Start a Career in Hydroponics
Learn the A to Z of hydroponics in this great 600 hour certificate level course.
Accredited through the International Accreditation & Recognition Council.
This course provides an understanding of modern technology and its application to growing plants, with emphasis on hydroponic production. If you are seriously interested in hydroponics as a career or business this provides a sound foundation for just that.

Career Opportunities include:

  • Hydroponic Shop Proprietor
  • Commercial Hydroponic Grower
  • Hydroponic Consultant
  • Manufacturer/Supplier of hydroponic equipment and nutrients

Start or Improve a Hydroponic Business

Hydroponics is generally more expensive for you to get started; and to do hydroponics well, will involve a higher level of expertise -hence you either do more study, or spend a lot more time experimenting and getting things right, before you start to see a good income. In the long term though; hydroponics can be more profitable because it can give you greater control over your crops.  Because hydroponics has a greater initial capital investment; it tends to only be profitable for high value crops; so you do need to know your markets, know your plants, and choose the right things to grow, if you want to have a profitable hydroponic farm.

Hydroponics is a good choice when you have limited land available, and have sufficient money to invest in order to get the maximum produce from that land. If you have lots of land though, or if funding is very limited; you are probably better to start a farm growing in soil; and think about hydroponics in a few years time, when you have enough surplus money to move that way.

General Objectives:

1. To provide a sound basis of knowledge in horticultural principles as they apply to the culture, use and management of plants in various production situations.

2. To provide new and existing employees who are unable to undertake on campus training with the opportunity to gain appropriate knowledge in the field of plant culture, use and management.

3. To prepare employees for supervisory and managerial positions in the field of plant culture, use and management.

4. To provide horticultural business owner/operators (or those contemplating ownership) with appropriate training to apply technical skills to the management of the physical, financial and human resources in which they have made, or will make, a substantial investment.

5. To provide an understanding of modern technology and its application to growing plants, with emphasis being placed on hydroponics production of commercially valuable plants.

Course Structure

This course has 30 lessons, each requiring about 12 to 15 hours of study:

1. Introduction to Hydroponic Technology

2. Plant Growth Requirements
This lesson looks at light , artificial light, light balancers

3. Plant Growth Requirements
This covers nutrient requirements, deficiencies, toxicities, pH, conductivity, salinity, growth regulators

4. Plant Growth Requirements
This looks at the affect of temperature on crop production.

5. Hydroponic Growing Systems 
Explore the basic concepts and designs, and site considerations for a hydroponic system.

6, Growing Media
Study the types of media used in hydroponics, their respective properties, and appropriate uses.

7. Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions
Nutrient formulae and preparation of solutions.

8. Hydroponic Equipment Components
Consider nutrient delivery systems, pumping, and testing.

9. Growing Structures
Types of construction, including Design and Construction of Greenhouses

10. Environmental Control A ... Heating and Cooling

11. Environmental Control B  ... Lighting, Shading.

12. Environmental Control C  ... Carbon Dioxide Enrichment

13. Plant Culture In Hydroponics A ... Trellising, pruning, pollination, transplanting.

14. Plant Culture In Hydroponics B

15. Aggregate Culture

16. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Culture

17. Rockwool Culture

18. Other Techniques
Wick systems, flood & drain, bag culture, aeroponics, etc.

19. Irrigation

20. Irrigation Systems

21. Plant Propagation
Seed, cutting propagation and tissue culture

22. Producing Cut Flowers

23. Vegetable Production

24. Growing Other Plants In Hydroponics .... Herbs, grasses, indoor plants

25. Managing Pest and Diseases
Identifying the problem, pests and diseases in hydroponics

26. Weed Identification and Control

27. Managing A Commercial Hydroponics Farm Crop
Scheduling and selection standards

28. Management  
Organisation and Supervision

29. Marketing
Promotion and Selling

30. Special Project
Prepare a detailed report of at least 2,000 words, plus photos or diagrams, on a particular aspect of technology which you have studied that significantly assists growing.


How Healthy is Hydroponic Produce?

Some people worry that hydroponic grown food is not as healthy for you as organic grown food. In reality, the plant roots are absorbing much the same chemical substances in hydroponics as what they absorb in organics. 

Example: Nitrate is chemically exacly the same thing; whether it comes from cow manure or a hydroponic nutrient solution.

Organic produce can have problems associated with the use of unrefined fertilisers, which are regarded as acceptable for use in organic growing, in terms of their toxicity and human health.

For instance, some organic nutrient sources may contain traces of heavy metals, fish concentrates and other manure sources have been found to contain more lead, mercury and selenium than chemical fertilisers commonly used in hydroponics.   Mined chlorides can be harmful to soil and plants if applied in high doses. 
Another problem with organic farming is the incorrect use of unprocessed manure as a natural fertiliser for food crops. Whilst manures do not usually have any threat to human health they have been associated with E. coli and salmonella outbreaks. The Western Fertiliser Handbook is a publication used by American farmers and it documents many cases. Most recently, in 2011, 31 people were killed and many more infected following an E. coli outbreak traced to bean sprouts grown in manure at an organic farm in Germany. The resultant cost to farming is huge.  

Since hydroponic crop production does not require soil and soil organisms, purer refined fertilisers can be used. This leads to much faster nutrient uptake and consequently faster growth. It can also be argued that this leads to improved crop quality and healthier produce, though obviously this depends to some degree on the grower. Sometimes organic produce may be better tasting and more nutritious. At other times the hydroponic produce will be better. The thing with organic produce though is that it must be grown within an ideal range of conditions and crops are usually seasonal. Even if grown in greenhouses, aside from problems balancing moisture and aeration, the crop yields are substantially less than those grown hydroponically.  

Given that hydroponic crops are usually grown in a much more sterile environment than their organic counterparts, it makes control of the environment more precise. This helps to achieve optimal growth, maximum nutrition, and extends the growing season.