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Associates Degree in Architectural Design: Program Information

Programs like the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Architectural Design and Drafting Technology and the A.S. in Architectural Design Technology prepare graduates for entry-level positions in drafting and construction. See common coursework and job information.

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Essential Information

These associate's degree programs provide information about designing space in buildings and other structures. Classes focus on drafting basics as well as new technology in the field, including computer-aided drafting and design and three-dimensional modeling software. Architectural design can be paired with construction technology, so coursework in building codes and construction materials is often included.

Many associate's degree programs in architectural design technology offer online courses and recommend a background in math, science and engineering. Applicants to these programs also need a high school diploma or GED. Certification opportunities are available through organizations such as the American Design Drafting Association after completing postsecondary education.


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Associate's Degree Programs in Architectural Design

In addition to general education classes, coursework focuses on methods for designing structures along with basics in construction technology. The curriculum typically takes two years of full-time study to complete and is thorough enough to prepare graduates for professional certification while providing a basis for further study. Course topics may include:

  • Introductory architectural sketching and modeling
  • Hand sketching techniques and digital design concepts
  • Designing spaces for offices and commercial buildings
  • Computer-aided architectural drawing and 3-D modeling
  • Working with building materials

Popular Career Options

Graduates with an associate's degree in this field are prepared for a variety of entry-level design careers in areas such as construction, architecture and engineering. Common job titles include:

  • Architectural drafter
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD) technician
  • Mapping drafter
  • Construction specialist

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a decline of 3% in employment possibilities for architectural and civil drafters between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, these drafters earned a mean salary of $53,470, according to the BLS.

Certification and Continuing Education

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers a variety of credential programs for professional drafters, including Certified Apprentice Drafter, Certified Drafter and Certified Digital Designer (www.adda.org). To earn any of the certifications, the ADDA requires that applicants pass a specific exam. This organization also offers school and program accreditation, continuing education and career resources.

Many of the associate's degree programs are designed for those who'd like to pursue further study in a bachelor's degree program, so credit may be transferable. Some bachelor's degree options include architecture, engineering and construction management.

Students wishing to study architectural design can pursue an associate's degree to learn the design concepts and drawing techniques required to work as various kinds of drafters. Credential programs are available, and graduates can also go on to earn a bachelor's degree in the field.

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