Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Horticultural Technology)

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

Become a Hydroponic Farm or Supply Manager

Managing a hydroponic business effectively requires not only a knowledge of horticulture and hydroponic growing; but also skills in business management.
This course teaches you both!

That makes it a unique and holistic training program for anyone seeking to start or improve the operation of any type of hydroponic enterprise.

This course has been developed by leading international experts including John Mason, author of Commercial Hydroponics (now in it's 8th printing) and Dr Lyn Morgan, author and commercial hydroponic consultant; and is taught by a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals, with experience across the whole world.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Horticultural Technology).
 Business Operations VBS006
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
 Management VBS105
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Office Practices VBS102
 Greenhouse Management BHT257
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Hydroponics I BHT224
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 5 modules.
 Engineering Applications BSC205
 Hydroponic Management - Hydroponics II BHT213
 Protected Plant Production BHT223
 Aquaponics BHT319
 Interior Plants (Indoor Plants) BHT315

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Horticultural Technology) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

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

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



There are ten lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. How a Plant Grows
  3. Hydroponic Systems
  4. Nutrition & Nutrition management
  5. Plant Culture
  6. Hydroponic Vegetable Production
  7. Hydroponic Cut Flower Production
  8. Solid Media vs Nutrient Film
  9. Greenhouse Operation & Management
  10. Special Assignment


There are eleven lessons in this module as follows:

  1. How the Crop Plant Grows: Understanding how a plant grows in hydroponics, plant growth factors, manipulating and controlling growth, plant troubleshooting, resources, fruit set management, pollination issues, flower initiation, flower and fruit development etc.
  2. How to Run a Small Evaluation Trial
  3. Harvest and Post Harvest
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Capsicum
  6. Lettuce, Salad Greens and Foliage Herb Crops
  7. Cucurbits (Cucumber and Melons)
  8. Strawberries
  9. Roses
  10. Carnations
  11. Orchids


There are seven lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Structures for Protected Cropping
  2. Environmental Control
  3. Cladding Materials and their Properties
  4. Irrigation and Nutrition
  5. Relationship between Production techniques and Horticultural practices
  6. Harvest and Post Harvest Technology
  7. Risk Assessment


This is normally done after completing all of the other modules. It is intended as a "learning experience" that brings a perspective and element of reality to the modules you have studied. The school is very flexible in terms of how you achieve this requirement, and can negotiate to approve virtually any situation which can be seen as "learning through involvement in real life situations that have a relevance to your studies"
It may be satisfied through any combination of relevant work experience, attendance at conferences, seminars, trade shows; or undertaking formal distance education modules which we offer in research or workshops (which can be undertaken from where you live!).

How Do You Harvest Hydroponic Produce?
It is critical to properly handle and store fruit, vegetables, berries or cut flowers at harvest, and after harvest. Poor harvest and post harvest procedures can easily result in crop losses of 25%, and some experts suggest it is not uncommon to see crop losses of over 50%.

Hydroponic consultants often comment that poor harvest and post harvest practices are one of the most common problems for hydroponic growers. Issues such as how and when to harvest, how to wash produce, how to prevent bruising and post harvest rots, what packaging to use for various produce, storage techniques, preventing chilling damage, and maximising the potential shelf life of different hydroponic crops are very important for successful marketing.

With these things in mind, it only stands to reason that understanding and applying knowledge of harvest and post harvest can be one of the most critical factors in achieving profitability in a hydroponic enterprise.

Before you can properly manage the harvest and post harvest of a crop, you need to understand its physiology.

  • Harvested produce is still “living” tissue.
  • Produce respires, i.e. it absorbs oxygen from the air and gives off both carbon dioxide and heat.
  • Produce transpires, i.e. it loses water.
  • When it is attached to the plant, losses from transpiration and respiration can be replaced by sap flow.
  • After harvest there is no way of supplying these losses, so there is a gradual deterioration in chemicals that form the tissues of the crop.


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