Choice between WESTLAWN and YDS or any other option

Discussion in 'Education' started by roy arauz, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. roy arauz
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    roy arauz New Member

    Hi. I am searching for information between the different users of this forum as for which Yacht Design School is likely to be the most adviseable to join.

    I work on yachts in Mallorca, Spain. I have been crew for the last 2 years and have done some refits as well. I am quite drawn towards refit projects.
    I am aware that the yacht design schools only offer a diploma upon completition. It would be great though if the curriculum of the schools would be accepted towards a university degree.

    I can not drop from work to go and study in a university. All I can do is work and study. Plus working in the environment of yachts and studying gives an amazing opportunity. First hand.

    Can this courses be complemented with a bachelor degree form a distance university ?
    What are the market expectations as far as finding jobs in the yacht industry even though the obtained certificate is a diploma and not a degree?

    I am taking as well a 2 1/2 month Autocad (2D and 3D) course in a school here in Spain.

    Can such courses, offered by the most mentioned schools , at least permit someone who has completed them , the opportunity of a free lancing job or an entry level in a design firm or else, to learn more and adquire more experience and knowledge?

    Thanks for you answers. They will be greatly appreciated.
    I shall be next month taking my decision and joining a school of yacht design.
     
  2. welder/fitter
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    welder/fitter Senior Member

    Roy,
    There are already many threads on these forums that discuss the 2 schools you have mentioned, such as:

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/education/yacht-design-school-34047.html

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/education/yds-students-grads-speak-up-16238.html

    here is a university in England - Southhampton - well known for their program. Perhaps,
    part of the program could be done through distance learning, but that has probably been discussed previously on this site, as well. In fact, through the search engine, you'll probably find mention of any/every shcool or program of note. Best of luck!
     
  3. roy arauz
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    roy arauz New Member

    Thanks.
    welder /fitter.... i read those threads, but they are kind of old as well. That was why I brought up the post.
    Will check on the southhampton one.
     
  4. DavidC
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    DavidC Junior Member

    Roy:

    The YDS and Westlawn course are the only two schools/training programs that I have found that offer their courses via independent study/online. And neither confer any degree.

    Lloyd's Maritime Academy does offer a Certificate in Naval Architecture via distance education. However, it is designed as an introductory to naval architecture. Here's a brief description from their website:

    I've read through the posts listed by welder and one is more or less a bitching fest as to which of the two is better and whether one should be allowed to call him/herself a "Naval Architect" or "Yacht Designer" Whatever. A title, in my opinion, doesn't mean crap, and only defines what you do, not what you are. Basically, to get philosophical, your title is not your identity.

    It's not what over-priced, over-rated engineering school one went to get his/her pedigree; it's what one does with the education that matters. All a degree tells me is that you took the requisite amount of credits and earned the necessary passing grades (a 2.0 or better) to graduate. What it doesn't tell me is: Can you do the job?

    As for these two schools, I've been hemming and hawing as to which one would be best for me. I'm not looking for a new career, for me this is a personal interest. I like what both offer the potential student, but with Westlawn, I am a bit hesitant due to the cost per module (US$2800.00) and for four modules that's US$11,200.00, which is more than what I paid for my MBA (the 25% I paid, that is, the US Army paid the other 75%).

    If I'm going pay that much, then school should award, at a minimum, an Associates degree. It is a DETC accredited school, which means it can award degrees. Maybe, they can offer two associate degrees: an Associate of Science in Small Craft Naval Architecture, and an Associate of Science in Yacht Design. That way, for those hung up on titles, Westlawn can give the student the option as what his/her degree will state (and what he/she can put on their business cards--John Q Public, SCNA or Jane Doe, YD), even though the course work is the same.
     
  5. FMS
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    FMS Senior Member

    You raise a good point. Anyone who has gone to college knows there is an enormous difference between the 4.0 students and the students who only slipped by to get their degrees.

