You might not know this, but there is actually a much faster route these days, especially if you have some experience of gardening before you start!
This is because, over the last few years, a few distance learning colleges have started teaching some of the certificates from the RHS diploma in horticulture. Now I know what you’re thinking: “How can you possibly learn gardening online?” Well, to understand that, you have to realise that two of the three certificates for the RHS diploma in gardening are theory based. At Level 2 for example, Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development involves learning about the internal and external structure of plants and how plants function in their environment. Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance involves learning what’s involved in designing and developing gardens as a whole. If you have access to a garden, or some experience with plants, these are both easily taught through distance learning. At the moment you still have to do the third certificate in a traditional college, but if you study the first two certificates online, you should be able to cut at least a year off your studying time.
But how? Won’t correspondence/online-based learning take exactly the same length of time as learning in a classroom?
Well, not always. Some distance learning colleges allow you to move through the course at an accelerated pace. This is faster for two reasons. The first reason is, the RHS exams will only test a limited amount of information. That means that, if distance learning courses are based around revising for the exam, they only have to teach that content. The second reason is that some distance learning colleges will allow you to move at your own pace through the lessons. Traditional colleges have to go at the rate of the slowest learner, which means taking three hours a week for nine months to go through each certificate (stopping for every holiday along the way). If you are determined, you might be able to do far more than three hours a week (especially during holiday periods!)
The Academy for Distance Learning is one of the only distance learning providers accredited by the Royal Horticultural Society to offer the certificates in Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development and the Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance. Our modules are specifically designed to prepare you for the RHS Diploma exams and you can study them at your own pace, from the comfort of your home or work. They come with unlimited tutor support.