Recognition, Accreditation, Credibility.

ACS has an outstanding reputation in horticultural education.

  • Established since 1979
  • Greater variety of horticulture courses than other colleges
  • Known and supported by leading horticulturists around the world
  • Courses developed here are used by other colleges in England, Ireland, US, France, New Zealand, South Africa and across Australia.

COMMENT FROM ACS STUDENT who previously completed University Bachelors degree.
"The main difference between my experience of studying at University and studying with ACS is that at University you're basically regurgitating text books. In contrast ACS assignments can be quite involved requiring hands-on application of principles, creative thinking and analysis." 
Dennis - Certificate in Garden Design graduate


1. The principal and founder, John Mason, is a widely published horticultural author, has been editor of four national gardening magazines, distinguished internationally as a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture (UK) and the Parks and Leisure Institute ( Australia).

2. Books and videos by the principal and our staff have been used as texts by other horticultural colleges and universities around the world

3. Our team of horticultural tutors include highly qualified, internationally renowned experts from different climates and countries around the world. On average, tutors each have well over 20 years of industry experience.

4. Staff and the school itself are members of horticultural industry bodies in Australia, the UK, America and elsewhere.

5. We offer one of the most varied curricula of any horticultural college or university in the world.

6. Our graduates are successful in the workplace. ACS horticultural tutors include experienced garden writers, landscapers, nurserymen, crop consultants, parks managers etc.

7. The school is formally recognised by the International Accreditation & Recognition Council

8.We have formal affiliation contracts with a network of colleges across three continents including both government and private colleges, including Warwickshire College and it's subsidiary Pershore (one of the UK's main horticulture schools).

9. We are a long term member of a number of major industry bodies including the Institute of Horticulture (UK) and the Australian Nursery Industry Association.

Understanding Formal Accreditation

Accreditation and recognition confuses a lot of people. Often people assume that government accreditation is a guarantee of quality and a job after graduation, but this is not necessarily the case.

  • We have had some courses accredited or recognised and others that are not
  • Graduates from accredited courses do NOT (on balance) tend to have any more success than those from non accredited courses.
  • At the end of the day, the most successful horticultural education has to be the one that best prepares you for the future.
  • The horticulture industry is one where employers and clients are far more concerned about your ability to identify and grow plants. Having a degree or certificate may occasionally help get the attention of an employer, but doing a good job builds your reputation, and once you have the reputation, this is an industry where the qualification is relatively unimportant.

We believe that the "learning experience" should always be our main focus.

Over 30 years in education we have discovered some truths about credibility, recognition and accreditation.

  • The most credible courses are those that bring about a positive long term change in a student's capacity to function in the real world
  • Most students over rate accreditation.
  • Most employers (or business clients) are more concerned about how well a graduate can perform than whether their education was accredited.
  • Often the only significant advantage to choosing an accredited course may be to get government funding. You have to wonder though -what is the reason for studying; and shouldn't your choice of course be determined by what is the best education rather than if I can be funded.
  • Some accreditation costs colleges a lot of money; and as a result, sometimes courses with lots of accreditation may be spending a lot less of your fees on actually giving you an education.
  • Accreditation systems usually restrict a college's capacity to change. This stops poor mediocre courses from getting worse; but it can also stop good courses from getting better.
  • Sometimes accreditation systems put so much effort into getting the bureaucracy and student assessments right, that their attention is diverted from the teaching and learning.

Some institutions appear good because they spend lots of money advertising themselves; others may seem good because they have lots of accreditations, but the institutions that are really good are those that always put the student and learning ahead of these things, concentrating on good staff, good student support services, and producing graduates with the best education.

Graduates are successful because above all, because a college focuses first and foremost on providing the education

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