NO3, NH4, Ca, Mg, P, K, S, Na, Cl, Fe, Mn, B, Cu, Zn,
  • some labs may also test for Mo and Al.  

As with water supply, these may be expressed in units of ppm, mg/l, mEq or mmol/l depending on the lab reporting system.  

Once the nutrient solution analysis has been returned from the lab, this information can be used to make any adjustments required to the nutrient formulation. This allows adjustment of nutrient ratios, corrections of deficiencies, or allows for reductions in the levels of elements which may have been accumulating over time. Nutrient solution testing can also show up other problems such as the build-up of elements from the water supply (sodium in particular) or from the use of pH correction chemicals. In recirculating systems such as NFT, nutrient testing is a particularly valuable tool as it helps determine how long the solution can be run in the system before it becomes so out of balance that the solution must be replaced.

 

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.

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If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

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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.

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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.

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

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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 $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) 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.

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Course Contributors

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





Tutors

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

Jacinda Cole

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Parita Shah

Parita has a Masters Degree in Horticulture specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic crops and Organic farming. She has worked as a freelance consultant, and in an Avocado nursery in NSW as grafting and preparing avocado clones.

Lynette Morgan

Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. 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.

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