PERMACULTURE as PROFESSION
After receiving Permaculture Design Certificate, acquiring extensive practical experience, achieving excellence in practice and meeting additional educational requirements, permaculture trainees can apply for Permaculture Diploma.
Information on Diploma process:
Diploma General Provisions
Diploma Educational Requirements
Diploma - Learning Process, Mentorship, Fields of Study
Please contact us with questions before applying. Contact Track One / - Track Two inquires.
Permaculture Practitioner in Training Application
Pay Annual Permaculture Practitioner in Training Fee (PayPal fee is included):
Permaculture Institute USA (PIUSA) is an educational non-profit organization, founded in 1997 by Scott Pittman and Bill Mollison. PIUSA is a conglomerate of renowned permaculture institutes, projects, organizations, instructors and practitioners, all independent and autonomous, who contribute to the mission of upholding standards of education and professional practice of permaculture in the US. PIUSA also offers educational programs in several fields of permaculture, nationally and worldwide.
Permaculture Certificate, Diploma, and Professional Practice
For Immediate Release: Concerning the Regenerative Leadership Institute, American Permaculture Association, Common Circle Education, and any other Permaculture organization managed by Vladislav (Vlad) Davidzon:
Due to numerous complaints we have received regarding the Regenerative Leadership Institute, Common Circle Education, the American Permaculture Association and its management, we, the undersigned, cannot recommend their courses and we will not recognize Permaculture Design Course certificates or accreditations provided by them. (RLI has no connection with the Regenerative Design Institute [RDI], an honorable and ethical organization that we support and recommend).
Keith Johnson, The Permaculture Activist http://permacultureactivist.net/RegenerativeLeadership-CommonCircle-AmericanPermacultureAssoc.htm
Deston Denson, Abundance Permaculture http://www.abundancepermaculture.com/Vlad.html
Rich Blaha, Moss Back Farm http://mossbackfarm.com/RegenLeadershipInst.html
Andrew Millison, Beaver State Permaculture http://www.beaverstatepermaculture.com/profiles/blogs/concerning-the-regenerative-leadership-institute-american-permaculture
Alana Bliss: Finca Fruition, Costa Rica http://www.fincafruicion.com/Finca_Fruicion.com/Permaculture_without_integrity.html
Scott Pittman, Permaculture Institute
Below are the official Permaculture Institute (USA) guidelines defining the field of permaculture education and practice in the US. The following definitions and procedures follow the guidelines established by the founders of permaculture, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, as described in the permaculture foundation books and documents. In addition, these guidelines and definitions are the product of collaborative effort of numerous US-based permaculture instructors and practitioners who have dedicated decades of their professional lives to the evolution of this field and the movement.
How do I go about getting acquainted with permaculture?
The way most people become acquainted with permaculture is by taking an introductory course. These are usually weekend courses offered around the country, visit Permaculture Activist for listings. Many people come to permaculture through books such as Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway, or Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison and Reny Slay. Here, at this site, you may also read a compilation of articles on various aspects and applications of permaculture to begin your personal journey.
What is Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC)? What makes some courses more valuable, useful, or applicable than others, if anything?
All Permaculture Design Certificate courses (PDC) shall cover the same 72 contact-hour (13-14 day length) direct instruction curriculum as provided by the content of the foundational work in the subject - “Permaculture - A Designer’ Manual” by Bill Mollison, and shall include a student talent show and team design projects as part of the coursework. Ask to see a copy of the course outline or course syllabus to confirm this prior to enrolling into a PDC. An official Permaculture Design Course Outline for a certificate-level course shall be followed by all reputable teachers/providers.
PDC can include, in addition to the curriculum, other topics of interest - but you’ll want to make sure that the curriculum includes the application of the principles of Permaculture to the design of systems beyond those of home and garden… specifically, community and economics.
Where can I see the official permaculture curriculum to make sure the class I am enrolling in is in compliance with it?
Permaculture Design Certificate Course Handbook is the course outline based on the materials covered in foundational “Permaculture - A Designer’s Manual” by Bill Mollison, founder of permaculture. The Permaculture Institute USA only recognizes those Design Certificates that are issued by instructors who teach all of the materials as per Course Handbook as referenced above.
The recognized curriculum also includes a talent show and a design exercise at the conclusion of the course which is not part of the 72 hour lecture.
