American College of Healthcare Sciences - History


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".

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.

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