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Qualification - Associate Diploma in Parks Management

Course CodeVRE021
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationAssociate Diploma
Study at Home -Parks Management Diploma
Become a Park Manager - learn skills that can be applied to a range of different environments and facilities.
This unique course allows the student to develop a range of practical and theoretical skills that well lend them to a range of different employment opportunities, such as working in:
  • national parks
  • nature parks
  • wildlife sanctuaries
  • caravan parks
  • council reserves and playgrounds
  • botanical gardens
  • urban parks
  • education
  • running ecotours  
This course will suit someone who has a passion for the outdoors, and enjoys other people's interactions with outdoor environments.

Course Content
Core Modules
These 9 modules provide foundation knowledge for the Associate Diploma in Parks Management.  

Elective Modules
In addition to the core modules, students study any 6 of the following modules.  

Note that each module in the Associate Diploma in Parks Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.



An ecosystem is made up of abiotic substances (such as soil, water, air and their components) together with living things (people, plants, animals, microbes). The living and non living parts interact, impacting upon each other. The way in which a park is created, developed and managed will affect all of this interplay -short term, as well as long term.

When you understand that a park is an ecosystem, made up of many parts, you begin to see how your management strategies can affect everything from the amount of use it can withstand from patrons, to the level of maintenance that needs to be given to keep it from degrading.

Any ecosystem is made up of producers and decomposers; or living things that build up the ecosystem as well as living things that potentially degrade it.

Plants are the producers. They are the only organisms that are able to absorb and store energy from the sun. The other organisms (i.e. animals) depend on the producers for energy. Users or consumers eat, or otherwise gain benefit at the producers expense. Decomposers break down (decompose) the structure of other organisms when they die.

For an ecologist; through the action of decomposers, nutrients are returned to the soil and made available so that plants can use them over and over thus keeping the cycle of life going. From all this, you should begin to see that there are a lot of interrelationships existing in any ecosystem.

Heterotrophic vs Autotrophic
Occasionally you will hear the words heterotrophic and autotrophic mentioned when discussing living elements of an ecosystem.

  • Autotrophic organisms require only simple inorganic substances; they fix light (or chemical) energy in simple organic compounds, then use this stored energy to build up complex substances. This is called photosynthesis. Plants are autotrophic.
  • Heterotrophic organisms ingest other organisms or particles of organic matter. They feed off other forms of life. The term heterotroph can refer to single or multi-celled organisms. Many bacteria as well as all fungi and animals are heterotrophs.


1.    The sun is the source of all energy. All energy in any organism originally came from the sun. Producers harness the sun’s energy to make organic compounds, which are consumed by other parts of the ecosystem. Thus, this basic energy input from the sun is essential for ecosystem function.

2.    Everything is connected to everything else. All living things interact with other things (both living and not living) in their environment. The climate affects the living things in an area. The plants influence the insect population and the fish eat the insects ... and on it goes.

3.    Everything must fit how and where it lives. 'Adaptation' is the key word of this concept! (ie: Unless a species adapts to a situation, it will not survive). A principle related to this concept is the 'Dam Law'. The Dam Law states 'die, adapt or move'.

4.    Ecosystems are dynamic. Energy and matter are continually cycling through the system, even when it is balanced. In death there is no waste matter ... it is continually recycled among biotic or abiotic components. Rocks are worn down into soil, soil is used by plants, changed, moved and leached by the forces of the environment.

5.    There is no free lunch. For every action there is a reaction. For every event there is a consequence. There is a delicate balance of nature between producers and consumers, which allows both to exist. If this interrelationship becomes and remains unbalanced, one and/or both members of the interrelationship will die.


Why Study with ACS?

This course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to work as a Park Manager in the Amenity Horticulture industry. This course is not your average Park Management course...

Our course extends beyond just teaching you how to manage parks. We offer you an "experiential based" learning mode where you are prompted to network with horticulturalists, managers and the amenity horticulture industry as you study.

Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.

Check out our eBooks

Getting Work in a Modern WorldA realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business. This is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career.
Getting Work in HorticultureFind out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
Project ManagementLearn to manage any type of project, in any industry. Six chapters cover the nature and scope of project management, risk and uncertainty, maintaining control, interpersonal relationships, the end game, and golden rules. This is a very concise text - easy to follow, with much of the information presented in bulleted lists. 72 pages
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.