What formats Permaculture Design Course can be taught in? What is the difference
The format in which a course is taught will flavor the learning experience: the traditional two-week long residential PDC is an intensive dose of living and learning with others. In this type of course, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of the hosts and the host-site to the course experience. Your ability to absorb the material will be influenced by the conditions of the site, and the warmth and hospitality of the hosts… Know what to expect!
The increasingly popular format of the weekend series course, held over a period of several months, tends to allow for a deeper experience of learning in the team design projects. It also seems to better accommodate people with families, and working professionals, who are better able to integrate this weekend format into their busy schedules. Because participants in the weekend classes usually all live near the class site, this type of course format also helps to create new, long-lasting connections within the community as well. While there are the same amount of hours and days as the residential course there is much more time between the weekends for students to identify and work on designs for community projects. All PDC, regardless of format, shall offer a minimum of 72 contact-hours of learning time; i.e. time of direct instruction by the teacher, following the established curriculum. Anything else is NOT a Permaculture Certificate Course.
Once you have figured out what format you want your PDC experience to be, ask yourself, what in a teacher or teaching team is important to you… gender, age, experience?
Location of the class, ecosystem it is held in, etc?
I have been finding many permaculture design courses across the country - some through accredited schools, others through farms and still others given by institutions and individuals. How do I go about choosing a program that will be recognized by my academic institution and/or my future employer?
As with any other training, it is ultimately up to your future employer to recognize it or not. The same is true with any academic institution (college, university) - these all have their own policies regarding accepting or declining credit transfer from any other training, in any field.
Most permaculture trainees take the class because it benefits them and their learning and practice, NOT because it is widely accepted by colleges or employers. Permaculture training is something that enriches you directly, but may not impress someone reading your resume (though there are indications that this is rapidly changing).
Many professionals take the certification course each year and find it invaluable for their practice; not necessarily for the name but for the whole system design and thinking skills that they obtained in the design course.
All certificate level courses are (in theory) the same; all must be taught following the same curriculum. It is up to you to elect to take the class in a college classroom or learn hands-on at a farm or learning center; it is in essence the same material. Of major importance is the teacher’s qualifications and reputation. The Permaculture Institute lists the links to the recommended programs; and to the recommended teachers.
Why do I want to get a certificate in permaculture? Who recognizes it, professionally or academically?
The Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) is recognized more and more by professional design organizations around the world. Some academic institutions are now issuing the PDC as part of their curriculum. We have struggled over the years to maintain as high a standard as possible for the issuing of the PDC.
I want to start a permaculture group or perhaps an institute in my area. How do I go about it?
Typically one seeks other permaculture graduates in the area and enlists them in organizing a study group which over time develops into permaculture courses in the area and may lead to forming an Institute.
I want to teach permaculture. How do I begin?
Typically one starts by attending several courses taught by different teachers. Attending multiple classes has been, traditionally, facilitated by all permaculture teachers offering the course for what it costs to provide the course minus the teacher’s fee. This usually means the course is half priced and is only made available if there is room in the class. This is a tradition that is respected by most graduates of Bill Mollison’s classes. There are some teachers who do not respect this tradition and we do not recognize their courses or graduates.
Once one is confident that one has a certain section of the course down well and has initiated that section on a site then one may ask that they be allowed to teach that particular section under the tutelage of an experienced teacher. This should lead to more teaching practice and an expansion of ones area of expertise. Ultimately the prospective teacher should be able to teach the complete PDC curriculum. We recommend attending teacher training courses given by experienced teachers and receiving a Diploma in the area of education before going out on ones on.
I want to use word permaculture in my professional services. What do I need to know about it?
To use the word “Permaculture” in professional practice one should have, at a minimum, received a permaculture design certificate. We would prefer that one has applied for and received a diploma in whatever area they are entering professionally. Some teachers state that you can start using the word Permaculture in commerce once you have completed the two week PDC but we do not feel that anyone is competent in any field they have studied for only two weeks. On the other hand many students of permaculture come to the PDC with years of experience in a given field and they might well be qualified to provide professional services in permaculture.
What mainstream professions are most compatible with permaculture?
Most design-oriented land-based professions are closely compatible with permaculture: landscape design and landscape architecture, urban planning, community and regional planning and architecture to name a few. People who work in all aspects of building, farming and agriculture; those in the fields of international policy, teaching, holistic medicine, human rights, legal practice and financial institutions also benefit from learning permaculture. It draws people of all ages and walks of life - and offers solutions and inspiration in professional and personal lives alike.