With problems such as political and economic corruption, climate change, globalization, pollution, land degradation, and species extinction on the rise, many people are looking for answers. They know that the current status quo systems are failing and they are seeking sustainable alternatives that can help us all survive and thrive into a new and brighter future.
They also realize that conventional education has not prepared them properly for living successfully and happily in the modern world and that conventional university degrees are increasingly not worth a fraction of the extreme costs and time involved. This search brings many to discover Permaculture Design. Permaculture Design is a design system that incorporates traditional and indigenous knowledge with sustainable modern technologies to provide for our needs, while at the same time respecting the Earth and all species.
Education in Permaculture Design typically begins with enrollment in a 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate Course, also known as “the PDC Course”. The 72-hour curriculum was established in the early 1980s as the standard for all teachers, and to this day, most teachers around the world still follow these established teaching directives.
Topics covered in the official 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC):
- Introduction – What is Permaculture Design?
- Ethics of Permaculture Design
- Natural Systems Design
- Forests & Trees
- Houses & Buildings
- Wildlife Management & Natural Pest Control
- Permaculture Village Development
- Patterns in Design
- Design for Catastrophe & Preparedness
- Seed Saving & Nurseries
- Appropriate Technology & Renewable Energy Systems
- How Permaculture Designers Operate
- Classical Landscape Profiles
- Permaculture Economics & Invisible Structures of Settlements
- Final Design Project
Immediately after completing a 72-hour PDC Course, graduates may legally use the term “Permaculture” in the promotion of their work or business. Graduates of the PDC Course are referred to as “Permaculture Trainees” for a period of two years after completing the course unless they already have 2+ years of closely-related experience. This two-year time period is used to practice skills and increase knowledge, after which they may adopt the terms Permaculture Teacher or Permaculture Consultant.
Most PDC Course graduates use the knowledge obtained throughout the course to establish their own home and/or farm systems, setting up a less-stressful lifestyle that is more sustainable and in-tune with nature.
Many PDC Graduates will choose to find and connect with seasoned Permaculture Designers in their regions or around the world to learn advanced techniques in preparation for going out on their own as Permaculture Teachers or Permaculture Design Consultants. Internships and Apprenticeships are often announced through various organizations, and if not, you may simply contact someone who’s work you admire and inquire yourself!
Others may go on to engage in advanced studies in specific skill areas related to Permaculture Design. There are many advanced Permaculture courses available around the world, and it is always possible to simply create your own custom career path. Some popular area of specialization for Permaculture Designers are:
- Organic gardening/farming
- Natural Building
- Renewable Energy Systems
- Aquaculture / Aquaponics
- Natural Animal Husbandry
- Alternative Economics
- Sustainable Business
- Nursery Operations
- Water Harvesting systems
- Greywater systems
- Market Gardening
- Community-Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
- Community Garden development
- Biodynamic gardening/farming
- Biointensive gardening/farming
- Green Event planning
- Food Preservation and/or Preparation
- Ecological Restoration
- Ecovillage / Intentional Community Design
- Communications / Activism
- International and Local Aid Work
- Community Revitalization
This is not a complete list, and the possible career paths are many!
Still, others may choose to pursue advanced degrees in Permaculture Design after the PDC Course, which has been offered by qualified teachers around the world since the beginning. Examples of advanced degrees available to pursue:
- Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design (focused on fieldwork/projects)
- Diploma in Permaculture Design (academic degree focused on research)
- Master of Applied Permaculture Design (focused on fieldwork/projects)
- Master of Permaculture Design (academic degree focused on research)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Permaculture Design (focused on fieldwork/projects)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Permaculture Design (academic degree focused on research)
It is important to note that the Diploma and/or other advanced degrees are not required in order to work in the field as a Permaculture Teacher or Permaculture Consultant.
Whatever career path you may be dreaming of, keep in mind that Permaculture Design isn’t just about gardening or agriculture. It covers every aspect of sustainability and leading a sustainable lifestyle, such as houses and building systems, renewable energy, recycling, village development, and much more. If you like cooking or baking, why not start a small coffee shop or Bed and Breakfast serving homemade organic food made with ingredients grown on permaculture farms?
In fact, you can set up just about any kind of career or business while keeping the Permaculture Ethics and Principles in mind. Find something that fits in with your passion and your strengths, and think about addressing problems that need solving.
Keep in mind the possibilities are endless! However, whatever you do, it’s very important to start modestly and gain experience before you find yourself with more work than you can handle.
If you have not taken a PDC Course yet – enroll now and get the skills you need to live sustainably and in-tune with nature, while also getting started on a new career path!