Computer Aided Design & Drafting (CADD) Certification: Program Overview

Certificate programs in computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) teaches students design techniques that are used in engineering and architecture industries. Students learn to use computer software programs to create designs, manage data, and analyze plans.

Essential Information

Students will take some general education classes along with courses like computer aided drafting techniques and blueprint reading. They develop drafting skills in areas such as electronics, structures, and fluid power. Most CADD programs take less than a year to complete and have no education prerequisites beyond a high school diploma or its equivalent.

  • Program Levels: CADD Certificate Program
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Program Length: Less than a year

Computer Aided Drafting and Design Certification

CADD certificate programs may include some general education courses in communications, composition and mathematics. Most courses, though, focus on teaching students skills in CADD and related topics. Graduates can apply their skills in engineering and architecture industries. Course topics may include:

  • Dimensioning
  • Schematics
  • Modeling
  • Residential drafting

Popular Career Options

Graduates of CADD certificate programs are prepared to work in fields that involve drafting work. CADD professionals may work as:

  • Civil drafters
  • Mechanical drafters
  • Architectural drafters

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that architectural and civil drafters earned a median annual wage of $49,970 in May 2014 and should see a 1% job growth rate from 2012 to 2022. During the same period, mechanical drafters are projected to experience a 5% decline in jobs; in 2014, the BLS listed a median annual salary of $52,200 for mechanical drafters, with the top 10% in the field making yearly wages of $82,610 or above.

Certification Options

The American Design Drafting Association offers several professional certification exams for drafters and apprentice drafters in mechanical, civil and architectural drafting (www.adda.org). There is no minimum education requirement to sit for these exams. Test content covers drafting theory and principles and computer-related topics like sketching and layouts. Individuals must achieve a 75% on the exam to pass. Recertification is necessary every five years.

Software manufacturer Autodesk also offers certification in Modflow, AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor at the associate and professional levels (usa.autodesk.com). To become certified through Autodesk, individuals first must choose which certification they'd like to pursue based on the product and level. They then prepare for the test using Autodesk study materials or training courses. Lastly, they take a certification exam.

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