Specialist Award in Agriculture

Develop specialized skills in agriculture with this program in farm practices or animal husbandry. 500 hours of distance education.

Course CodeVAG027
Fee CodePA
Duration (approx)500 hours
QualificationSpecialist Award

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY for people working in Agriculture

For people with past studies or experience who want to develop "specialist" knowledge in a particular aspect of agriculture.
  • Professional Development
  • Self paced course, start any time, study from anywhere
  • Broaden or deepen your knowledge of Agriculture
  • Improve work prospects on the farm, in farm services or related industries

A proficiency award a course of study designed for people who already hold qualifications and/or experience in the discipline. While assuming that you already have a broad understanding of agriculture, it acknowledges that you may have areas of weakness that you need to strengthen; whether that be in husbandry,marketing, management or something else. The course is designed to allow you to concentrate your studies on the areas you need to strengthen, without needing to revisit the other areas of agriculture which you have already mastered.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Specialist Award in Agriculture.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 24 modules.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Farm Management BAG104
 Horse Care I BAG102
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Animal Behaviour (Psychology of Animals) BAG203
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Dog Psychology and Training BAG221
 Goat Production BAG223
 Irrigation -- Agricultural Irrigation BAG213
 Mariculture - Marine Aquaculture BAG220
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Pigs BAG209
 Poultry BAG208
 Sheep BAG210
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Agronomy BAG306
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Horse Breeding BAG307
 Organic Farming BAG305

Note that each module in the Specialist Award in Agriculture is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Other Options

1. If this course isn't quite what you are looking for; talk to us. We can often modify a qualification to switch one or more of the modules for something different.  See how our selfdesigned courses work. Click here
2. Why are you studying? If your main goal is to get a job, study might, or might not be what you need. It pays to find out before you commit to a long program of study. We can help you find out.
  • The book "Getting a job" by our staff has been designed to help you understand the workplace, what employers look for, and how to put yourself in the best position to get a job.  Click to see details about this book.
  • Our Free Career & Course Counselling service provides a unique opportunity to communicate with a professional person from the industry you are looking to work in. Click here to make a connection.
3. If you are uncerain about committing to a big course at this stage; you might consider starting with a less demanding course. Short courses offered include: Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Animal Health, Animal Feed and Nutrition, Animal Health Care, Natural Health Care for Animals, Diagnosing Animal Diseases, Animal Behaviour, Animal Breeding, Animal Behaviour, Horse Care I, Horse Care II, Horse Care III, Equine Behaviour, Horse Breeding, Dog Psychology and Training, Cat Psychology and Training, Pet Care, Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Calf Rearing, Sheep, Pigs, Goat Husbandry, Poultry. Irrigation, Pasture Management, Agronomy, Vegetable Production, Herb Culture, Outdoor Crop Production, Aquaculture. Marine Aquaculture, Aquaponics, Cut Flower Production, Farm Management, Agricultural Marketing, Organic Farming, Sustainable Farming.


Tips for Keeping Farm Animals Healthy

The farmer needs to be familiar with the normal, vital signs of his animals, so that he can recogise signs of ill health.

The vital signs include:

  • Pulse rate
  • Respiration rate
  • Body temperature

These signs should be measured at rest.

In addition to vital signs, the farmer should continually observe the natural habits and behaviour of stock. Any changes in behaviour should be investigated immediately as it could be due to illness.

The earlier a farmer can treat sick animals, the better. Illness causes individual cells in the animal to break down and die. If treatment is started quickly, the cells can be stopped from degenerating. If treatment is delayed, the damage done by illness can be considerable, including loss of condition and irreparable organ damage.

A healthy animal will be interested in food. It will graze as normal, or in the case of penned animals, look forward to the next feed. It will drink its normal amount of water (this is easily checked with penned animals, but more difficult with animals out grazing).

Healthy animals appear bright and alert and show a normal response to humans (i.e. probably moving away as you approach if it is a grazing animal, or approaching if it is very used to human company). Brightness is most apparent in the eyes. The animal will show interest in unusual noises and sights.

The healthy animal's coat and skin will be supple and in good condition. Hair is one of the first parts of the body to register ill health, and it will also look dull if the animal is lacking some essential vitamins or minerals.

The colour of the mucous membrane is a good indicator of health, as it shows the condition of the blood. Mucous membrane is found around the eye, on the gums, inside the mouth, and at the entrance to the anus. In healthy animals, it should show a salmon pink colouring (but not vivid red).

The healthy animal will pass the normal number of droppings per day; and the droppings will be neither too loose or too dry for the type of livestock, and will be passed easily. If you press your ear to the side of the animal, you should be able to hear rumbling noises -signs that the digestive system is working. The healthy animal will also pass normal coloured urine.

Ruminants which are in good health will spend the normal number of hours chewing the cud. Healthy animals will also spend a normal number of hours resting each day.  Again, by watching the animals day-to-day, you will notice the changes that occur in the animal's habits if they do become ill.


There are many more aspects to gaining employment than what you have studied:

  • Your attitude
  • Your passion for the field of work
  • Your presentation
  • Your ability to communicate well

All of the above contribute to your success in gaining employment - emplyers look for all-rounded people.
Study can certainly help though - especially today when competition is quite fierce. Showing that you have bothered to study and gain a qualification shows an employer that you are serious abouit your chosen profession. It also makes you more able to communicate effectively about the role during an interview.

Use our free career and course counselling service.

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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
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert. For several years, Cheryl managed the distance
Alison Pearce

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS students. She has worked as a University Lecturer, has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniqu
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Animal Health
Understand health issues, disease and injury prevention, inspecting animals, differential diagnosis and common illnesses. Animals can suffer from injury, poisoning, hereditary conditions, nutritional problems and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. A
Farm Management
This new e-book looks at everything you need to improve your farm management skills. Learn about the farm site, production systems, managing livestock, managing pasture, crops, marketing and more.
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