RHS Qualifications FAQs

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about RHS Qualifications

As an awarding organisation, we do not offer our qualifications directly to learners. We approve education providers (colleges, gardens, employers etc.) across the country who provide the teaching and resources and support assessments required to help you achieve our qualifications.

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions that centres, learners and employers ask us.

Our top five FAQs

I would like to start a career in horticulture or extend my gardening skills, where do I begin?
Level 2 is the ideal starting point for those wanting a route to employment in professional horticulture or further personal interest.

Our Level 1 qualifications are aimed at 14-19 year olds and adults with additional learning needs.
I want to understand more about the delivery of the course, who should I ask?
RHS Approved Centres deliver our qualifications and can help you with your individual needs and circumstances in all aspects of delivery and assessment.
What are the course fees?

RHS approved centres set the course fees and, as a result, fees can vary between providers. Please contact the approved centre directly for information regarding their fees.

Please note: The RHS Qualification fees are set by the RHS; however, as mentioned above, approved providers set their own course fees at an individual level, and so these will vary. 

When do courses start?
Courses usually run over the academic year on a part time basis, starting in September. However, some centres also accept a new intake in the New Year.  Any learner looking to study via distance learning can enrol at any time during the year. Contact RHS Approved Centres directly for exact start dates.
Where is my nearest centre?
Use our Find a centre tool to find your nearest centre.

We’ve grouped together the following frequently asked questions under these topics. Click the links to skip ahead to the group relevant to you.

FAQs for learners

Can you recommend some of the best centres where I can study?
All RHS Approved centres undergo a vigorous approval process and must meet certain approval criteria in order to deliver our qualifications. We are unable to make any recommendations.
What is a Level 1, 2 or 3 equivalent to?
  • Level 1 is equivalent to GCSE grades 3, 2, 1 or grades D, E, F, G
  • Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE grades 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 or grades A*, A, B, C or an intermediate apprenticeship
  • Level 3 is equivalent to A-Level, higher education diploma, advanced apprenticeship or AS Level
Is there funding available for RHS courses?
Some Government funding is available for RHS Qualifications. Whether or not you are able to receive funding to help with the cost of a course depends on various factors such as your age, employment status, previous education and on the contracts or agreements your chosen provider has with different funding agencies.

Your chosen RHS approved centre will be able to advise you of any funding available. 
Should I start with theory or practical first?
There is no particular order in which you need to achieve the qualifications at each level. It is down to personal preference as to whether you start with theory or practical, or study both at the same time. 
Are RHS qualifications delivered as an evening course or at the weekend?
Some of our centres do deliver courses in the evening or at weekends. Contact your chosen RHS approved centre directly for further information relating to delivery days.
I want to study online, is this possible?
Yes, we have a number of centres approved to deliver our theory qualifications online. In addition to this, centres deliver face to face or by blended-learning. It is best to discuss learning options with your nearest centre.  
A list of approved providers can be found on our ‘Find a Centre’ tool.
Can I do the practical qualification without attending a centre?
Due to the nature of the practical qualification being hands-on, to achieve this qualification you will need to enrol at an approved centre.
What are the entry requirements?
There are no entry requirements at Level 2, all you need is a passion for gardening. At Level 3 some of our centres do require learners to hold an RHS Level 2 or equivalent.
How do I enrol?
You will need to enrol with an RHS Approved Centre. Use our 'Find a Centre' tool to discover your nearest centre.
Do I have to enrol at a centre?
Yes, to achieve the qualification centres are required to register all learners studying an RHS Qualification and ensure they are entered for the associated assessments.
What learning resources are recommended?
A wide range of books and other learning resources which support the study of horticulture are available. RHS Qualifications does not recommend or endorse any specific learning resources and instead encourages students to seek guidance from their tutors on which resources best support the qualification they’re enrolled on.
RHS libraries offer postal loans which you may find beneficial - read more about the services our libraries provide.
Can I study for the course without sitting exams or taking any assessments?

All learners must be registered by their Centre with RHS Qualifications at the start of their course. The registration fee automatically includes a first attempt at any associated exams /assessments. In order to attain the recognised qualification certificate any exams and/or assessments need to be achieved. As with all qualifications, the expectation is for learners to successfully complete the program and use their qualification to continue onto further study or employment.

Where can I find out more information about the assessment, such as exam times?
Will my learning difficulty be supported?
Yes, all our centres support learners with any learning difficulty or disability. Your individual needs will need to be discussed with the approved provider.
What if I am ill or suffer extenuating circumstances around the exam/assessment?
Special considerations and reasonable adjustments are intended to be implemented at the time of an exam to ensure fair assessment and support a candidate who has been disadvantaged by temporary illness, injury or adverse circumstances which arose at, or near, the time of exam/assessment.

They must be applied for by the approved centre, on your behalf, where the exams/assessments are taken.
Why is the centre charging a different cost to the price displayed on your website?
The prices displayed on our website are the registration, assessment and certification costs we charge approved centres and do not necessarily reflect the fees a provider will charge to learners.

In addition to the charges shown on our website, providers will have to take into account factors such as eligibility for public funding, the cost of teaching staff, buildings and any other resources or equipment that they make available.
When are exam results released and how do I access them?
Results are published within 50 working days of the exam date. Results must be obtained from the approved centre where you sat the exam.  DO NOT contact RHS Qualifications to obtain your results. You will only be referred back to the centre you enrolled/sat exams with.

You can see your results online using the RHS qualifications candidate web-portal. When your centre registered you for the qualification and exams you should have automatically received an email with log-in details.

