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Duration (approx) 700 hours
Qualification Certificate

Distance Learning Horticulture Certificate

This certificate provides a solid introduction to those looking to a career in horticulture.

  • A specialist qualification for anyone working, or interested in working, in horticulture.
  • Develop knowledge of how to be a successful horticulturalist.
  • Improve your job and career prospects.
  • Study in your own time and at your own pace.
  • Highly qualified and experienced tutors.

It's easy to enrol...

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An Exceptional Learning Experience to Begin a Career in Horticulture

  • Knowledgeable and skilled horticulturists are, and always will be, in high demand. 
  • At 700 hours of study, this certificate is much more detailed than typical horticulture certificates at many colleges.
  • It is broad based - and that makes you more able to adapt to changes in demand that occur across the industry throughout your career. e.g. When opportunities and rewards are better, you can move from crop production, to landscaping, or nursery to turf industries, far easier (even if you have specialised in a particular area; you will have studied enough of everything, to be prepared to adapt to new opportunities). 

This certificate provides a solid introduction to those looking to a career in horticulture. There are two parts to this certificate:

This is an excellent start to a career in horticulture. It provides specialised training for employment in the horticultural industry, and at a level which other certificates unfortunately don’t always attain in today’s world. Graduates of this course have in the past been extremely successful in finding employment or developing businesses in horticulture.

STUDENT COMMENT: " I really appreciate Gavin's (tutor) comments and look forward to receiving the feedback from him."  - Nadine

A. CORE UNITS - to develop broad general skills in horticultural practices, and plant knowledge. All students undertaking this certificate will complete these units. The core units comprise approximately 50% of the course content. The core units consist of the following lessons:

  1. Introduction To Plants
  2. Parts of the Plant
  3. Plant Culture - Planting
  4. Plant Culture - Pruning
  5. Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery I
  6. Soils and Media
  7. Soils and Nutrition
  8. Seeds and Cuttings
  9. Other Techniques
  10. ID and Use of Plants - Landscape Application
  11. ID and Use of Plants - Problems
  12. ID and Use of Plants - Indoor/tropical plants
  13. Pests
  14. Diseases
  15. Weeds

B. STREAM UNITS - to develop specific skills in one specialised area of horticulture. This comprises the  remainder (approximately 50%) of the course. Stream units are currently available in the following areas.

Choose one from the following list.

Organic Plant Growing

Ornamental Horticulture

Landscaping and Garden Design


Cut Flowers

Grounds Management


Horticultural Technology

Nature Park Management


Plant Protection





Exams:   There are two exams for the core. There are a further 2, or 3 exams for the stream, depending upon which stream you choose to do.

Fee Payment Options

You can pay either

  • Full Fees
  • As a two part payment plan
  • As a four part payment plan

If you pay in full on enrolment, the fees are discounted.

If you pay in 2 parts, the first half of the course is supplied initially; and the second part payment is not made until you have completed the first half (at which time the second half of the course is supplied).

If you pay in 4 parts, the first half is still supplied; you are then billed a second payment (due 2 months later). The third payment becomes due when you commence the second half of the certificate.The fourth part is due 2 months after that.

The opportunities available to work in horticulture are immense; from developing and caring for gardens and sports grounds, to producing crops or propagating young plants. Some who take this course may find work in self employment and others will work for others. Some will work in a very hands on capacity, in gardens or on farms; but others may grow their knowledge to become managers, educators, writers, consultants or even horticultural scientists.

When you are in charge of starting a new garden from scratch, it's easier to develop the garden for low maintenance. The main rule to follow is "think things over carefully" before doing anything.
Plan the garden out on paper before starting any construction, then make up a list of what maintenance tasks might need to be done on a routine basis. Once this list is completed study it carefully to see if there are any ways you can reduce the amount of maintenance work required. Often the best remedy is to modify your proposed design. Even small changes to your design can have a major effect on how much maintenance you will have to do.

