American College of Healthcare Sciences

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American College of Healthcare Sciences
American College of Healthcare Sciences (logo).jpg
Established 1978
Type Private College
President Dorene Petersen
Vice-president Erika Yigzaw
Academic staff 30
Students 387[1]
Undergraduates 293
Location Portland, Oregon, USA
Former names Australasian College of Herbal Studies, Australasian College of Health Sciences
Colors Blue and Gold

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS), based in Portland, Oregon, United States, specializes in online holistic health distance education. Founded in 1978, ACHS is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council and Approved by the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization and is listed in the database for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.


ACHS was originally founded in 1976 as the extramural or distance education department of an on-campus naturopathic college in Auckland, New Zealand. Dorene Petersen, a graduate of the South Pacific College of Natural Therapeutics, was assigned head of the new department. In 1978, ACHS split off into a stand-alone institution as the South Pacific College was going through accreditation by an accrediting agency that did not accredit distance learning. Dorene Petersen became the head of the new institution, which was named the Australasian College of Herbal Studies.

The USA office opened in 1991 and became owned and operated independently from the New Zealand school in 1995. It has grown each year. In 1998, ACHS became state licensed by the Oregon Department of Education. The Oregon Department of Education noted that it was the first state-licensed college in the U.S. offering distance education programs in holistic medicine.

ACHS moved from Lake Oswego to its present campus in SW Portland in 2002. The Portland, Oregon, campus includes a botanical teaching garden (public welcome), the Apothecary Shoppe College Store, and custom-designed and accessible classroom and administrative offices.

In 2003, ACHS became accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. Also in 2003, the name was changed from the Australasian College of Herbal Studies to the Australasian College of Health Sciences to reflect the expanded curricula of holistic medicine education programs available at ACHS.

In 2007, ACHS was approved by the Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization to offer a Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine. In 2008, ACHS was approved by the Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization to offer an Associate of Applied Science in Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

In 2008, ACHS received its five-year re-accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council along with accreditation for the new Associate of Applied Science in Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine.

In May 2009, ACHS changed its name from the "Australasian College of Health Sciences" to the "American College of Healthcare Sciences".[2]

In January 2011, ACHS transitioned to a traditional semester system with three cohort starts per year Spring (January), Summer (May), and Fall (September). Students can continue to select full-time, half time, or quarter time studies.

In January 2011, ACHS became an approved member of the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades.

In April 2011, the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) approved the ACHS Certificate in Aromatherapy as a Level II approved aromatherapy program and the ACHS Diploma in Aromatherapy as a Level III Clinical Aromatherapy program.

In October 2012, ACHS was approved by the US Department of Education to offer Title IV federal financial aid to qualified students in ACHS’s online Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine degree program.

In 2013, ACHS received its five-year re-accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council.


College's main building in Portland, Oregon


Average completion rate for the top 10 courses by enrollment in 2012 was 94%.

Academic programs[edit]

The American College of Healthcare Sciences offers certificate programs, an Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine, a Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine, as well as several continuing education courses, community wellness workshops, and study-abroad programs.

Students choose to focus their studies in one of four areas: Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, Holistic Medicine, or Dynamic Phytotherapy.

In January 2009, ACHS launched seven career-oriented certificate programs, including: Natural Products Manufacturing, Herbal Retail Management, Dynamic Phytotherapy Consulting, Wellness Consulting, Holistic Nutrition Consulting, Iridology Consulting, and Homeopathy. Later that year it launched six graduate-level certificate programs, including: Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology, Complementary Alternative Medicine, Aromatherapy, Herbal Medicine, and Botanical Safety.

In May 2013, ACHS launched five new accredited programs, including the Master of Science in Health and Wellness, Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition, Master of Science in Aromatherapy, Master of Science in Herbal Medicine, and Associate of Applied Science in Health and Wellness.


ACHS is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Training Council (DETC), which is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as an accrediting body.[3][4]

ACHS is the only nationally accredited College offering online certificate, diploma, undergraduate and graduate degree programs in complementary alternative medicine.


In February 2003, the American College of Healthcare Sciences opened its new campus in Portland, Oregon.

ACHS is located in the John's Landing area, at 5940 SW Hood Avenue. John's Landing is next to the Willamette River in a blended retail, residential, and commercial neighborhood, and is about a five-minute drive from downtown Portland.

