Field Advisor

A field advisor is a certified designer or educator with at least 10 years of professional experience who guides candidates through PINA’s Professional Diploma application process. The advisor serves as both an administrator and as a mentor, and assesses a candidate’s work and their readiness for a diploma.

Field advisors are the cornerstone of PINA’s decentralized structure, linking diploma candidates, regional hub organizations and PINA’s administrative services. We recommend that each hub establish 3-4 advisors, with one serving as a coordinator.  Pending formation of regional hubs, PINA is appointing some Field Advisors to serve directly with the Diploma Program Committee so that diploma candidates may begin work on their PINA diplomas.

The Field Advisor Working Group, a subcommittee of the Diploma Program Committee, will support the work of the Field Advisors with peer to peer training, discussion, technical support, and establishment of protocols and best practices.


As an advisor, you will have a profound impact on the development of permaculture practitioners. You will build lasting friendships and will feel the satisfaction of being an essential part of the movement for a sustainable world. The candidates directly compensate field advisors: a rate of $60 per hour is recommended, but compensation is determined through mutual agreement.

Primary responsibilities

when an application from a diploma candidate is approved by the PINA Diploma Program Committee, PINA assigns the applicant to a field advisor, taking into consideration any candidate requests. The advisor then:

  • Reviews the application and contacts the new candidate
  • Establishes a financial agreement with the candidate.
  • Guides the candidate in developing an Action Learning Plan.
  • Follows through with correspondence and communications, while the candidate maintains regular communication and submits documentation of work for review.
  • Meets with the candidate by telephone, Skype or in person on a regular basis (once a month is recommended, but at least once a quarter) providing support as needed and keeping track of progress.
  • Mentors the candidate as applicable.
  • Provides a brief annual report to PINA.
  • Diploma of Education candidates: ascertains when the candidate is ready to sign PDC certificates on behalf of PINA as well as when the candidate is ready to teach PDC’s without a senior co-teacher.
  • Diploma of Design candidates: may require additional design projects or waive design requirements depending upon the level of mastery displayed.
  • Evaluates and approves the portfolio, and provides a written evaluation.
  • Presents the candidate’s portfolio to the regional hub’s Diploma Review Panel, if any.
  • Forwards the candidate’s portfolio to PINA’s Diploma Review Panel.

Field Advisor Registration

Field advisors are either invited by the Diploma Program Committee, or are nominated by their associated regional hub organization, invited to apply to PINA within 30 days, and then reviewed and approved by PINA.

Where a regional hub is not yet established, colleagues from that geographical area may nominate prospective advisors or PINA may select advisors to serve directly with the Diploma Program Committee. PINA will request early field advisors to help establish the hub.

Review of Field Advisors

PINA reviews the work of each field advisor at least every 3 years. PINA recommends that each regional hub also establish a protocol for regular assessment of field advisors’ work.

PINA requires field advisors uphold the permaculture and professional ethics. To avoid improprieties, field advisors may not work with romantic partners or family members. The field advisor must inform the hub and PINA about possible conflicts of interest with a diploma candidate.

Following due process, field advisors may be removed from the position by PINA or by the regional hub they serve. Should PINA receive a written complaint regarding a field advisor, it will request the advisor to respond to the accusation, review the situation, and take appropriate action.

Field advisors may also be terminated from working with a specific candidate upon request of the advisor, the candidate, PINA’s Diploma Program Committee, or the regional hub. PINA will then assign a new field advisor to the candidate.