Students enrolling in Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s (GPTC) online Residential Building Design Technology (RBDT) program during its inaugural term in Fall Semester 2021 won’t find another program like it in the nation. The new program, created and taught by industry professionals to train in-demand residential design technicians, is the first and only associate degree of its kind offered completely online.

Residential building technician job responsibilities include assisting architects and designers in the creation and revision of production drawings and in research for permits, bids and construction.

“It’s essentially a two-year, residential architecture degree that I wrote in conjunction with my advisory committee to bring the educational component in alignment with where the industry has moved in our service area,” said GPTC’s New Media Program Director Stephanie Voltolin of the novel program that took more than three years to develop.

Due to an increase in the dwindling pool of skilled designers and with the growing popularity and need for renovation and retrofit design, Georgia’s job market has seen growth in the demand for new residential technicians, according to Robert Platt, senior project designer and principal of Habitations, LLC Dwellings by Design and a technical advisor for the College who developed the program with Voltolin.

“Basically, I act as a doorway into the industry I love,” added Platt about his part in assisting the College in creating a progressive program.

According to Voltolin, she hopes the flexible and fully-online course offerings — essentially a learn-on-your-own-time model — makes the program appealing to people wanting to shift careers or to attend after work hours.

“My goal is for RBDT to become a program that attracts students statewide, and not just locally, since we are the first to get accredited in the nation,” Voltolin added.

With accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the program will offer many of Georgia’s in-state students the option of utilizing the HOPE Scholarship, significantly reducing tuition costs for the associate degree. Residential Building Design program students beyond Georgia’s borders are also eligible for additional financial aid options.

The degree requires 11 RBDT courses, which will include guest lectures by residential design industry professionals, plus five general courses, to graduate. Students will use Envisioneer design software to develop 3D virtual models in their course projects.

For more information about GPTC’s new Residential Building Design Technology program, visit or contact Stephanie Voltolin at Fall semester classes begin Aug. 16.