The campus includes the Botanical Teaching Garden, a demonstration garden open to the public which incorporates native and non-native herbs. The garden has its own website including photographs of all stages of the year.[5] The campus also includes the Apothecary Shoppe,[6] where the college hosts community wellness events[7] and the public can purchase organic certified and sustainably wildcrafted essential oils and herbs. The Botanical Teaching Garden also has a small lavender field planted alongside the footpath.[8]

Organizations and publications[edit]

ACHS publishes a weekly eNewsletter, The ACHS Reporter, online.[9] Featured articles include: College news, industry updates, upcoming wellness events and conferences, alumni profiles, health freedom updates, and natural health research.

Military funding[edit]

The American College of Healthcare Sciences has been designated a Servicemembers Opportunity Consortium College (SOC). As a member of SOC, ACHS supports and complies with the SOC Principles and Criteria to ensure that servicemembers and their families: 1) share in the post-secondary educational opportunities available to other citizens; 2) are provided with appropriately accredited educational programs, courses, and services; and 3) receive enhanced access to American College's courses through flexible programs and procedures, including admissions, counseling, credit transfer, course articulations, recognition of nontraditional learning experiences, scheduling, and the ACHS online course format.

ACHS is also participates in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program[10] and was named a 2012, 2011, and 2010 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine.

Select ACHS programs are approved for the use of Veteran's benefits by the Oregon Department of Education, the State Approving Agency. For information about Veteran's benefits and scholarships, contact the college.

Community wellness education[edit]

ACHS frequently hosts community wellness classes and workshops on the Johns Landing campus,[11] which provide year-round opportunities for the community to learn about holistic health and wellness protocols. For those who cannot attend these events in person, many wellness workshops are filmed and posted as a health resource on ACHS TV.


ACHS’s many classes focus on a holistic approach to health care and to the environment. All classes promote sustainability; for example, ACHS gardening classes explore composting and nutrition classes talk about the benefits of buying organic foods.

As of September 2008, ACHS pledged their participation to PGE’s Save More, Matter More campaign. In place of traditional power, ACHS has pledged to use renewable power, which makes use of clean wind to save energy, cut costs, and help the environment.

In 2009, ACHS formed the Sustainability Committee.[12] Started by ACHS Vice President Erika Yigzaw, the Sustainability Committee works to promote sustainable practices on the ACHS campus and within the larger global community. The Sustainability Committee has a tree planting initiative for 2010, which will plant 10 trees for every 2010 Summer School in Greece participant. Current Committee members include: Vice President Erika Yigzaw, President Dorene Petersen, and Assistant Dean of Student Services Joel Strimling. Conservation and sustainability efforts include: an oxygen-producing herb garden, recycling office paper and kitchen trash, composting food scraps, and increased use of skylights for improved work conditions.

In 2009 ACHS was approved by Green America's Green Business Network. Green America's Green Business Network is the nation’s only directory of screened and approved green businesses. Green America is a not-for-profit membership organization that was founded in 1982. Their mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.[13][14]

In December 2010, the ACHS Apothecary Shoppe became Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO). OTCO is the certifying agent for the National Organic Program (NOP) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).[15]

In June 2013, ACHS and the Apothecary Shoppe was re-certified as a Green America Gold Certified Business.


  1. ^ "National Center for Educational Statistics". Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "New Name to Celebrate 20th Anniversary in the United States". Retrieved 2009-09-09. Australasian College of Health Sciences announced today that, effective May 1, it will change its name to American College of Healthcare Sciences to celebrate its 20th year of operations in the United States. 
  3. ^ "Distance Education and Training Council: The Global Leader in Distance Learning Accreditation". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  4. ^ "Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (2012)". CHEA. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  5. ^ "Urban Herb". Urban Herb. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  6. ^ "Apothecary Shoppe". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Verzemnieks, Inara (July 11, 2008). "Attention Lavender Lovers: Pick Your Own in the City". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ "News | ACHS". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ "Green America: Economic Action for a Just Planet". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  14. ^ "Green Business Directory Featuring Sustainable Business Products and Sustainable Business Services". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  15. ^ "News | ACHS". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 


  • Suite How Citrus Scents Lift Moods
  • Aromatherapy Can Help PTSD, Military Spouse Magazine, February 2009

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°28′50″N 122°40′28″W / 45.480433°N 122.674472°W / 45.480433; -122.674472