NGIA: Training and Education

If you are brand new to the industry or have industry experience and want to upgrade your qualifications there are a number of options available for you.

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Training and education in Australia is aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). Information on the AQF is available from the AQF website

The Vocational Education and Training qualifications are designed to impart knowledge and training for job functions. Delivery at these levels is generally more practical or hands on. The following list gives an indication of qualifications and job roles;

  • Certificate II (AQF 2)is an entry level role which needs direct supervision
  • Certificate III (AQF 3) is a trade level certificate and needs broad supervision/direction
  • Certificate IV (AQF 4) is for team leader/ nursery floor supervisor
  • Diploma and Advanced Diploma (AQF 5 & 6) are for management level operations or technical roles.

The industries training currently comes under the AHC10 training package which apart from the nursery industry includes a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and conservation industries. The nursery industry has two training streams to which it is specifically aligned to; Production Nursery and Retail Nursery. These training streams are available in Certificate II to Diploma level qualifications;

  • Certificate II in Production Nursery AHC20710
  • Certificate III in Production Nursery AHC31110
  • Certificate IV in Production Nursery AHC40610
  • Diploma of Production Nursery Management AHC50810
  • Certificate II in Retail Nursery AHC20810
  • Certificate III in Retail Nursery AHC31210
  • Certificate IV in Retail Nursery AHC40710
  • Diploma of Retail Nursery Management AHC50910

It is also possible to complete these qualifications as part of an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Other horticulture courses are available which specialise in different areas of horticulture. These include; Arboriculture, Landscaping, Production Horticulture (Fruit, nut & vegetable farming), Parks and Gardens and a generalist Horticulture stream.

These courses may be useful in supplementing the industry specialist courses in Nursery Production and Retail Nursery.

Providers of these courses include the TAFEs as well as private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). For information on these courses including learning outcomes and contact details of which providers can deliver accredited courses please visit the website

Higher Education

Courses within the university sector are designed to prepare students for higher levels of management and technical specialisations.

Education within the university sector consists of the following levels:

  • Bachelor (AQF 7)
  • Graduate certificate, Graduate Diploma and Bachelor (Honours) (AQF 8)
  • Masters (AQF 9)
  • Doctorate (AQF10)

Students undertaking a bachelor’s degree study a broad range of coherent subjects which prepares them for a professional career in the industry. Bachelor’s degrees generally take 3-4 years to complete full time, although in some cases credit can be awarded for recognition of previous studies. Credit lessens the time it takes to complete the qualification, with a related diploma generally providing a years’ worth of credit.

An honours degree is completed after a bachelor’s degree in the same field and generally consists of an intensive research-based project. Honours degrees can be used as an entry to higher study such as a doctorate and are generally only open to students who have performed to a high standard in their bachelor’s degree.

Graduate Certificates and Diplomas take 6 months to a year to complete and are targeted course of study in a specific area. A bachelor’s degree may not be required for entry to a Graduate Certificate program with industry experience instead being taken into account. Both Graduate Certificates and Diplomas may be stand-alone or they may form part of an articulated course of study leading to a Master’s degree.

Masters degrees, either research or course based are higher degrees which prepare a student for the application of advanced knowledge in a range of contexts; professional practice, research or as a means to further study. Masters programs generally take 1-2 years to complete full time. In some cases, credit may be awarded, based on prior study. Generally, a bachelor’s degree is required for entry into a master’s course and in some cases, this must be in the same discipline area.

A doctorate is the highest academic qualification in the AQF and is available as either a research doctorate (generally a Doctor of Philosophy or PhD) or as a professional doctorate. Research is a core element of both streams with research doctorates requiring a significant and original contribution to knowledge and professional doctorates requiring a significant and original contribution to knowledge in a professional practice context. Entry to a doctoral program requires a bachelor with honour’s degree with high grades or a Master’s degree.

The number of universities which offer horticulture as a field of study is limited and in some cases, horticulture can only be studied as a component of a broader agricultural or science degree. Some universities which offer horticulture as a field of study are listed below.

Charles Sturt University

  • Bachelor of Horticulture

University of Melbourne

  • Master of Urban Horticulture

University of Queensland

  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Urban Horticulture or Horticulture major)

University of New England

  • Bachelor of Agriculture (Plant Production major)

University of Sydney

  • Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Horticulture specialisation)

Western Sydney University

  • Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

University of Tasmania

  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Horticulture major)

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