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Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Learn to be an Arborist with this distance education course:

  • Learn the horticultural skills needed to identify and manage trees
  • Learn the management skills needed to manage an arboricultural enterprise
  • Get a job, start a business or further your career prospects in the Arboricultural Industry

The arboriculture industry is concerned with the culture of trees - from selection and planting to all of the many tasks involved in facilitating growth and good health. This course builds both skills in management and arboriculture, and is designed to provide a sound foundation to support a career at a supervisory or management level in industry sectors including parks and gardens, residential or commercial tree maintenance/management, land rehabilitation, forestry, etc.

Accredited by International Accreditation and Recognition Council


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the ADVANCED CERTIFICATE IN APPLIED MANAGEMENT (ARBORICULTURE) VBS001.
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.

Note that each module in the ADVANCED CERTIFICATE IN APPLIED MANAGEMENT (ARBORICULTURE) VBS001 is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


  • Distinguish between plants in order to identify at least 50 trees.
  • Develop a standard tree report form, customised for surveying the condition and use of trees in your locality.
  • Explain how to treat three specified soil related problems that can effect trees.
  • Develop a twelve month program, for managing a health problem detected by you in an established tree.
  • Demonstrate bridge grafting across a bark wound.
  • Distinguish between different methods of pruning including: -Canopy reduction Cleaning out -Topiary -Espaliering
  • Determine the minimum equipment required to commence business as a tree surgeon.
  • Compare three different chainsaws, to determine appropriate applications for each.
  • Determine legislation which is relevant to a specific arborist in a workplace which you visit.
  • Explain how to plant a specified advanced-sized tree on a specific site.
  • Explain tree injection, including the technique and applications.
  • Identify situations where trees require strengthening operations to be carried out.
  • Compare different ways to control roots which invade underground pipes.
  • Calculate the cost of removing a specified tree.
  • Determine appropriate tree species suited to a specific site visited and analysed.
  • Devise a method for removing a tree, including tree felling and stump removal.
  • Analyse specimens of mature trees, each of different genera, to detect any patterns in problems occurring in those trees.
  • Develop criteria for the establishment of a tree plantation on a specific site which addresses; site restrictions, cost and function.
  • Compare different approaches to land rehabilitation, to determine strengths and weaknesses of alternative options on a site to be rehabilitated.
  • Determine techniques to maximise plant development in land rehabilitation situations.
  • Explain the different ways of producing seedling trees for land rehabilitation purposes.
  • Determine appropriate plant establishment programs.
  • Develop procedures to care for plants, during establishment in a hostile environment.
  • Manage the rehabilitation of degraded soil.
  • Explain the effect of plants on improving a degraded site, both physically and chemically.


This course is comprised of:

  • Core studies - Four units (400 hours) of compulsory subjects for all students.
  • Elective studies - Three stream units for the development of knowledge in arboriculture
  • Project - a workplace project of 200hrs relevant to your field of study. The project specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study. Contact the school for more information.


Totalling 400 hours. All four of these modules must be studied and passed.

1. Office Practices

Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc.

2. Business Operations

Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan.

3. Management

Develops knowledge of management structures, terminology, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.

4. Marketing Foundations

Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.


1. Arboriculture I

There are eight lessons in this module, as follows:

  1. Introduction To Arboriculture
  2. Tree Biology
  3. Soils In Relation To Trees
  4. Diagnosing Tree Problems
  5. Tree Surgery
  6. Pruning Of Trees
  7. Arboricultural Equipment
  8. Workplace Health & Safety.

2. Arboriculture II

There are 7 lessons as follows:

  1. Planting Techniques
  2. Controlling Plant Problems
  3. Strengthening Weak Trees
  4. Controlling Damage Caused by Plants
  5. Tree Felling & Stump Removal
  6. Tolerant Plant Species
  7. Establishing a Tree Plantation

3. Trees for Rehabilitation

There are ten lessons are as follows...

  1. Approaches To Land Rehabilitation
  2. Ecology Of Soils And Plant Health
  3. Introduction To Seed Propagation Techniques
  4. Propagation And Nursery Stock.
  5. Dealing With Chemical Problems
  6. Physical Plant Effects On Degraded Sites
  7. Plant Establishment Programs
  8. Hostile Environments
  9. Plant Establishment Care
  10. Rehabilitating Degraded Sites


4. Workplace Projects

The term "Workplace Project" is often used to embrace any type of learning experience that is real world oriented.

This includes:

A. Attending industry meetings (conferences, seminars, study tours, committee meetings, etc.).

B. Work experience (paid or voluntary).

C. Attending workshops run by another institution, or supervised by a professional person working the student through our "workshop curriculum documents".

D. Undertaking any of the following modules: Workshop I, II, III or Research Project I, II, III or IV. (These are modules with Subject Guides that take you through well structured, very practical projects.)  See and

E. Undertaking, where appropriate, other PBL (Problem Based Learning) modules.



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Meet some of our academics

Bob JamesHorticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC
Dr. Gareth PearceVeterinary 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. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation. Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.
Rosemary DaviesBusinesswoman, Journalist, Editor, Broadcaster, Teacher, Consultant for over 30 years.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

Check out our eBooks

Trees and ShrubsUseful for students, tradespeople already working in the field, or the home gardener who needs a quick reference when choosing plants for a garden.
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.
Trees and Shrubs for Warm PlacesA stunning book with around 300 colour photos! A comprehensive reference to thousands of tropical plant varieties (mostly different information to the Tropical Plants book) . An classic reference for nurserymen, landscapers, interior plantscapers, horticulturists and any tropical plant enthusiasts. 209 pages
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.