Design Your Own Course

The ACS Distance Education offers around 500 short courses or modules (usually around 100 hours in duration). These modules can be taken as stand alone courses, or they can be combined to create a formal qualification that meets your own very specific needs or interests.

QUALIFICATIONS AVAILABLE

Proficiency Award (Prof.Awd.)
A proficiency award is a specialist qualification, for people who already have a “foundation” knowledge of a subject; but who wish to undertake limited specialist study in that field. This award allows you to attain a formal qualification without needing to make as much of a commitment as a full certificate.
Requires: 3 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 300 hours).
Plus 200 hours of work experience or industry meetings.

Prerequisites: A reputable certificate or higher qualification; or significant industry experience which demonstrates a foundation knowledge in the subject; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information).
This qualification is not accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council, though it’s modules can be used as credits toward higher, accredited qualifications

Certificate (Cert.)
This would be generally considered equal to or higher than a trade level qualification.
Requires: 6 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 600 hours)
Prerequisites: Year 10; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 9; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information).
This award is accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.

Advanced Certificate (Adv.Cert.)
This would normally be considered equal to, or higher than a supervisory qualification.
Requires: 8 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 800 hours)
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings

Prerequisites: Year 11; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 10; or a reputable certificate; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information)
This qualification is accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.

Foundation Diploma

This would normally be considered equal to, or higher than a primary professional qualification.

Requires: 10 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 1,000 hours) 

The combination of modules should be predominantly ones beginning with B in the course code; which generally designates a higher academic level of study. 

Prerequisites: Year 12; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 11; or a reputable certificate; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information)

Associate Diploma (Assoc.Dip.)

This would normally be considered appropriate training for lower levels of management or technician training.

Requires: 14 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 1400 hours)
Normally including Research Project I
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings
Prerequisites: Year 12, or 1 year of full time work following year 11; or a reputable certificate; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information).
This qualification is accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.

Diploma (Dip.)
This would normally be considered a management or professional qualification.
Requires: 20 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 2000 hours)
Normally including Research Project I and II
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings

Prerequisites: Year 12; or a reputable certificate; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information)
This qualification is accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.

Advanced Diploma (Adv.Dip.)
This may in some situations be considered similar to a foundation degree or associate degree.
Requires: 24 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 2400 hours)
Normally including Research Projects I, II and III
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings
Prerequisites: Year 12; or a reputable certificate (of 600 hrs); or over 21 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information)
This qualification is accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.


SUMMARY OF DESIGN YOUR OWN QUALIFICATIONS

Proficiency Award Certificate Advanced Certificate Associate Diploma Diploma Advanced Diploma
Duration 500 hours 600-700 hours 700-900 hours 1500 hours 2100 hours 2650 hours
Requirements 3 modules; plus 200 hours of work experience or industry meetings. 6 modules. 8 modules; plus 100 hours of industry meetings. 14 modules, normally including Research Project I; plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings. 20 modules, normally including Research Project I and II; plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings. 24 modules, normally including Research Projects I, II and III; plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings.
Pre-requisites A reputable certificate or higher qualification; or significant industry experience which demonstrates a foundation knowledge in the subject; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent. Year 10; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 9; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent. Year 11; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 10; or a reputable certificate; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent. Year 12, or 1 year of full time work following year 11; or a reputable certificate; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent. Year 12; or a reputable certificate; or over 21 years of age; or equivalent. Year 12; or a reputable certificate (of 600 hrs); or over 21years of age; or equivalent.
Fee Code PA CT AC AS DI AD
Accreditation Not accredited Accredited through I.A.R.C. Accredited through I.A.R.C. Accredited through I.A.R.C. Accredited through I.A.R.C. Accredited through I.A.R.C.


ASSESSMENT

Standard Modules (100 hrs duration) have assignments (normally one per lesson), and one exam on completion of all assignment. All assignments, plus the exam must be satisfactorily completed, in order to gain a module credit (or pass). Special circumstances including overall interaction with tutors throughout the course are always taken into account for borderline cases. People who fail are given opportunity to reapply and sit a supplementary exam. Exam fees are additional to course fees.

