There are as many styles of permaculture design courses as there are instructors who teach them. But they all must follow the outline provided by Bill Mollison in his book, Permaculture: A Designers Manual, and give an overview of each section, as well as getting into a few details about techniques and strategies that can be used. Different teachers will have various strengths and interests, and will appeal to different people. If you are an urban dweller, finding a course that concentrates on urban permaculture will be the best courses to find. If you are a homesteader, you will want to find courses that concentrate on homesteading skills and design. And if you are wanting to become a designer yourself, you’ll want to find a course taught by an instructor experienced in creating and implementing functional designs. So you’ll want to do some research and find the course that is right for you.
Following the steps layed out by Bill Mollison, you’ll learn about the permaculture ethics, permaculture principles, and many techniques and strategies that are employed in permaculture. The objective of the course is to give you a good overview of what permaculture is, and the tools to begin using a ‘permaculture eye’ when designing your own property, or designing for others. You will not learn every single technique there is, but you will learn many new skills that will enable you to continue learning on your own. There are a wide variety of permaculture techniques and strategies that are climatically or geographically based, so it is a good idea to take a permaculture design course that is in a similar climate to yourself. You can also take a permaculture design course that is in a different country and climate, if you are interested in doing work in developing countries that need help in becoming more sustainable.
There are also related courses that you can take. For instance, an Appropriate Technology course will increase your skill set, and you can learn about alternative energy, rocket mass heaters, alternative building techniques, and a variety of other alternative and appropriate technologies that will make your life simpler, and your footprint smaller.
A quick Google search will turn up a plethora of permaculture design courses. Some will be nearby, and some you may have to travel to. But whichever one you choose, make sure it is geared toward your interests. If you’re a homesteader, an urban-centered permaculture design course may not be quite what you need. Shop around and find the best course suited to your needs.