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

Certificate programs in computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) explore drafting techniques used in the engineering and architecture industries. Learn about the courses, jobs, and continuing education associated with these programs.

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Essential Information

Students in CADD certificate programs learn to use computer software to create designs, manage data, and analyze plans. They develop drafting skills in areas such as electronics, structures, and fluid power. Most CADD certificate programs take less than a year to complete and have no education prerequisites beyond a high school diploma or its equivalent.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Architectural Drafting and Design
  • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
  • Civil Engineering Drafting and Design
  • Mechanical Drafting and Design

Computer Aided Drafting and Design Certificate

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. Course topics may include:

  • Blueprint reading
  • 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 $50,710 in May 2015 and should see a 3% job decline rate from 2014 to 2024. During the same period, mechanical drafters are projected to experience a 7% decline in jobs; in 2015, the BLS listed a median annual salary of $53,520 for mechanical drafters, with the top 10% in the field making yearly wages of $85,860 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.

CADD certificate programs cover drafting, blueprint reading and schematic design skills to prepare students for entry-level drafting careers. Graduates may pursue professional certification, which can enhance job prospects.

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