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Associate of Computer Drafting and Design: Degree Overview

Research associate's degree programs that teach computer drafting and design. Browse a list of course topics that are usually presented and review the careers you might pursue as a graduate. Get continuing education info and see the employment projections for architectural and civil drafters.

Essential Information

Computer drafting and design, also known as computer-aided drafting and design (CADD), programs may be offered in various associate's degree formats, such as Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Occupational Studies programs. The degree might be earned at a community college, technical school or career college.

Participants might complete both lecture and design lab courses, and they can obtain hands-on training that teaches them to create computerized drawings. Generally, these programs could be completed in two years or less. Programs prepare aspiring drafters to pursue entry-level positions or to transfer to related 4-year degree programs.

Education Prerequisites

Although these programs don't include many prerequisites, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for admission. Proficiency in keyboarding, although not required, may be recommended. High school drafting courses could also be beneficial to students entering these programs.

Course Topics

This type of program can provide candidates with the technical skills required of drafters. Students could become familiar with drafting and design software programs. Common course topics in this program include:

  • Mechanical drafting
  • Computer applications for technology
  • Blueprint reading
  • AutoCAD techniques
  • Engineering drafting and design
  • Modern manufacturing techniques
  • Solid modeling
  • Civil and structural drawings
  • Designing with Autodesk Inventor

Popular Career Options

Opportunities might exist in a variety of industries, including computer, manufacturing or automotive settings. Graduates might be qualified for a variety of career options with industrial, engineering, architectural and construction firms, as well as government agencies. Some common job titles may include:

  • Mechanical designer
  • CADD designer/drafter
  • Architectural and civil drafter
  • Electrical and electronic drafter

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that job opportunities for drafters will increase by one percent from 2012 to 2022 (www.bls.gov). According to BLS figures from May of 2012, architectural and civil drafters earned a median yearly income of $47,870. Mechanical and electrical drafters received an annual wage of $50,360 and $55,700, respectively.

Continuing Education Information

Drafters are not usually required to be certified, although professionals may choose to secure certification to demonstrate their proficiency in the field. The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers several certification options for drafters, based on their skill levels and specialties. Examinations typically test candidates on their knowledge of drafting terminology, geometric designs, drawings and overall drafting concepts. Graduates of the associate's degree programs may pursue immediate employment or transfer to 4-year colleges to pursue engineering or engineering technology bachelor's degrees.

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