    However, it's important to look at what you want to get out of it. Are you focused on small and recreational boats or are you interested in engineering larger ships where you need to be employed by a firm? Are you a self-driven self-starter who wants to refine your own skills with a tight focus on recreational boats? Or do you want to have more readily available employment in the industry at large doing a broad range of engineering? What a university diploma tells an employer is that you have practiced and proven you can be part of an engineering methodology.
     
  6. DavidC
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    DavidC Junior Member

    You're right, FMS. It is important to look at what one wants to obtain from his/her education. That focus is definitely needed regardless of one's career goal.

    However, I disagree with you that a university diploma tells an employer that "one has practiced and proven.." It really doesn't prove much, other than what I previously stated. I have interviewed and hired applicants w/4.0 GPAs from top universities, some have worked, others have failed. That 4.0 only gets a new grad so far, after that it is his/her actions that define their future.

    I've also interview and hired individuals who have graduated w/less than stellar academic undergrad GPAs from what some would consider mid or low "tier" business schools. But, these new hires have proven their abilities time and time again. Bottomline, it comes down to the individual and his/her ambitions, a year or so out of college and that GPA is not going to help you, no matter how steller your performance (unless, your goal is grad school, then good luck on the GRE).
     
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  7. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Both Westlawn and YDS are headquartered in Eastport, Maine (which is coincidental). My understanding is that institutions located in Maine have to be chartered by the state of Maine before they can award Associate degrees; DETC or other accreditation is not sufficient

    Westlawn moved its headquarters to Eastport several years ago when The Boat School (boatbuilding) was run by Husson University. It sounded like some sort of association between Westlawn and The Boat School / Husson University was anticipated. http://www.westlawn.edu/news/index.asp?displayfile=MaineMove.htm However Husson is no longer associated with The Boat School.
     
  8. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Westlawn does have an associate degree program but you must attend a college that has an agreement with Westlawn. They can tell you which schools they have partnered with. Additionally, recently Westlawn has been recognized by RINA (Royal Institute Of Naval Architects) in the UK http://www.westlawn.edu/news/index.asp?displayfile=RINAweb.htm

    I prefer the Westlawn course for a number of reasons ( I took the course many years ago) They are Associated with the American Boat And Yacht Council, they offer a variety of courses at different levels and alumni are well received by the industry.

    DETC does have some meaning. I was a DETC reviewer for the Standards part of their course. DETC has knowledgeable people in the industry review the content of the course to insure it is complete and accurate and at a level acceptable to the industry.
     
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  9. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Is the Westlawn associate degree program is currently available? Below is from the Westlawn website http://www.westlawn.edu/who/faq.asp:

    Q. Does Westlawn grant a degree?

    A. Westlawn grants a professional diploma to all graduates of the four-module Yacht & Boat Design Program. A certificate of completion is awarded to graduates of the Elements of Technical Boat Design course. Degrees are not awarded, as the course concentration is specific to yacht and small-craft design and does not include courses in the humanities, arts, or general education.

    Q. Are college credits given for Yacht & Boat Design if I transfer to a degree-granting college?

    A. This should be discussed with the college to which you transfer. In the past, credit has been given for the Yacht & Boat Design program, but each case is evaluated on an individual basis.

     
  10. DavidJ
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    DavidJ Senior Member

    I took part in some of those precious threads that DavidC rightfully referred to as "***** fests". I don't want to get into that again so I will try to be clear with my points.

    To answer the original question I'd say both schools will give you very solid introductory skills to the yacht design industry. If you complete either program you should have a solid basis to start a professional career. If you are doing the education for interests sake I don’t think you can go wrong with either program

    I also feel that doing any schooling over correspondence takes a particular dedication. I would guess the percentage of students who actually finish either program is miniscule compared to the numbers that start the first modules. That kind of self motivation and diligence should look good to potential employers. If you have strong autocad skills and you supplement the education with industry experience like the original poster you should be able to find work as a draftsman/junior designer in a smaller sized firm.
    The one problem with YDS is that not many people have actually heard of it. Outside of this forum anyhow. I did the first three modules years ago and while doing it I would tell people I was taking the program and I always got a “what’s that?” response. And this was from people within the marine industry. However, every one of them had heard of Westlawn. I took to saying I’m doing the YDS program, it’s like Westlawn. They just have the name recognition. They advertise heavily in popular boat magazines and they have famous graduates all over.

