Recognition and Accreditation

Over 100,000 people have studied our courses, over more than 35 years; and they are today, being delivered under license through a group of affiliated colleges located in seven different countries. These include both private and government institutions.

The greatest value in studying our courses comes from the fact that we are widely known and respected in the world of horticulture, by employers and colleagues.

We have a reputation for maintaining high standards of horticultural education that has a strong focus on plant knowledge and foundation science; two extremely important pillars of horticultural practice. 

Our staff and principal are well known as garden writers and professionals of high standing.

The principal (John Mason) is one of Australia's most published garden authors (over 100 books), a board member of the Australian Garden Council, and editor for Home Grown Magazine. He is the only person to have been made a fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Horticulture in England and also the Australian Institute of Horticulture. He is also a fellow of Parks and Leisure Australia.
Our range of courses are being delivered by a group of affiliated colleges located in five different countries.
  • Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture
  • The best indicators of our credibility are the quality of our staff, the testimonials from our students, and the background of other institutions we are affiliated with.
  • Our courses are now delivered under license by around 20 colleges - people are studying ACS courses, from more than 150 countries around the world.
  • We also have a selection of formal accreditations and affiliations (some indicated below).
  • ACS is more than a school - Our staff work in the real world as well as working in education. The principal is a well known garden writer and gardening editor for several magazines (including Garden Guide and Home Grown). Other staff work as consultants, managers, scientists and in other capacities within the industry.


ACS has been established since 1979, and has established a high level of respect in academic circles within a range of disciplines in the UK, Australia and beyond. Staff include world renowned academics from several countries, and it maintains active partnerships with respected institutions in several countries including England, Ireland, America, Australia and New Zealand. Many of these affiliates are formally recognised by government education authorities in their respective countries. ACS has been affiliated with colleges, located in Australia, the UK, America, Singapore, France and Ireland (see Educational Affiliates). Many of these colleges hold government accreditations and offer articulation for ACS graduates into accredited qualifications. Affiliates in the UK include Warwickshire College (incorp. Pershore College) in the Midlands and Warnborough College in Kent.

The school’s credentials are varied, and include:

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC).

You can see the standards that endorse and adhere to on the IARC site: click here



International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC)
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council (IARC).

Australian Institute of Horticulture
The principal, John Mason, is a fellow of AIH. ACS holds Training Provider status with the AIH and is now listed as a Preferred Member Training Provider. As such, ACS students who meet AIH criteria are entitled to subscribe to AIH as the Category 2 Student member. 

Accreditation Board of the Maldives
ACS is accredited by the Accreditation Board of the Maldives

'ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.

FFN are focused on building the engagement and network of those aged 18 to 35 years with the aim to empower, support and retain young people in Australian agriculture.'

Complementary Medicine Association

Complementary Medicine Association
College Member of Complementary Medicine Association assessed to teach a range of areas including Counselling, Nutrition, Natural Therapies.

ACS Global Partners

ACS Global Partners Network
Member of ACS Global Partners Network – committed to Ethical Education


ACS and its staff are members of many UK and overseas industry bodies, including

  • ITOL - Institute of Training and Occupational Learning
  • Complimentary Medicine Association (UK)
  • Chartered Institute of Horticulture (UK)
  • Australian Nursery Industry Association
  • International Herb Association
  • Association for Coaching (UK) Organisational Member (OMAC)
  • Alternative Technology Association
  • The Permaculture Association
  • Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)



ACS is formally affiliated with a number of other institutions spread across a number of countries. 

Our affiliates include both government and industry recognised institutions.



ACS is highly credible. Our courses are highly credible.

  • If you look into out staff you will find they include some of the most reputable professionals from their respective areas of expertise
  • If you look into our graduates, you will find as much if not more career success as graduates from the best horticultural colleges.

This is a common question for students and colleges and not always so simple to answer.

  • The simple response is "Who by?"
  • The truth is that our courses are just as well (or better) recognised, as any. Often shorter courses can be formally recognised by government accreditation bodies, but poorly recognised by many employers; while longer courses that do not meet government bureaucratic guidelines may teach you more horticulture, be better recognised by industry employers; but not be formally recognised by governments.
When asked, people may be asking any one of a multitude of different things. For some, recognition is about “endorsement”, while for others it is to do with “credibility”, and yet others, “how useful the course might be”.

If you look at dictionary definitions of recognition, you see thinks like “being acknowledged”, “a growing realization”, “acceptance of something being true” or even “understanding”.

Recognition of education is in fact a complex and multi faceted property.  Recognition is in fact made up of a number of components; and education that is recognised in one way, is not necessarily recognised in other ways.

What then are some of the components of recognition?

Usefulness –What is the purpose of the course and how well does it serve that purpose. What are  the capabilities of graduates a year or two after graduating. A course that passes students is only useful if the students do not forget what they have learnt a year or two after graduating. Some courses can implant temporary skills, while others can implant more permanent skills

Understanding  - Is there a clear understanding of what the course involves. If the course outlines & documentation are unclear or scant; there can be uncertainty about whether understanding is strong.

Visibility –How visible is the course? What people are aware of it’s existence, and where are those people? Are they locals only, or spread around the world?

Acknowledgement –Who acknowledges the course? Who endorses it, not only formally but informally? Also who criticizes it? While courses might be supported by some, they can also be criticized by others. If you only become aware of one group, you cannot form a balanced understanding of it’s worth.
These may be…. Employers, Academics, Individuals, Professional bodies, Politicians, Government bureaucrats, Experts in the field, etc.

How well does someone understand this question when they ask it?

Over 40 years of involvement in post secondary education, I have come to conclude that most people don’t really appreciate what they are asking.
Most people have a sub conscious desire to feel that a course they enter is safe and appropriate, and are looking for a yes or no answer.
Most colleges are looking to be able to give a yes or no answer; because that makes selling a course easier.

At the end of the day though; you can never accurately and clearly say that a course is or is not recognised without qualifying that answer.
To be ethical and honest, you should say such things as who it as and is not acknowledged by, and how well the course is both understood and visible by the world at large, etc

How well then are ACS Courses recognised?

The short answer is that our courses are more useful than many if not most of a similar duration; highly visible (you will see that from our web profile); endorsements are mixed as is the case with almost every course on the planet; and as far as understanding -you need to read our outlines and judge that for yourself

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