If you don’t have an account or remember your log-in details then please follow the instructions below to set up a new account:

Without filling in any of the fields immediately click on ‘forgotten your password’, the next screen will request your email address, enter this and press ‘continue’ – you will then be sent an email with a link/instructions on how to set up a new account. If you don’t immediately receive this email, please check your junk/spam folder. If the received email doesn’t work, they do have an expiry time on them so do try requesting another new email before contacting us with a problem.

When you select a password, it asks you to include an item of punctuation; please ensure you use one of the punctuation items listed as an example – it has to be one of those. Please also ensure you set this up on a laptop or pc, rather than a mobile or tablet. If you have problems logging in, it may be worth trying another internet browser.

Once logged in, your registrations can be found under ‘My LearningMy Registrations’ and results, when released, can be found under ‘My LearningMy Achievements’.

If required, you will be able to print your results from the web-portal.
When will I get my certificate?
Certificates are dispatched within 30 working days of publishing the exam results.
For practical based qualifications, there are a number of steps involved in processing practical results. This includes reviewing some sample work submitted by the centre. Once we receive all the samples requested and this has been approved, certificates are published to the centre within 30 working days.  DO NOT contact RHS Qualifications to obtain information relating to your certificate, such as progress, date certificate will be issued etc. You will only be referred back to your centre.

All certificates are posted directly to the centre where you are enrolled and it is their responsibility to issue the certificates to you. Should learners have any queries relating to certification then these must be discussed with the centre.

FAQs about the changes to RHS Qualifications from September 2022

Why have you changed the qualifications?
Awarding Organisations are required to review their qualifications regularly. The changes we have made aim to ensure RHS Qualifications reflect current tasks and practices and meet the needs of today’s horticultural workforce with clear and defined routes for progression.
Will there be transition arrangements for learners currently studying the previous qualifications?
To ensure learners currently enrolled on an RHS Qualification will not be disadvantaged by the change, we have created transitional arrangements, and assessments for our existing qualifications will continue to be available for a period of time.

Further guidance on transitional arrangements can be found on our ‘Changes to RHS Qualifications’ page.
I’ve only completed some units. Can units be transitioned over to the new qualifications?
Unfortunately, unit achievement cannot be transitioned over to the new qualifications. You will need to complete the remaining units in the pre-2022 qualifications before they cease.

Further guidance on the changes and last assessment dates can be found on our ‘Changes to RHS Qualifications’ page.
Will my old qualifications remain valid and recognised in industry?
Yes, the new qualifications will not affect the validity of any previous achievement and these will continue to remain recognised and highly valued in industry.

FAQs for delivery providers

Who can deliver RHS Qualifications?
Any organisation such as FE College, school, garden, private training provider etc. can deliver RHS Qualifications but they must be approved by the RHS in the first instance. Please see ‘Become an approved centre’ page for more details.

Employers can either use an approved centre or we can help you gain approval, enabling you to undertake training in-house. Please contact us for more information.
How are RHS Qualifications regulated?
All our qualifications are regulated by The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), a government department that regulates qualifications, exams and assessments in England. You can find out more by visiting the Ofqual website.

Our Qualifications are also approved by Qualification Wales and CCEA (Northern Ireland).
How long does approval take?
The time it takes to become approved depends on a number of factors but we aim to complete your approval as quickly and thoroughly as possible. We recommend centres allocate four to six weeks before they plan to start delivering RHS Qualifications.  
Can we start advertising and recruiting for RHS courses before becoming an approved centre?
No, organisations must not state they are an approved centre or advertise RHS Qualifications until formal approval has been provided by the RHS. 
What are the approval fees?
Our centre fees can be found here
What’s involved in the approval process?
Approval takes place in two stages. Once we receive your application form we will provide you with secure portal access to upload supporting documentation for our desk audit (stage one). The independent desk audit checks you meet certain elements of our centre approval criteria. Upon successful completion, we will arrange a mutually convenient date for a site visit (stage two) to check onsite facilities and the remaining approval criteria are in place to deliver our qualifications.

More information on the approval process and approval criteria can be found here
How long does approval last for?
Once approved, then approval will continue on an annual basis as long as the centre remains active and delivers RHS Qualifications in accordance with our regulatory conditions and approval criteria.

Centres are required to pay an annual fee to retain approval status.
How do we register learners?
Once approved, all centres are provided access to Quartz-Web, which is an online registrations and awarding system.  On this platform, centres can upload learner registrations, withdraw learners, enter for assessment and download various guidance documents.
Does RHS Qualifications deal directly with learners?
We encourage all learners to discuss queries with the centre they are considering enrolling or enrolled with.

If you are a learner and have a query regarding an RHS Qualification which you are undertaking, please contact your centre in the first instance who will then contact RHS Qualifications on your behalf if necessary.
Can we use the RHS logo?
Approved centres will be provided with a bespoke ‘RHS Approved Centre’ logo which may be used on webpages, marketing materials etc. to promote the RHS Courses you offer.  Centres must not use the logo in a way that suggests you are approved by the RHS to offer non-RHS related qualifications/courses.

Centres (or other organisations) are not permitted to use the main brand logo.
I need help with the approval process, who do I contact?
Our Business Development team is always on hand to help answer any queries, simply contact us with your query.

Can’t find an answer to your question?

We’re here to help cultivate your passion for horticulture. If you have any questions relating to qualifications please get in touch with the RHS Qualifications team via email so we can direct your query to the most appropriate person.

Speak to the team

Email: [email protected]

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