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.
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.
Associate Degree in Computer Drafting and Design
This type of program can provide candidates with the technical skills required of drafters. Students become familiar with drafting and design software programs. Common course topics in this program include:
- Mechanical drafting
- Blueprint reading
- AutoCAD techniques
- Engineering drafting and design
- 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
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that job opportunities for drafters will decrease by 3% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to BLS figures from May of 2015, architectural and civil drafters earned a median yearly income of $50,710. Mechanical and electrical drafters received an annual wage of $53,520 and $59,520, 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 degree programs may pursue immediate employment or transfer to 4-year colleges to pursue engineering or engineering technology bachelor's degrees.
Students earning an associate's degree in computer drafting and design study the technology and software used to design various structures. Graduates can work as drafters in multiple fields and may wish to pursue certification or advanced degrees.