Based in Portland, Oregon, the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) is a world-renowned accredited college specializing in online holistic health distance education. Founded in a New Zealand garden shed in 1978, the college opened its doors in the United States in 1989. ACHS was the first state-licensed college in the USA offering distance learning programs in complementary and integrative medicine. Emphasizing sustainability and putting people and the planet over the profit, ACHS continues to make positive local and global impacts in the communities it serves. Some of these contributions include achieving Oregon Tilth Certified Organic Certification, Green American Gold Certified Business status, and Top 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon rankings. The college also received certification as a Certified B Corporation and has a proven track record of holding suppliers to the highest standards in sustainability for ACHS students and customers.
With accreditation by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and the authorization from the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, ACHS demonstrates a commitment to quality and accessibility in higher education. ACHS students earn industry-recognized credentials and have access to a wide range of funding support, including tuition assistance and financial aid programs for those who qualify.
The ‘Students first’ Motto
ACHS was founded by Dorene Petersen (Founder, President, and CEO) with a firm commitment to the life-changing benefits of education and integrative health coupled with the flexibility provided by distance learning. Accessible education for everyone and holistic wellness were the cornerstones of Dorene’s passion. She always wanted to serve students like herself—struggling, the first to go to university in their family, and with no financial aid or assistance—and had an innate desire to work towards a finer future for all.
For 43 years, ACHS has provided global access to integrative health modalities training via traditional distance and online studies. “We are always guided by the ‘students first’ motto and our ACHS mission and vision to foster competence, professionalism, and cooperation in holistic healthcare, and preserve and share knowledge in natural medicine with a commitment to sustainable practices and principles,” asserts Dorene.
Exclusive Academic Programs
Today, ACHS remains one of the few accredited colleges specializing in online holistic health education, offering undergraduate and graduate certificates, diploma and degree programs, and professional continuing education through micro-credentials. Areas of study at ACHS include Aromatherapy, Holistic Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Integrative Health, Sustainable Business, and more. ACHS courses are online and available to students worldwide at an affordable cost. Some of the most popular courses offered at ACHS include:
- HERB 101 (Basics of Herbalism), HERB 201 (Herbal Studies)
Herbs connect people with nature, and connection with nature has health-promoting effects. Students learn to formulate herbal remedies to support wellness and enhance the optimal function of the body.
- AROMA 101
Students pursuing this course learn aromatherapy and the connection between senses and complete practical assignments that provide hands-on learning and enhance learning about common diseases and ailments.
- Integrative Health and Fitness Training Certificate
This certificate offers training and preparation for students who wish to work in the fitness industry, whether full or part-time, in an athletic club, ski resort, or sports medicine facility. They learn to evaluate each client’s fitness level and create an appropriate fitness and nutrition plan to meet the client’s individual fitness goals. Moreover, students gain skills and knowledge to promote their services, establish trainer-client relationships, and work in accordance with relevant professional codes of ethics.
Persistent Student Support
ACHS’s online undergraduate programs offer practical hands-on learning that allows students to explore various holistic health modalities in depth. The college’s online graduate programs offer up-to-date research and science-based curriculum for those interested in expanding their professional pathway, making a career change, or adding to current professional credentials. Moreover, a typical student at ACHS balances academics with non-academic commitments such as working, raising a family, or starting a holistic health business. ACHS students are typically involved in extracurricular activities in their local communities that speak to their professional goals.
Each student at ACHS is assigned a Student Success Coach dedicated to supporting students holistically throughout their studies. Students are encouraged to be active participants in learning communities within the Canvas Student Success Center and a private Facebook ‘Coaching for Success’ group. In the Student Success Center, students have access to robust career support services like resume and cover letter writing, career monitoring, and networking with peers. ACHS experts also host numerous professional development webinars throughout the year that help alumni, faculty, and professionals within their community. Additionally, the college maintains an extensive student library accessible online 24/7.
A Community of One
ACHS bridges the gap between traditional holistic health protocols and modern science. With a global mindset, the college communicates health within the context of viewing the socio-cultural impacts, values, and the meaning and experience of health among community members.
ACHS applies this holistic perspective to support individual student learning styles and their wellbeing.
ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community around the world, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. For instance, the college ensures its website and Learning Management System (LMS) meet or exceed ADA requirements. ACHS highlights opportunities for students to connect with alumni through inspiring blog posts featuring alumni success stories.
ACHS graduates lead the wellness revolution with sustainable values combined with cutting-edge, science-based holistic health education and experience. Graduates build a firm foundation to launch or enhance their wellness careers. By approaching each student as an individual through a holistic lens, the college demonstrates a commitment to bringing its mission, vision, and values to life regardless of the background, race, religion, socioeconomic status, or location.
“ACHS is a community of learners who are innovative, solution-driven, community-first, and eco-warriors. We are all people. We are from all backgrounds and faiths. We are anti-racism; we are free thinkers. We are you. Together, we are a Community of One,” says Dorene.
Improving the Students’ Learning Experience
ACHS’s Center of Excellence in Teaching, Technology, and Assessment continuously reviews new technologies for adaptation which keeps the college at the forefront of online learning. Last year, the college invested in a new curriculum development tool that illustrates how its institutional learning objectives can be aligned to specific course-level outcomes. Moreover, ACHS has migrated to a new student information system with modern automation so staff can spend more time working with and supporting students and less time on routine procedures. The new student information system also increases our students’ autonomy to complete tasks and access important documents.
Meeting the Changing Demands
Over the past year, ACHS witnessed growth and innovations in the integrative health and wellness sector. The demand for integrative health services and products increased significantly in 2020. Telehealth services, for instance, have emerged as a viable healthcare option as well as an in-demand, accessible, and cost-effective way to provide access to a wide range of healthcare services, including integrative health and wellness services.
During the pandemic crisis, some of the ACHS graduates leveraged their education to start a holistic health business, while some upgraded their pre-pandemic business models to provide telehealth services, virtual classes, and wellness self-health services that have helped communities thrive.
Furthermore, the recognition for the importance of knowledge and access to dietary supplements has been continuously growing since the pandemic. Catering to the growing demand for trained integrative healthcare and dietary supplement professionals, ACHS is launching a new online, on-demand micro-credential—the Certified Dietary Supplement Professional (CDSP)™ Exam Preparation Program. “This program is the first in the country to prepare graduates for national certification as a Certified Dietary Supplement Professional™ through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals,” adds Dorene.
Choosing the Ideal Institution
Choosing the institution is the primary and one of the most essential steps for a student to succeed in life. Dorene believes that firstly, students should select an institution that has the values, mission, and curriculum that cater to their requirements. Moreover, that institution should offer tuition options designed with the students’ financial wellness in mind. Lastly, Dorene adds that students should choose an institution that provides advising and coaching, helps them identify their goals, and offers the best program to help achieve those goals.
Note to the Students:
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