All courses are different. Some place a greater emphases on horticulture while others concentrate on the design and professional practice. Do not choose your course because of price or location. Most people can only afford to do a course once, so make sure you pick the college that will give you the best head start.
Reputable courses should be prepared to give you a list of their lecturers including their CVs Remember the course is only as good as the people who are teaching it.
Many courses offer their own certificates or diplomas which are unaccredited and therefore professionally unrecognised. Others are offering qualifications that are little higher than GCSEs. Make sure you know if the qualification you are studying for is worth anything professionally and to what academic standard you are being taught too.
If the course is unaccredited it means the student has little or no protection. Few courses have any sort of quality control, student monitoring, qualified lecturers or external examiners. Accredited courses offer nationally recognised qualifications, are constantly monitored both by their university and external examiners for quality control, good teaching practices and to ensure good student feed back.
Most short courses and 1 year one-day-a-week courses, have a study time of no more than 300 hours for the whole year. This is fine if you only wish to design your own garden but is certainly not long enough to become a professional or earn a living. A professional course will be at least 1200 hours and be to degree standard or higher.
Yes, depending on the course. As from end of 2002 Degree and Post Grad. course graduates will automatically enter the SGD as Graduate Members. Students from all other courses will have to joins as Corresponding Members..