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American College of Healthcare Sciences
Former names
Australasian College of Herbal Studies, Australasian College of Health Sciences
TypePrivate college
Established1978; 43 years ago (1978)
PresidentTracey Abell
Academic staff
United States

45°29′13.0″N 122°40′33.4″W / 45.486944°N 122.675944°W / 45.486944; -122.675944Coordinates: 45°29′13.0″N 122°40′33.4″W / 45.486944°N 122.675944°W / 45.486944; -122.675944
CampusPortland, Oregon
ColorsBlue and gold

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) is based in Portland, Oregon and specializes in online holistic health distance education, founded in 1978. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation and accredited, for-profit college with accredited online certificates, degrees, and microcredentials in aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, wellness coaching, and integrative health modalities.


ACHS began 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 1989[3] 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 2003.[3] 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. The following year, ACHS became accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission and changed its name from the Australasian College of Herbal Studies to the Australasian College of Health Sciences.

In May 2009, ACHS changed its name from the "Australasian College of Health Sciences" to the "American College of Healthcare Sciences".[4]

In September 2016 ACHS became a Certified B Corporation. Certified B Corps meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and operate with a clear mission to benefit the communities they serve.[5]


College's main campus building in Portland, Oregon
College's main campus building in Portland, Oregon

The American College of Healthcare Sciences offers certificate programs, an Associate of Applied Science degrees, Master of Science degrees, and continuing education courses, webinars, community wellness workshops, and study-abroad programs.

ACHS is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as an accrediting body.[6][7]


In February 2003, the American College of Healthcare Sciences opened its new campus in Portland, Oregon in the Johns Landing area next to the Willamette River. The campus includes the Botanical Teaching Garden, a demonstration garden open to the public which incorporates native and non-native herbs.[8] The campus also includes the Apothecary Shoppe,[9] where the college hosts community wellness events[10] 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.[11]

Military funding

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[12][13] 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

ACHS frequently hosts community wellness classes and workshops on the Johns Landing campus,[14][15] 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 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.[16][17]

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).[18]

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

In January 2016 the Apothecary Shoppe, ACHS's college store, announced it will donate 2% of all essential oil sales to directly support global sustainability education initiatives in botanical production for the essential oil industry.[19]

In June 2016, ACHS was named #6 of out of 100 Best Green Workplaces by Oregon Business magazine.[20] It was named #2 in 2017, #5 in 2018, and #3 in 2019.[21]


  1. ^ "Faculty and Staff". American College of Healthcare Sciences.
  2. ^ "National Center for Educational Statistics". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Milestones and Awards". American College of Healthcare Sciences. Retrieved 2021-04-26.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "B-Corp Certification | American College of Healthcare Sciences". Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  6. ^ "Distance Education Accrediting Commission: The Global Leader in Distance Learning Accreditation". Archived from the original on 2014-12-19. Retrieved 2015-01-09.
  7. ^ "Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (2012)". CHEA. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  8. ^ "Urban Herb". Urban Herb. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  9. ^ "Apothecary Shoppe". Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  10. ^ "Event Calendar". Archived from the original on 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  11. ^ Verzemnieks, Inara (July 11, 2008). "Attention Lavender Lovers: Pick Your Own in the City". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  12. ^ "Yellow Ribbon Program Information 2013 - 2014 School Year".
  13. ^ "Yellow Ribbon Program".
  14. ^ "ACHS Campus Tour".
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2009-03-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) use of Body Energetics Technique
  16. ^ "Green America: Economic Action for a Just Planet". Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  17. ^ "Green Business Directory Featuring Sustainable Business Products and Sustainable Business Services". Retrieved 2012-10-22.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "News | ACHS". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  19. ^ "Portland's Apothecary Shoppe to Donate 2% of Essential Oil Profits to Global Education in Sustainable Soil to Oil Aromatherapy Initiatives | American College of Healthcare Sciences". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  20. ^ "American College of Healthcare Sciences Wins #6 out of 100 Best Green Workplaces by Oregon Business Magazine | American College of Healthcare Sciences". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  21. ^ "ACHS Green Campus".