Educational resources for lighting control professionals

Lighting control is a complex and dynamic topic, prone to frequent change with advancements in technology and government regulation. Whether it’s products, design, or efficiency, grasping the essentials can be overwhelming to newcomers just like keeping on top of the latest trends and tech can be a chore for industry veterans. Here we’ve compiled a list of a few highly recommended educational resources to help keep you up to speed with what’s going on in the world of lighting and controls:

Lighting Control Association:

Administered by the National Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA), the Lighting Control Association offers a respectable catalogue of online courses. Topics range from an overview of what lighting control seeks to accomplish to using dimmers in conceptual designs to more advanced topics such as building large, complex systems. There’s even a section on compliance with electrical codes and energy standards. Best of all, it’s available entirely free.

Lighting Research Center:

As the name suggests, the Lighting Research Center investigates how lighting affects our lives in the very broadest sense. On their site, you’ll find links and downloads for the most current LRC research. Daylighting, controls, and occupant response to load-shedding (i.e., dimming) are just a few of the topics they cover.

The Energy Center University:

A service provided by the Energy Center of Wisconsin, the Energy Center University offers frequent webinars, many of which are available at no cost, on topics related to lighting control and design for improved efficiency. Intended for an audience of professionals in fields such as architecture and interior design, the archive of past presentations features useful advice and instructional resources like the recent overview of the Department of Energy’s new Commercial Lighting Solutions tool.

Illuminating Engineering Society’s Online University:

For professionals looking to continue their education or branch into news areas of lighting design and control, the IES offers a comprehensive online course catalogue. Course credit can be applied toward maintaining or acquiring professional licenses, and offerings are tailored to the requirements of each US state. Tuition rates vary by course.


Among the MIT OPENCOURSEWARE offerings, where MIT makes their course materials available to the public, are at least two courses related to lighting design. You’ll find both under the architecture heading.

The first is on incorporating natural light in design and covers how to ensure the provision of adequate sunlight whilst avoiding direct, encumbering light. In the real world version of this course, students complete all requirements in a two week workshop.

Though designed with architects in mind, the course on daylighting should certainly satisfy anyone with a deeper curiosity for the bigger picture. That is, the course covers topics such as how light propagates through a building and visual and thermal comfort. Readings also touch on advanced lighting control strategies with an emphasis on achieving a balance of natural and artificial light.

Universal Lighting Technologies E-Learning Center:

If you’re interested in learning more about commerical applications for ballasts, electronic HIDs, and flourescents, you might want to check out the E-Learning Center provided by Universal Lighting Technologies. The courses are accredited by several professional organizations and you’ll get a diploma when you’re done.

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