Advanced Certificate in Professional Horticulture

Course CodeVHT086
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Up-skill to be a better, more Professional Horticulturist

Professional horticulturists are a varied bunch. They may be horticultural business owners growing produce, managing a nursery or running a garden service business; or they might be a teacher, consultant or work in the horticultural media.

Whatever your final destination though, decisions you make today always affect opportunities that emerge tomorrow. There are an infinite number of choices you may make about your career path; and an infinite number of paths you can set yourself on. 

  • Some of the early decisions you make can either develop a broad foundation, preserving your ability to move from one sector of horticulture to another, as your career progresses.
  • Sometimes early decisions seem good at the time, but may set you on a course to become too much of a specialist; and in doing so, limit your ability to move to other sectors of horticulture if your area of specialisation no longer offers good work opportunities.
  • Some paths are easier to get a start with than others.
  • Often getting a start in any area of horticulture is the most difficult thing. Many of the industry’s most successful professionals may start out in a lowly job, in a sector that is not their first choice; but having got a start, and with some experience behind them, they find opportunities to move up and into other industry sectors are far easier to find.
  • Many people do not appreciate is that most paths have many different entry points, and getting started is never as simple as just getting the right qualification. In this industry, studies are only as good as the knowledge and skills they give you; and even knowledge and skills are not going to get you into a good career, if you do not have the right attitude, persistence and a little luck.

The first and most important step in finding a satisfying career path is to get started in the workplace. Get a job, any job, as soon as you can. It doesn’t matter too much what your first job is. It might be pulling weeds or mowing lawns or picking fruit. It doesn’t even need to be paid. It may even be a volunteer job with a conservation or land care group. Anything that gets you some experience is a move in the right direction.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Professional Horticulture.
 Botany I BSC104
 Horticultural Research A BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Plant Health (Horticulture III) BHT116
 Plant Identification and Knowledge (Horticulture II) BHT102
 Plant Selection And Establishment BHT107
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 21 modules.
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Crops I (Outdoor Plant Production) BHT112
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Amenity Horticulture I BHT234
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Cutting Propagation BHT211
 Green Walls and Roofs BHT256
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Hydroponic Management - Hydroponics II BHT213
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Seed Propagation BHT237
 Biophilic Landscaping BHT343
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
 Horticultural Therapy BHT341
 Organic Plant Culture BHT302
 Professional Practice for Consultants BBS301
 Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
 Tissue Culture BHT306
 Turf Grasses BHT342
 Turf Repair And Renovation BHT303

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


This course is a great first step; but to give yourself the best future, get some work experience at the same time as you are studying.

It's not difficult to get work; it's just sometimes difficult to get the type of work you want.
Some people have very set ideas about the job they want, others are really undecided. The first step in getting a job is the same for both types. In fact anyone of any age, sex or level of skill needs to take the same first step:

The first step in getting a job is to develop a REALISTIC ATTITUDE! Realistic goals are based on a sound understanding of what constitutes a successful career for that individual, of one’s strengths and weakness and current marketplace trends, and of likely changes to which one must adapt. Because very few people begin in the same job they want to finish in, a career must be realistically seen as something that evolves or develops. You will probably not begin in an ideal position, but with careful planning, you can probably improve your position in your career as time goes by.


  • Don't expect to start at the top.
  • Don't expect to like everything about your job at first.
  • Be prepared to make the best of your situation and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Be prepared to accept any job in your field at first if you cannot get your ideal job or any job at all if you cannot get a job in your chosen field. If you are in employment, even though not in your chosen field, you are developing your career further than you would be if unemployed (or not studying).


Education is a foundation that assists you to make educated decisions. It is not the qualification that makes the difference: it is the learning.
A sound horticultural education teaches you how to think things through, to analyse what is presented to you, to make informed decisions using the skills and the knowledge you have gained, and how to build on your basic education - to enhance your career. 

Although education is a great foundation to starting a career, don’t expect a course to teach you everything! Good education should only ever be seen as a foundation. You cannot retain everything you learn in a course. You also do not learn everything you need to know by doing a course – this takes time and experience as well as education.  However, a good course will provide you with underpinning knowledge and skills and should help you to develop research skills i.e. ways to find out the things you need to know in the future - once you have finished your course. 

If you have thorough learning in the fundamentals of horticulture, you will have the ability to adapt those fundamentals when you encounter a new plant, product or process. The plants we grow and the way we grow and market them is changing faster than ever. It is impossible to predict what cultivars or products will be most popular in 5 years’ time. However, a person who has ALL the fundamentals will encounter new things and have the ability to understand them and remember them faster than someone who has not acquired the same foundation. Staff who have broader based and more in-depth foundations will see the possibilities (and be more likely to rise to the challenge) every time something changes in the workplace. Good education makes the employee more productive and adaptable - whilst qualifications may be little more than something to put in a frame on the wall, rather than a grounding to build on for a future in this career area.


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