Landing School Vs Westlawn?

Discussion in 'Education' started by Mrdennis, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Mrdennis
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Mrdennis Junior Member

    I have recently graduated from college with a degree that I am now confident I will never use. I am very interested in Yacht Design, but I dont know which course is better, Landing School or Westlawn? Westlawn, being far cheaper and distance learning, has its upsides. But I feel like going to a school would be easier to learn Yacht Design, but also would look better on an resume?

    My major, communication, probably wont have any bearing on whether or not I get a job in Yacht design. So my qualifications would depend solely on my training with either of these schools.

    Or do you think that I should persue a degree in N.A? I have read that a lot of you think that N.A. has more potential in the long run. Although, I am more interested in design/aesthetics than I am engineering.

    Any thoughts would really help, thanks!
  2. DavidJ
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    DavidJ Senior Member

    I'm not an expert on this subject and I'm not really sure which would be a better option for starting a career in yacht design, but these are my opinions. I think the main difference between Westlawn and the Landing school would be based on you. If you are good at motivating yourself, then Westlawn might be a good option. If you aren't so good at motivating yourself then you probably shouldn't do a correspondence program. Sure Westlawn is cheaper, but you can probably finish the Landing school faster and therefore get into industry quicker.

    I think there is a lot to be said for being in a classroom. You learn not just from your own experiences, but those of the other students. Questions they ask might help you, etc. Also remember that if there are 10 people in your graduating class and you all get jobs you automatically know 9 people in the industry. As with any industry having contacts is probably one of the most important things.

    As to the whole engineering/aesthetics debate it can be a tough one. If you look at the westlawn courses, they are also more focused on engineering. A yacht designer from these two schools is probably going to be getting the same type of jobs as a regular NA graduate. There are WAY more jobs in engineering than in aesthetics and from what I can gather WAY more people who want to do the aesthetic jobs. This all makes sense if you think about it. It only really takes one guy a couple of weeks (or even a day if it is a standard design) to come up with the look of a vessel. It can then take a team of 5-10 guys a year or more to finish all of the engineering involved. Naturally the company will need more engineers than designers.

    Like I said I am not an expert in this so somebody can correct me if I am wrong. However, I know two yacht design companies fairly well and both of them only have one true stylist guy and multiple naval architects, draftsmen, and engineers. Now on some small projects the naval architects end up also doing the design, but on the big ones it is the designer who handles all the aesthetics. So how do you get to be that designer guy? I have no idea, but I think it is just a combination of natural talent, interest, and experience. One of the two companies I know the guy is the owner and founder(though he was an NA first). So once you have the ability to open your own shop you can do that work. The other company the guy is a semi-retired person who has been in the industry forever(also a NA first).

    If you were truly only interested in the aesthetic work I'd think a degree in industrial design would be the best option. Its bloody expensive for one year, but this program concentrates on aesthetics:
    This is a four year degree that also concentrates on boat aesthetics:

    The only other program I've heard of doing this sort of thing was at the art institute of Fort Lauderdale, but i don't see it listed on their website anymore.
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  3. limeyus
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    limeyus Junior Member

    There is no way that a Westlawn graduate will be compared to a regular NA, unless thay already have a engineering degree.
    Landing school is targeted towards working in the industry, it is rigorous and Steve Dalzell knows what he is teaching.
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  4. DavidJ
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    DavidJ Senior Member

    Maybe I was misunderstood. I didn't mean that a Westlawn graduate would be exactly the same as a person with an NA degree. What I meant was that they would be in the same department. They would both be working on vessel structure, stability, and drafting. I've known two Westlawns grads (with no other engineering degrees) and that was what they were doing. Two different companies to. I've never known a Landing school grad, but I assume they would be the same.
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  5. joz
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    joz Senior Member

    Mrdennis, Its your ability as a designer to design vessels and also how you sell your self at the interview that will determine that you get the job or not and not the school that you attend.

    If you want to get into the design field the design/aesthetics and engineering is part and parcel of the boat design business. if you don't like one part of it then maybe you should consider another field, and I am not being rude either just opening your eyes to the above comment you made.

    As far as motivating your self whether you are doing Westlawn, Landing School, Webb Inst, Uni of NSW etc etc, you have to be determined to start and finish the course whether via corrspedence or by sitting in a classroom for 8 hours a day as you will find that doing this course does challenge the mind and there will be times that you will give up but its how far you are willing to go to become a designer if you wish to succeed. Also you can email the teachers if you have any problems that you have with each lesson and you have to get over 75% before you are allowed to go to the next lesson under 75% you have to repeat the lesson again.

    Westlawn is cheaper than Landing School, but can you give up 9-10 months without a salary? with Westlawn you can do it in your own time and have a full time job best if both worlds there. You also have to be prepare to give up some weekends etc to due the course work. You can do the course in 2 years provided that you study 40 hrs per week, most finish it in 4 years.

    And now Mrdennis the rest is up to you.
  6. Mrdennis
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    Mrdennis Junior Member

    Thanks to everyone one who has posted so far. You all have been a lot of help. Even though some of the comments take opposite stances, they are still helpful. Please, if you have anything more to say please do, this is a big desicion for me so again, any thoughts help.
  7. dgerr
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    dgerr Senior Member

    As the director of Westlawn, I can tell you that I believe both the Landing School and Westlawn are excellent. They offer two different approaches to learning both of which have been tested and proven over many years. Both schools have many successful alumni working throughout the boating industry.

    You are correct that this is a big decision and you need to determine which school will be the best fit for you. I recommend you go to the websites of both schools, study the material there carefully, and then—most important—call and discuss your plans and goals with each school. We are always happy to chat on the phone with students or prospective students.

    Dave Gerr
    Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology
  8. JWH23
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    JWH23 New Member

    As an adminstrator and fulltime faculty member and having worked in higher education for many years now, I have learned this about the nature of education. You will get out of it exactly what you put into it. So pick an educational program that best suits you. This means knowing yourself. Online classses are not for everyone, but sitting in a classroom can be stifling to others.

    My two cents.
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  9. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    I am a Westlawn alum. I am not an NA, I do not have a BS in engineering (BS in Operations Management, AAA in Engineering) but I spent much of my career working alongside NAs doing exactly the same work. I was not in design, I worked for the US Coast Guard, but I had to have the design knowledge and engineering knowledge to do the job. So what am I saying? What I am saying is you can get the kind of job you want with the right training and education, and patience. A job guidance counselor once told me, getting the right job is probably the hardest job you will ever have.

    Westlawn or Landing school? Well I am always partial to Westlawn, but what DavidJ said is very true. If you do well on your own, working at home on the course and can discipline yourself to study and not put it off then by all means take the Westlawn course. But if you prefer a classroom atmosphere then go to Landing School. I really struggled with the Westlawn course simply becuase I was in the Coast Guard and between my job and family had a hard time finding the time to do the lessons.

    I do much better when I am in a classroom and can fit it all into my schedule and allot the time between job, family and school. Of course now I am retired and all that is behind me, but I wanted to give you the benefit of my experience.

  10. Paulo.AS
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    Paulo.AS Junior Member

    I am a Westlawn student I the greatest up - for me at least - was that I could go on earning a living while getting excellent training. But as was said before on this thread you'll get what you put into either course you choose.
    I do lots of research on my own, have read many books other than those required or recommended by Westlawn, go regularly to the yacht club and sail whenever possible. All this and I still work Monday thru Saturday 9am to 6pm!!
    Sit back and have a detached look at your perspectives and plan. Planning is everything alongside information.

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