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Sheer determination. That is what enabled Program Director and Technical Instructor Stephanie Voltolin to bring the new Residential Building Design Technology (RBDT) degree program to fruition at Georgia Piedmont Technical College this coming August. A five-semester program strictly dedicated to residential design, written and led by industry professionals, to help increase the dwindling pool of skilled residential designers.

Over three years ago, Voltolin met with Robert Platt, a local residential designer and a technical advisor for the College.  The two began a journey of developing a quality residential design degree program. Georgia Piedmont Technical College had previously offered an engineering and architectural drafting program, but industry experts had given feedback that the graduates’ education no longer fits industry needs.

Program Director Stepahine Voltolin wanted to provide a worthwhile program that would outfit graduates with the tools they needed to excel in the residential industry. Robert Platt recognized that residential and renovation design is a “rapidly expanding market nationwide” but that the skills required were lacking in the industry because schools weren’t “producing skilled designers and delineators with a focus on residential architecture and, moreover, renovation/retrofit design.“ Both wanted to bridge the gap between what the industry needs and what Colleges provide. Robert stated that  “basically, I act as a doorway into the industry I love” to assist the College to create a progressive program.

Together they worked tirelessly to bring, what they believe is the first, State offered degree program focused on residential design.

Here is what makes the RBDT degree program unique;

  • Residential focused. The program will only teach residential design so that graduates can be successful in an industry growing in complexity and demand.
  • It is an asynchronous program. Students will have project and exam deadlines, but the learning can accommodate a students’ schedules. Students can still work full time or work around family schedules to attend. The learn on your time model makes the program attractive to people wanting to shift careers and attend after work hours.
  • Learn from anywhere. Since the RBDT program is 100% online, students all over the world can attend. Georgia Piedmont wanted to reach beyond those that can make it to a physical classroom and make it more accessible for students.
  • $489/course. The degree requires 11 RBDT courses plus five general courses to graduate for an affordable degree price of $7824. Georgia Piedmont will also work with students that need financial aid to assist them with the costs or break it into a payment program. Many in-state students will qualify for Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship, drastically reducing their tuition costs.
  • The weekly lectures are recorded and include closed captioning for better service to students with disabilities. Watch the content as many times as you need. Guest lecturers are industry experts.
  • The degree program is open to everyone on a first-come, first-serve basis. It runs as a single session with 30 students for the first year, but the program will scale as demand warrants.
  • Graduates receive a SACS-accredited Associate’s degree in Residential Building Design Technology.

Envisioneer will be the design software used by the students for their projects, and we are proud to help get the Residential Building Design Technology degree program off to a good start with training guide creation assistance. If you are interested in the program or know of a student who wants to attend, the cutoff date for registration is June. The first intake is August 2021, with a graduation date of May 2023. Please see the links below for further information.

To register:

About Georgia Piedmont: Georgia Piedmont Tech was first established in 1961 as DeKalb Area Vocational School. With deep roots in the community, the College has grown substantially since enrolling its first 18 students. Last year alone, more than 5,600 students enrolled in credit programs, while more than 7,100 participated in adult education and continuing education classes.  Majors include Automotive, Business, Computers, Engineering, Industrial, Healthcare, Public Safety, and several Design & Media fields, including Residential Building Design.

About Program Director Stephanie Voltolin: Technical Instructor Stephanie Voltolin will be the lead instructor of the Residential Design degree program at Georgia Piedmont Technical  College. She has an AS and BS in Architectural Engineering Technology from Southern Poly and several other certifications. For more about Stephanie Voltolin, see

About Robert Platt: Robert is the Senior Project Designer and Principal of Habitations, LLC. Dwellings by Design, a full spectrum residential design services company based in Atlanta. Robert has been a Cadsoft Envisioneer user for many years. For more about Robert and Habitations, LLC, please see