Good preparation of your site prior to planting out the garden is also worthwhile. A little work at this stage will save a lot of work in the long term, in particular providing for good drainage, improving your soil structure and fertility, installing irrigation systems, and good base preparation for paving and other constructed designed surfaces.

Established gardens are sometimes quite difficult to maintain, particularly if they have been developed bit by bit with no set plan. Those who have purchased a house with an already established garden are often confronted with a legacy of poor design, or a style of garden that isn't quite what you want. The existing layout and features may be a maintenance headache, and the cost of changing or removing them may be very expensive, for example, a large old tree which drops lots of leaves, suffers from wood rot, and creates shade which makes growing other plants difficult. It can sometimes cost thousands of dollars to remove such trees if they are in difficult places.

If you are working on an old garden, before attempting to change anything, look carefully at which aspects of the garden require the majority of the maintenance work, and then consider the changes which you might be able to make to reduce that maintenance requirement. For the best long term result you might need to be ruthless. Just remember, it is better to have a garden which has a little less of what you like but is well maintained than a garden which has everything you like, but is rapidly deteriorating, or is hard to maintain in good condition.

Horticulture produces a lot of the things we use in our day to day living; from fruit, vegetables and other foods we eat, to oils, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals that go into making everything from soaps to cosmetics and medicines.Production horticulture also grows plants in plant nurseries, to supply farmers, foresters, land managers and home owners.


This course is the perfect starting point for anyone wishing to work in horticulture. The core studies provide a solid foundation in horticulture principles and practices, and the stream studies give you a chance to specialise in your preferred field. It is the ideal learning experience between higher level studies and introductory modules. Students will develop sufficient knowledge and skills to make them desirable to employers. The course is suited to a wide range of careers including those wishing to work in the following areas:

  • General horticulture
  • Parks & gardens
  • Garden maintenance
  • Soft landscaping
  • Garden centres
  • Nursery & propagation
  • Cut flower industry
  • Crops
  • Green keeping & lawn care


All ACS Distance Education courses are studied by distance learning and are available to start at any time.

Practical and Problem Based Learning exercises feature in many of our courses. All students receive personal assignment feedback and support where required from our excellent tutors.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, get in touch with our specialist Horticulture tutors today. They will be pleased to answer your questions and discuss the different study options available to meet your goals.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Marie Beerman B.Sc.,M.Hort.Marie has been involved in horticulture since 2003. She completed a Masters degree in Horticulture at Hannover University in Germany in 2007, and has worked with ACS since 2011 She has co-authored of several ebooks including one on Roses and has a very sound knowledge and experience with horticultural science and research ranging from plant taxonomy and plant breeding to pest, disease and soil management.,
John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.

Check out our eBooks

Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
Garden Design Part 1The Garden Design ebook part 1 is an essential handbook for students and landscape professionals. A foundation guide to garden design, this book provides stunning full illustrations to demonstrate tips and examples on garden design, functional uses and aesthetics. Some topics that are covered in this ebook include 1/ Introduction to Garden Design, 2/ Appropriateness of garden design, 3/ Creating an impact, 4/ Designing to a budget, 5/ Choosing plants, 6/ Using the garden, 7/ Where the garden meets the house, 8/ Making the winter garden more comfortable, 9/ Gardens for children, 10/The secure home and garden, 11/ Lighting a garden, 12/ Dealing with shade, 13/ Garden Art, 14/ Pots and planters, 15/ Colour in the garden, 16/ Applications for colour and 17/ Garden furniture.
Trees & Shrubs for Small GardensTurn even the smallest space into a great place. This e-book is an essential guide for any gardener who wants to make the most of a small garden, balcony, verandah or courtyard.
Plant Pests & DiseasesAre you one of those people that kill every plant you touch? Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's a pest or disease. A little bit of reading might just turn your garden into an oasis. Learn how to identify pests and diseases and bring the spring back into your plant...visit the bookshop to find out more...