RHS Distance Learning Units 1 & 2 – Plant Classification, Structure & Function and Plant Nutrition & the Root Environment Level 2

RHS - Distance Learning Approved Provider

Looking for a career change?  Already in horticulture and looking to progress in your career?  RHS courses are internationally recognised for the highest standards, and now, thanks to distance learning, you can do all of this from the comfort of your own home!

Start Date Anytime
3 months

Our state of the art online classroom allows you to view the course materials on a variety of devices, from your lap-top to your iPad, tablet or even your phone.  From here you can download our expertly written course materials, participate in quizzes to test your knowledge, watch videos, discover additional materials to expand your knowledge, upload your assignments and communicate with your course tutor. You will have unlimited support from your online tutor, for the duration of the course.


This course represents two out of the eight units for the full qualification, Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture.

You will be using our online virtual learning environment, working through the resource materials and submitting assessments which will be marked and returned to you with feedback and feed-forward from your tutor.

The full qualification is achieved by sitting eight unit exams, which can be spread out as required, all exams take place in February and June at Craven College, Skipton, or at an approved RHS exam centre of your choice.  The exam fees are not included in the price of the course, details can be found on the RHS website.

Entry Requirements

  • A good command of the English language is preferable, as the assessments and exams are written.
  • Basic IT skills and access to a computer and/or laptop with internet access are required.  Access to the online classroom is available on PC and IOS and Android operating systems.

Completion of level 1 is not necessary, most learners can begin at level 2.


Your choices may include:

  • Work in a plant nursery, growing, selling and the management of plants
  • Maintain gardens and planting
  • Grow and sell house plants or plants in containers
  • Become a gardener at your local parks and gardens business
  • Start your own business
  • Progress into garden design

Your choices may include:

RHS level 3


What course materials will be available?

The course is an interactive online course using videos, quizzes, pictures but there is a large amount of reading given it is a theory course. You will need a good grasp of English.

Will I ever need to come to Craven College, Skipton?

No, unless you choose to sit the examinations at Craven College, Skipton (additional examination fees apply*)

How much tutor support will I get?

Once your tutor is allocated, you will receive unlimited support; all communication will be by email.

Are exams included in the fee?

*Exams are not included in the price. These can be taken in February and June Craven College, alternatively approved exam centres are available online https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/qualifications-and-training/rhs-qualifications/theory-qualification-faq/external-candidate

Are the exams mandatory?

Your tutor will tell you when you are ready to register for exams. The exams are not mandatory although you will not achieve the qualification without taking them.

What is the cost of exams?

*The cost of sitting the exams at Craven College are: £29 per unit. Contact exams@craven-college.ac.uk for more information

How long will I get to complete the course?

For the full qualification (8 units) you will be allocated 2 years. For each pair of units you have 6 months for completion.

Will I get a certificate?


Can I see past exam papers?

All the past exam papers are available on the RHS website for anyone to downloadfree of charge.

How do I achieve the qualification?

The qualification is achieved by sitting eight-unit exams, which can be spread out as required. All exams take place in February and June at Craven College, Skipton, or at an approved RHS exam centre of your choice.  The exam fees are not included in the price of the course, details can be found on the RHS website. https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/qualifications-and-training/rhs-qualifications/theory-qualification-faq/external-candidate

What is the expected time commitment to complete each pair of units?
  • Unit 1 – 31 hours
  • Unit 2 – 23 hours
  • Unit 3 – 22 hours
  • Unit 4 – 23 hours
  • Unit 5 – 29 hours
  • Unit 6 – 22 hours
  • Unit 7 – 23 hours
  • Unit 8 – 23 hours

These hours are a guide, for more information see qualification specification https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/pdf/qualifications/Level-2/q-qao-qualification-specification-level-2-principl.pdf

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