    I think all of that associates degree, RINA certified stuff is all a wash. I have never heard anybody say that they thought that stuff was important. People want degrees because decreed engineers can become licensed professional engineers and that’s about it. If you don’t have an engineering degree you just fall in the everyone else pile. Associate degrees, 2 year engineering diplomas, self taught CAD gurus, etc. If you can convince somebody that you can do the work you should be able to find a job. Getting your foot in the door will be more difficult than the degree people but at some smaller companies you will end up doing the same work (at least in the beginning).
     
  11. DavidJ
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    DavidJ Senior Member

    I will now say something about university education and this is where I was misunderstood before. In no way do I believe that a degree will make someone a better designer. One of the finest designers I know didn’t even finish high school. Becoming a good designer and actually becoming a true yacht designer has very little to do with your formal education. A university degree will only give you a start in the industry. Same with Westlawn or YDS. They will give you the education you need to find a job. After that it is entirely up to the individual where they go. I agree with both of the apparently conflicting views of DavidC and FMS about what a university degree implies/provides. DavidC is completely right that just because they passed doesn’t show they can do the job. This is particularly true in engineering where much of the early years in the industry will be spent doing very practical work like drafting and interpreting regulations. Universities concentrate a lot on heavy mathematical models and theoretical stuff that really doesn’t come up much (if ever) in most design offices. But FMS is also 100% right that an engineering degree shows an employer that the student understands the engineering methodology. That’s really all most firms care about. They need a new engineer and they will often have to take what they can get. If you graduate with a Naval Architecture degree you WILL get a job. You might not be good at it, but someone will hire you. I’m sure there are tons of doubles in this but I just did a quick search and saw 32 Naval Architect jobs listed on Matchtech, 15 on Faststream, 90 on oilcareers.com, and 37 on rigzone. I’d bet 95%+ of those jobs want you to have a degree.

    Now having said that one important thing to think about is that most people who say they want to be a naval architect don’t actually know what a naval architect is and they don’t actually want to be one. Naval architecture isn’t “like” engineering. It “is” engineering. This is where that stuff about who can call themselves a naval architect crap came from in the old posts. Naval architect sounds cool. It sounds sexy. Frank Lloyd Wright on the water. Go take a look at all of those jobs advertising for naval architects. They are engineering jobs. Analysis, structural design, management, regulations, calculations. etc. Applied math and common sense. NOT sexy design.

    Westlawn and YDS teach aspects of nav arch but they do not train naval architects and they don’t even claim to. They train yacht designers. I have known “yacht designers” who definitely are not naval architects who call themselves such. I don’t think it is really a bad thing. I know why they do it, but it does make it confusing for other people. That guy is a naval architect and draws sexy boats, that other guy is a naval architect and does stress analysis calculations. Not really the same job.

    This is really getting into a different thread. A big part of what it all comes down to is the increased specialization you see in all fields nowadays. It used to be that being a carpenter meant you could build a house. You’d be on the job from the initial foundation pouring, do the framing, and build the fine cabinets. Now they have carpenters who only do the framing. Look at relatively new industries like video game design. 25 years ago one guy in his basement would design a top game, now some have teams of hundreds. Yacht/ship design is no different. No longer does one guy stay on the project from beginning to end designing every aspect (except in rare cases of small projects built by very experienced builders).
     
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  12. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Mea Culpa. I sent an e-mail to Dave Gerr at Westlawn. They do not currently have a degree program. They stopped because the schools they partnered with all had resident programs rather than distance learning. They have not yet found a school that meets their distance learning requirements.

    Sorry for the wrong info.
     
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