Project and Research Work:  Non Standard Modules such as Research Projects, Workplace Projects, Workshops and Industry meetings do not have an exam, but adequate and academically sound proof of completion of required work must be produced in order to achieve a pass in such modules

Non Standard Certificates Courses:  A few courses have different requirements; for example a Certificate in Garden Design involves a set 30 lessons, rather than 6 modules. This certificate has only 4 exams for the entire certificate rather than the usual six.

 

EXAMS

Exams are compuslory for Proficiency Awards, Certificates and above.  Student enrolling in single modules may elect to sit an exam or not.  To read more about exams please view our exam information page under enrolment.

Exam Fees: please see fee schedule for exam fees.

A SELECTION OF SUBJECTS/MODULES AND WORK EXPERIENCE AVAILABLE

Standard ACS Modules
Any short course of 100 hrs duration, offered by ACS, where the course code begins with "B" or "V"; can be included in any of the above qualifications. Most can be studied eith using online downloads, or working off a CD, which we send to you.

Exceptions are courses designated specifically as “hobby courses”, or as not being relevant to a commercial situation. These include: Landscaping Home Gardens, Home Garden Expert Course, Home Vegetable Growing, Home Fruit Growing, Herbs (basic Course), Efficient Writing, Hobby Photography.

Industry Meetings
To meet this requirement, the student must attend meetings such as conferences, seminars, trade shows, exhibitions, study tours, committee meetings, or any other industry events which might be considered as contributing toward their awareness and education of industry. Proof must be shown of attendance. This may be in the form of references or letters from the organisers of the event, by supplying a written report and photographs; or by any other reasonable method.

Work Experience
This must be shown to be both relevant to the qualification; and a valuable learning experience. Work that is menial or unchallenging may not be approved. A reference from an employer, client or colleague must be supplied, describing both the nature and duration of the work.

Research Projects
Research Projects I, II and III are generic100 hour modules. Each module involves some formal studies to learn about research methods and techniques, followed by conducting some real research into a subject relevant to the discipline being studied.


APPROVAL CRITERIA
Your selection of modules must satisfy the following broad criteria:

  • The structured course must be seen to be teaching new knowledge and skills. Modules will not be approved where the student has undertaken similar studies in the same subject area elsewhere in the recent past (within 5 years). ACS does have a program whereby we will recognise your previous studies for credit towards one of qualifications (see below), but obviously studying the same material again is of little help to the student.
  • Modules selected must not cover the same topics excessively (eg. Introduction to Computers and Computer Studies I are both introductory computing courses. Both would not be allowed; Agricultural and Horticultural Soil Management are too close to each other).
  • For Advanced Certificates and lower qualifications, all modules must bear a relationship to the title of the qualification.
  • For Associate Diplomas and above, 75% of modules selected must bear a relationship to the tile of the qualification (ie. 25% can be non related electives).
  • The selected combination must make sense, and have purpose.


EXEMPTIONS
ACS has a program whereby students can apply for credit towards our qualifications based upon previous studies or relevant experience. Credit may be granted on the basis of:
  • Past studies in a similar subject area. We will not grant more than 33% of a qualification on the basis of studies which have been used to gain credit in this or another institution
  • Work experience, which can be proven to be significant and accurate, in it’s learning value. This proof may be verified through reputable references; or alternatively through sitting an examination, for which a fee, double that of the normal exam fee, will apply.
  • Not more than 66% of any ACS qualification will be granted by exemptions (ie: both study and work experience) should ever be credited this way; and rarely more than 50% if the case is exceptional.

ENROLMENT APPLICATION PROCEDURE
Enrol in the same way that you would enrol for any other course, writing “Design your own ….” where you are asked what to enrol in. Attach an explanatory letter to your enrolment form (or email us a letter as soon as you send the enrolment form). The letter should list the combination of modules, which you seek approval to study. Your combination needs to be approved by a tutor, before the enrolment is accepted. If one or more subjects are not acceptable, the tutor will suggest other options. If you are applying for exemptions based on prior work experience and/or study, then you will need to request an application for Recognition of Prior Learning from the School. This RPL form will need to be processed before your course program is approved. The enrolment will not be processed until you consider and accept any proposed options.

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